Joe Crnich makes his Plan-B debut in BOOKSMART.
First off, Hippie Ed has no idea what a blog is . . . this is my first attempt. I kept trying to get Anne, Cindy in BOOKSMART, to write it but I could not close the deal.
Hippie Ed, by way of playwright Rob Tennant’s muse, is a direct descendent from such stoner philosophers as Jim Ignatowski from Taxi, Bill and Ted, Cheech and Chong and of course Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski. And therein lies the problem. Keeping Ed real and not falling into stereotypes and cliches. You’ll have to be the judge. Edward is a fascinating individual. A lover of books, weed and a good campfire. He is educated . . . has a Master’s degree, we don’t know in what but that’s okay. Edward is pretty easy going. He digs Christmas, takes what life has given him and roles. But, like all of us, he is looking for a cause. And he finds it in Casey’s strike. He is in his mid 50s and is a entry level manager selling books. He is not going any higher on the corporate ladder.
When I first read Ed’s character description I was concerned: supposedly Ed was at Woodstock. I was 5 when Woodstock went down. Also, whenever I envision a hippie I think of hair, long hair. And as Jerry pointed out in rehearsal the other day my hair is sparse and grey. But here we are.
This play hits a nerve. Yes, it’s funny. But the last moment of the play is the most tragic. Nothing is going to change. And shame on us. Everybody has shitty jobs early in life. I did. From pumping gas to laying sod to selling LPs and cassettes at Warehouse Records & Tapes to slinging subs at Subway where I was fired for throwing a meatball sub at drunken, belligerent customer. These are/were shitty jobs. And at some point in my life I knew I would have a better job and I did/do. I was fortunate enough to become a teacher and educator. And that career, after a stint doing the acting thing, began after college. That’s not the case anymore for so many. Shitty jobs are becoming the norm for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and in Ed’s case into his 50s.
This play matters to me because I don’t want my kids working shitty jobs into their 30s and beyond. They and others that I love, this cast for example, work hard, study and are passionate. They deserve to attain the highest rung on whatever ladder they choose. We do not have to accept the status quo. We can fight the good fight. And this is a good fight. Art, theatre has the ability to do that. So grab your bows, metaphorical or otherwise and join us!
Rob Tennant’s BOOKSMART receives its world premiere through 13, 2015 in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, featuring Tyson Baker, Anne Brings, Joe Crinch, April Fossen and Sarah Young, directed by Jerry Rapier. All performances are sold out . . . but a pre-paid wait list will begin one hour before show time – you must be in the box office, in person, to be added to the list. At show time, those on the wait list will be seated, in order, in any open seats. Those unable to be seated will receive a full refund.