Monday, June 23, 2014

"Holler If Ya Hear Me" In Five Minutes Or Less (SPOILERS)

A couple nights ago I went to see Holler If Ya Hear Me, the new Broadway musical based around the writings of Tupac Shakur. If you don't have two hours and a hundred dollars to blow, it went a little something like this.

SETTING: Five brownstone stoops, a vintage Cadillac, and lots of linoleum. JOHN enters.

JOHN: Hi. My name's John, and I'm just out of the slammer. Dudes around here know not to fuck with me, as you can tell from the way I barely move my mouth when I talk. Here are some of my friends in the neighborhood: Vinny, Benny, Ginny, Lenny, Minnie and Kenny.

VINNY, BENNY, GINNY, LENNY, MINNIE AND/OR KENNY: Yo, my man! Good to have you back. It's not gonna be easy to forge a new life here, because life in the hood is cheap. We're tough as nails, and we don't take no shit, because it's eat or be eaten. Here to sing about it is a fat white guy with an acoustic guitar.

JOHN: In the slammer I came to a realization. God has a higher calling for all of us, and it does not involve violence! We all have meaning! We all have purpose! Me, I like to draw. Look, here's a picture of a hamster on a pogo stick.

VBGLMK: But John, we're in trouble! The Four-Five Gang says they're gonna kill us all unless we pay them $3,000 a week. We need to start thinking about where we'd get that kind of money, but if that white guy is gonna sing another number, I guess we could dance around the car.

JOHN: Guys, I'd help you out, but I'm not going to back to jail. I'm gonna get a job and make something of myself. What? My paycheck is only fifty dollars? That's it! FUCK THE MAN! I'm not gonna take this kind of abuse, even though he specifically warned me that as a trainee my wages would be low.

VBGLMK'S MOM: We ghetto mothers are a proud and honorable people. Worrying about my children makes me tear my hair out, so it's a good thing he left $2,500 in the mailbox for a new weave.

JOHN: What can I do? I'm being sucked back into ghetto life. Once again I'm in the throes of hopelessless and despair. And once again I feel like it will be best expressed by the fortieth song Tupac wrote about his mama and God.

VBGLMK: Wow! This is gonna be one hell of a rumble. I'm gonna arm myself with a knife, a gun and another knife. They're gonna talk about this forever: The Four-Five Gang versus A Bunch Of Nice People Who Just Happen To Hang Out Together.

JOHN: Though the Man has done me bad, I refuse to debase myself by fighting. What? You too? And you? Wow. I'm so proud of all of you. Now nobody can say we're ripping off West Side Story, because this rumble is gonna be boring as shit.

VBGLMK: Though we dodged death today, we are certain to face it again in the future. But why are we forced to carry guns like this? Are all blacks doomed to be killed by the police, or by rival gangs? Because what kind of sad fate would that -- Oops. Sorry. Well, I guess that settles that!

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