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1/25/09 / Snow

1:04 PM Last night I went to a local play called 52 Pickup at the Dairy Center for the Arts, starring actress Gemma Wilcox. The show had a unique premise: 52 cards in a set, 52 scenarios of a man/woman relationship. Each card has one scenario written on it, which the actor couple act out. At the start of the show they toss the cards in the air, flip them on their backs after they’ve scattered over the floor, and pick them up one by one over the course of nearly two hours.

I was impressed that I found the show within an hour of it starting, bought tickets online, and went and saw it without a hitch. The site Zvents was where I found the event, and then bought tickets from Brown Paper Tickets, which shares some of its profits with the communities it serves.

I almost felt like I cheated because I casually showed up for the show, with the security that I had a seat, whereas people were showing up last-minute and being placed on standby. It was just over an hour before the show that I even found out about it and bought tickets online!

According to the Brown Paper Tickets event page:

The odds of two performances of 52 Pick-Up ever having the scenes in the same order are 1 in 80 658 175 170 943 878 571 660 636 856 403 766 975 289 505 440 883 277 824 000 00 000 000. More or less. Although this number is outrageously big, it is real.

As for the show, it was wonderful. Both actors were professionals, and the scenarios they acted out every couple in the audience could relate to, in varying degrees. Some scenario titles I remember:

  • The first time (sex)
  • First meeting (in a coffee shop; he drank cranberry juice, over which she made conversation to approach him)
  • Second meeting (in same coffee shop; this time she had cranberry juice)
  • “I’m sorry” (phone conversation; both apologizing to the other)
  • “I don’t know”
  • Bliss (dancing to Coldplay’s “Yellow”)
  • I can change you (he complains about her wanting to change him into what she wants him to be)
  • One year later (two scenarios)
  • Laughing (about her laugh)

In general, the scenarios were common everyday interactions between an average couple. She was a well-traveled, pot-smoking intellectual; he was an average but intelligent guy, happy where he is, not too curious about the outside world. The actors’ real strength was their dialog delivery and facial expressions, and most of all, their ability to change from dramatic to funny on the flip of a card (literally).

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