Deadwood Dick

Deadwood Dick (The Masked Rider of the Black Hills) react-text: 9085 is a rootin’, tootin’ western play that is one of the funniest shows I have ever been in or seen. I’ve done the show three times and always as Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill was a hero so good that he was dressed all in white—even his boots and rifle were white, that’s how good he was. /react-text

react-text: 9088 Every western stereotype was in this show. In no particular order you had: /react-text react-text: 9091 Ned Harris—the Hero /react-text react-text: 9093 Wild Bill Hickok—his heck-for-leather partner /react-text react-text: 9095 Miss Lily—the Heroine, a tender prairie blossom /react-text react-text: 9097 Rose—her resplendent sister /react-text react-text: 9099 Blackman Redburn—a true villain /react-text react-text: 9101 Judge Nix—the Hanging Judge, and all the law there is /react-text react-text: 9103 Calamity Jane—owner of the Man-Trap Saloon /react-text react-text: 9105 La Paloma—an exotic adventuress /react-text react-text: 9107 Pong Ping—a Chinese cook /react-text react-text: 9109 Chet Pussy—a bartender /react-text react-text: 9111 Sheriff Loveless—who gets his man /react-text react-text: 9113 Molly—his wife /react-text react-text: 9115 Teetotal Tessie—a Temperance Crusader /react-text react-text: 9117 Piano Annie—who tickles everyone at the Man-Trap /react-text react-text: 9120 Kidnappings, treasure maps, buried gold, and good vs. evil, all in the same show. Good stuff. Now keep in mind, this is not a subtle comedy. This is a Mel Brooks style western, in the tradition of /react-text Blazing Saddles react-text: 9122 . Nope, not subtle at all. /react-text

Deadwood Dick react-text: 9126 is a play about fart jokes trying to elevate itself into legitimate theater. If performed properly, it succeeds brilliantly. If not, it can be two hours of theater hell. I’ve been in both kinds of productions, so I’d like to see if I can explain the difference between the two, and why one’s funny and one’s not. /react-text

react-text: 9129 Comedy is hard—really, really hard. If you have a good script, the secret to being funny is not to try to be funny. That may sound crazy, but let me give you an example— /react-text The Three Stooges react-text: 9131 . Now, I know women don’t think they’re funny, but I’m trying to make a point here, so bear with me. The reason the Stooges are funny doing the most outrageous and stupid things is because they take it all seriously and play it straight. They don’t have to go for laughs; the laughs are built in. What makes it funny is the fact that they’re deadly serious. /react-text

react-text: 9134 In /react-text Deadwood Dick react-text: 9136 , Ned Harris pulls a gun on Wild Bill and tells him to drop all of his guns. As Wild Bill proceeds to drop seven or eight guns on the floor, Ned finally tells him to open his mouth. When Bill does so, Ned reaches into his mouth, pulls out a tiny gun, and drops it to the floor. When it hits the floor it goes off with the appropriate sound effect. Slowly Ned turns to the audience and says, “Like I figured, armed to the teeth.” If done properly, this is a hilarious moment of silliness. But if Ned /react-text goes react-text: 9138 for a laugh and hams it up, the line fails miserably. /react-text

react-text: 9141 This is why comedy is so difficult, and such a serious business. It’s really no laughing matter. Most actors can’t do comedy because they’re /react-text acting react-text: 9143 . Watch any Mel Brooks movie, or Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. Costello and Laurel weren’t going for laughs. The things that happened to them were tragic, but also funny. Ask yourself why it is that almost all comedy has an element of tragedy, and how that can possibly be funny. /react-text

react-text: 9146 When you’ve done that, find a good production of /react-text Deadwood Dick react-text: 9148 and enjoy a great night at the theater. /react-text react-text: 9150 You’re welcome. /react-text


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