There’s a place between heaven and hell
Don’t need a map, just follow the smell
A place filled with filthy air
A place full of dark despair
A place you have no prayer
A place called New Jersey…
Ryan and I went to see Toxic Avenger at Sinclair Community College last evening, and we both loved it. It was a delightful amalgam of self-deprecation, Mel Brooks-esque humor, environmental commentary, and monster classic in the body of a catchy musical — all of the things I adore the most in this world.
While we were waiting to be seated, I took a moment to check out the bulletin boards that lined the entrance. They had great information regarding the importance of saving the bees and how you can help, the significance of reducing, reusing and recycling, and details regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The character Sarah seemed to me the embodiment of the population who only want to focus on superficial elements or the beauty of nature, and are blind to the unpleasant reality of the climate change situation – the ‘ugly truth’, if you will. The Mayor represents those who profit from these destructive endeavors, and aren’t bothered by the consequences or who else is affected, as long as it continues to fatten their wallets. The Avenger is the powerless Average Joe, who wants to make a difference and put a stop the destruction of the planet, but the odds are overwhelmingly against him to the point where he feels the only course of action is violence and retaliatory destruction.
The humor suits this play well; I think it makes the environmental messages easier to swallow and makes the audience feel involved, instead of making it feel like an agenda is being shoved down their throats. Plus, who doesn’t love making fun of New Jersey?