- by Abe Ingle
“Big 3rd Episode (Happy/Ending)” is Superamas!‘ seemingly superficial attack on The Declaration’s most famous and contradictory promise, “the pursuit of happiness.” The show channel-flips between precise lip-synched performance and video work, portraying characters in mindless pursuit of happiness through pregnancy, sex, fame, and products.
The show opens with a band as its members set the stage for their self destruction with duplicitous remedies for an affair that has resulted in a pregnancy (“She wants to keep it, you know, because she’s an orphan.”*) before performing their song, “Smells like Teen Spirit,” which of course intones, “Here we are now, entertain us!”
This is followed by a conspicuously non-erotic scene inspired by Sex in the City, in which beautiful dancers disrobe repeatedly, gossiping about each others’ bodies and the dance instructors they’re fucking, “being a dancer,” one of them says, “now that’s a one-way ticket to happiness.”* This scene repeats with variations, interrupted by video clips that include an orgiastic hockey team, and a scene from “What’s New Pussycat,” in which Peter Sellers and Peter O’ Toole deny their obvious motivations for being at a strip club.
Finally, in the performances only sober moment, a speech by Jacques Derrida is played, in which the philosopher relates the necessity of de-constructing happiness, because attaining nirvana is, for him, akin to death. It’s a masterful end to an amazing performance that turns the audiences’ analyzing inward, and strengthens the overall theme.
There is a cult-like hype that surrounds this group, and I can see why, in addition to amazing writing and direction, the show is filled with terrific actors and the lighting and stage design is masterful in their precision. If there is a complaint, it is that they are too effective; I left the theater feeling gross, as if I had just wasted a day watching TV, but maybe I just needed a pilsner, or a screw, or a baby, or…
* excusez le mon paraphrasing
-by Abe Ingle