I admit it. It seems odd for a fledgling theatre company to produce two shows that will run at exactly the same time, effectively competing with one another, and seemingly have nothing to do with one another. One, a comedy of language set in a backyard in the 60s, with a feel as comforting and lackadaisical as a glass of lemonade with a shot of bourbon. The other, a hip new rock musical that has become a cult hit thanks to the Internet and fanboys, with all of the intensity and silliness that we have come to expect from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, I would argue that they have everything to do with one another. They are simply opposite sides of the same coin.
In The Exquisite Hour, our protagonist, Zachary Teale is a confirmed bachelor, who, although being quite successful in his blue collar job and well-liked at the office, has almost completely shut himself off from society, other than the odd company picnic . . . until a mysterious stranger shows up in his backyard and asks him “are you satisfied with what you know?”. In Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Billy, a mild-mannered unnoticeable outcast angry at the world and driven to change its status quo, adopts the mantel of Dr. Horrible and aspires to join the supervillain’s union, the Evil League of Evil . . . at whatever cost.
To me, the coin in question that both these pieces are part of is introvertism. Zachary’s introvertism is self-inflicted. For whatever reason, he chooses to not socialize with his work buddies after he’s punched out at the end of the day. He unhappily returns home, only to wait until he can go back to work the next morning. Billy, on the other hand, has been extricated from society by no choice of his own. The people in power, namely Captain Hammer, the reigning superhero, have beaten him down so many times that he feels that the only way that he can accomplish anything important is through robbery, violence, and, ultimately, murder. One piece shows us a pitiable, delicate, tender and loveable introvert, while the other shows us a much more dangerous, unneccessary and avoidable introvert. If only Billy had encountered a stranger who showed him as much kindness, caring and interest as Zachary’s does to him, without being distracted by the superficial Captain Hammers of the world.
So, I think that by producing these two productions, we Relephants have supplied our audience with the opportunity to explore a theme twice-over in two very different ways. If you enjoy one of the productions, please consider attending the other one.
Oh . . . and did I mention that they’re both a whole ton of fun? ‘Cause they are!
– Steven Greenfield, Co-Producer