Of Nice and Men is a snappy, genre-driven play predicated on your typical hero’s journey through the heartland once regarded as antiquated–cornball, even–in the pseudo-sophisticated shadow of a cultured society we’ve been thrust into by the more majorly militaristic manchildren among us (trading individual liberties for big boy toys and candy).
Since we occupy an epoch where modern delineation truly has strangled the life out of chronological concerns (that is to say we’ve had our fair share of allegorical parallelograms in our time, no doubt about that, no siree), if you find yourself charged with taking in this three-hour beauty, you can–and should–simply attend the theatre as a pilgrim of the arts, allowing yourself to become awash in a different reality, even if only for a glimmering moment.
Other than the obvious sociological implications afforded to us by the title, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the tap dance sequences that pop up seemingly from out of nowhere (even though I’ve just spoiled the twist for you, but you pay that no mind). In a nutshell, this tour de force pits Americana versus whimsy at the intersection of Leap and Gamble Avenues.
For all my field trip aficionados out there, I recommend bringing a schoolbusful of primary school students to see the Wednesday matinee, as tickets for 12 and under are free.
The freeloading, lance tossing, hand jiving, bank robbing, heavy lifting, double dipping, chain smoking, dry heaving and life-living individual spent his time in the service of other people, content to take a backseat to the callous know-it-alls who tossed their rhetoric around the block in bite-sized snippets designed to appease the masses and challenge nobody while making a big stink about absolutely nothing.
Our hero (of little merit other than existing and rubbing noses in their various messes) felt that no awkward position could upend his potential as a beacon for human improvement in the face of an ever-widening fissure that threatened to wreak havoc on the lives of those who’d become uncomfortable in their mundane rituals, and his efforts would pay off sooner than later, believe it or not. Monetary compensation would be nice, but he understood that his reward would be more significant in the grand scheme of creative endeavors, a lasting mark on the face of what would soon be called the Canon of Collective Creation, curated by none other than the forlorn dish jockey who spins yarns to pass the time while he hardens his hands under scalding water in the kitchen of a high-volume restaurant on a Saturday afternoon just after the brunch rush but right before the dinner rush, where there’s still a decent contingency of people streaming in but even more making their way out because it’s no longer fashionable to sit at a dirty table twenty minutes after the server dropped the check.