Shear Madness

There comes a time in every DC resident’s life when they have to finally get off their ass and go do one of those DC ‘institutions’. It might be when your parents come to town again and you’ve already shown them all the popular touristy stuff, or it may just be because you drunk dialed the Kennedy Center’s ticket booth one night after a few too many at the Brickskeller. But for whatever the reason, you can’t avoid it any longer, you’re going.

So, last weekend, (my last weekend of slacking before law school started btw), I went with Mom to go see Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. That show’s been running eight performances a week at the Kennedy Center since 1987! I knew it was some kinda comedy murder-mystery thingy but that’s all I knew. To my surprise, it wasn’t half bad. The basic concept is that you watch a mildly-humorous, mostly improv scene in a beauty parlor that ends in an offstage murder. Then some cops show up and ask the audience (meaning you) to ask the characters questions and vote on who they should arrest (much like what happens when there’s a real murder in DC). The trick is that the play has three endings, so whomever the audience votes for turns out really did it. That way everybody gets to feel good about their deductive abilities (at least my Mom did). I wonder if the actors take bets with each other before the performance to see who can overact enough to get fingered as the murderer.

So, if you’ve got some time to kill, consider going to see Shear Madness. And if you happen to be in law school and don’t have any time this month, don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be playing for a while. And if you see one of the endings where the girl didn’t do it, let me know how it turns out.

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