The Clebut: The Curtain Goes Up In Cleveland

Share |

"Our Greatest Year," a multimedia play about Cleveland sports and the sadness they bring to all those who dare to care about them, made its well-received New York City debut at the Comic Book Theater Festival at The Brick during the summer of 2011. But the play, a collaboration between playwright (and Classical contributor) Robert Attenweiler and artist/animator/writer Scott Henkle has yet to be performed in the city that is both its setting and its protagonist. That changed on Thursday night, when Our Greatest Year made its Cleveland debut at the Dobama Theater. Attenweiler and Henkle will file dispatches from Cleveland during the debut week. The first one is here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tavern Co.

Time: 9:55pm

Local Food Consumed: 1 Polish Boy, 1 Panini’s Sandwich (not a panini, but both sandwiches served with fries and cole slaw on top)

Drinks: 2 Great Lakes Brewing Company Burning River Ales, 2 Peroni, shot of Marker’s Mark.

Performances Completed: 1

This has been a terrible week in Cleveland. Which is to say that it’s been 70 degrees and sunny every day we’ve been here. A.) I don’t like competing with nice weather. It seems a little unfair, even: I mean, Cleveland resembles the inside of a black box theater for much of the year anyway. But to ask people not to go outside when the weather's actually nice—and so add to their risk of melanoma! and other things!—is a pretty tall order in these parts. That’s A.

And 2.) Much of the success of this play is about exploiting the Clevelander’s sense of constantly being on the brink of soul-crushing disappointment and everything I’m hearing since getting here is not disappointment, but an oddly positive astonishment. Like the Grinch peering down on Whoville, I’m left befuddled over the fact that everyone’s just so damn happy. They sing without winning. They sing without jobs. They sing without floo-floos, pimandoes and wahs.

But then it all turns. What began the week as “This day is so beautiful” slowly morphs into “You know it’s supposed to suck this weekend, right?” And, just like that, I’m back in.

This is the “homecoming” show—our Cleveland show about Cleveland but, much like my attempts to get Bernie Kosar to come to the show (because we talk about him and a fictional fight he had with Muhammad Ali), there is a wrinkle here. We’re trying to sell our audience on the fact that this play is about them. And it’s not them. But it is them, after a fashion.

Bernie Kosar, I finally relented, probably does not want to see our imagining of him, or hear about this fight that we came up with as Bernie’s clear self-flagellation in atonement for the ways he failed the local sports populace. It takes place the spring following Ernest Byner’s The Fumble and Kosar insists on a fight with the retired Parkison’s-stricken champ to prove that he could stand there and take a punch from The Greatest of All Time. The punch he really needed to prove that he could take was from Cleveland fans.

A big section of Scott’s comics—the one that still knocks me out (ahem) when I see it—focuses on The Fumble, when Ernest Byner lost the ball at the 2 yard line on first and goal. It was the 1987 AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos. And Bernie (we were reminded by our guest, Marla Ridenour, columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal who has been covering the Browns since 1981) had gone nuts in the second half just to get the Browns back to a point where they might have won the game. It wasn’t Bernie’s fault. So, I get why Bernie wouldn’t want to come see my play. Sucks to relive suck, clearly.

But what worried me was if this was true for Clevelanders too. I’d ridden this project for so long on the platform of “It’s about you guys” when trying to get people interested that I was petrified at the prospect of resistance to it. That there would be a feeling, however slight, that I had exploited the suffering-ness of a population and I could walk myself back to my fancy 20-square-foot Manhattan apartment now, thank you very much.

And our first show was for 90% college-age students who, while alive in 2007 (except for this really brilliant 4-year old we met, accounting major, story for another time) hadn’t lived through The Drive, The Fumble and The Shot or, as I sometimes call it, “The 1980s backbone of how we destroy anything that’s ever good in life.”

But no one resisted our take on Cleveland misery. In fact, they laughed. They laughed more than any other audience we’ve had. They laughed at the saddest parts of the play, knowing them to be sad, but seeing the absurdity of their own obsessions—or the obsessions of people they knew very well (but, really, let’s face it, theirs) given a public outing.

So, Bernie Kosar, if you’re reading this, the invitation still stands. Yes, The Fumble will still hurt. It still hurts me and I’ve seen the play about 35 times by this point. But maybe you won’t sue the pants off us for libel or misrepresentation. Maybe you’ll laugh. Or maybe you’ll just keep signing those 8x10s I brought you for $25 a pop. Either way.

Share |

Comments

I love this blog!! The flash up the top is awesome!! online gaming payment processing

It is basic that we read blog entry painstakingly. I am as of now done it and find this post is truly astonishing. glazing protection

For me, I truly my own advisable to have if you want to your abilities. San Diego Long Distance Moving

An entrancing examination is worth remark. I surmise that it is best to compose additional on this matter, it won't be a forbidden theme however for the most part individuals are insufficient to chat on such points. To the following. Here's to you VIP Financing Solutions Reviews

New site is solid. A debt of gratitude is in order for the immense exertion. private investigator

I felt exceptionally glad while perusing this site. This was truly extremely enlightening site for me. I truly preferred it. This was truly an agreeable post. You rock!. womens fashion

much obliged to you for your intriguing infomation. Coaching Frankfurt

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. curtidas no instagram

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. Douglas County traffic attorney

Howdy! Pleasant stuff, do update me as often as possible when you post again something like this! mens fashion

much obliged this is great online journal. just free stuff

All the contents you mentioned in post is too good and can be very useful. I will keep it in mind, thanks for sharing the information keep updating, looking forward for more posts.Thanks forskolin where to buy

A debt of gratitude is in order for setting aside an ideal opportunity to talk about this, I feel emphatically about it and adoration adapting more on this subject. BAGS

I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information. Chinelos personalizados para casamento

This web journal site is really cool! How was it made ! Lifting Shoes

I have bookmarked your website, the articles are path superior to anything other comparable sites.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an extraordinary online journal! cheap dog beds

Pleasant online journal and totally exceptional. You can improve yet despite everything I say this perfect.Keep striving generally advantageous. Miami Car Equity Loans

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.. Togel Singapura

Somebody Sometimes with visits your website consistently and prescribed it as far as I can tell to peruse also. The method for composing is magnificent furthermore the substance is first class. A debt of gratitude is in order for that knowledge you give the perusers! asian porn

I wish more writers of this sort of substance would take the time you did to explore and compose so well. I am exceptionally awed with your vision and knowledge. paperio

Incredible website! Do you have any tips and clues for yearning scholars? I'm wanting to begin my own particular site soon yet I'm somewhat lost on everything. Would you propose beginning with a free stage like WordPress or go for a paid alternative? There are such a large number of choices out there that I'm totally overpowered .. Any proposals? Much obliged! random chat

It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here! sell my house fast

Wow! This could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on thesubject. Actually excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort. Bus Service Frankfurt

This textured tweed boucle produced in France is a tactile mix of yarns in sunglasses of blue. Woven with fancy yarn, it's miles pretty tender and just a barely dry to touch. tweed boucle fabrics

This substance is composed exceptionally well. Your utilization of organizing when mentioning your focuses makes your objective facts clear and straightforward. Much obliged to you. Asphalt Paving Colorado Springs

i was simply scanning along and happened upon your site. simply needed to say great site and this article truly helped me. dental assistant atlanta

Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. avenir amoureux gratuit

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often. haarlemmerhoutfestival

Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. Saloncathy kinderkleding

You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article!!! landelijk beraad marrokkanen

I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point, You just got a new biggest fan!.. tpplemmer

I am extremely delighted in for this web journal. Its a useful subject. It help me all that much to take care of a few issues. Its chance are so awesome and working style so fast. saps nkra

Deposit bonuses are available, free play bonuses are provided often, and different unique deals and reductions from Monopoly on line casino are launched from time to time. Monopoly Casino no deposit

A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this data. I truly like your blog entry all that much. You have truly shared a useful and intriguing blog entry with individuals.. AIRPORT TAXI MINNESOTA

It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending it just as quickly as you’ve earned it, as you are paid in cash. Alexandre

The high-quality on line gambling websites are surprisingly rated web sites that have established themselves to be fair even as presenting exquisite recreation alternatives and exciting playing conditions. Judi online

Your blogs and every separate material are so remarkable and lucrative it makes me come back most again. voyance par telephone gratuite

NBA Live Mobile is such a great game which is just right for you if you are a basketball fan. With it, you don't have to wait for real NBA season and enjoy the game on your portable devices. Play, connect, and compete with friends easily. NBA Live Mobile - Five Sets to Complete Before the Reset

The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP) is a rarity among wedding photography organizations. Photographers cannot simply buy an ISPWP membership, they have to earn it. Washington DC wedding photographer

New site is solid. A debt of gratitude is in order for the considerable exertion. les avantages de la bourse

I experience considerable difficulties my musings on substance, yet I truly felt I ought to here. Your article is truly extraordinary. I like the way you composed this data. Swych.nl

Exceptionally helpful information. Want to see more posts soon!. Stop de bankiers

I am all that much satisfied with the substance you have said. I needed to thank you for this extraordinary article. National AAC

Exceptionally pleasant article, I appreciated perusing your post, extremely decent share, I need to twit this to my adherents. Much appreciated!. lien

I am upbeat to discover this post exceptionally helpful for me, as it contains part of data. I generally want to peruse the quality substance and this thing I found in you post. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing. baandersconsultancy.nl

Besides, unlike many other mediums of advertising, you can re-use these yard. cheap campaign yard signs

Your articles are purely enough for me. search engine optimization Singapore

I dispatched your articles links to all my contacts and they all mate it including me. Make Him Desire You

Thank you for your site post. Velupe and I happen to be saving for just a new book on this subject and your article has made us all to save money. Your opinions really responded all our issues. In fact, above what we had thought of ahead of the time we came across your great blog. I no longer nurture doubts including a troubled mind because you totally attended to each of our needs here. Thanks mattress stores scottsdale arizona

Fantastic site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you on your effort! mattress firm austin