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slow junior

January 23, 2019

Hi friends. We’re two weeks out from Improvement opening. Wow. We’ve put in months of work on this one and have a lot more to cover still. We’re excited to perform it for you at the Kitchen real soon!

Two quick thoughts on the text:

1.) It just struck me that the chorus line “Slowly, to make the words understandable” at the beginning of the scene were Mr Payne takes Linda & Junior, Jr to supper at his mother’s house implies that either a.) Mrs Payne is a non-native English speaker or b.) Linda thinks that her English is worse than it is or c.) both. Not exactly a major revelation but something new to me.

2.) The name Junior, Jr has meaning from Bob’s biography if I’m not mistaken, and it occurs across several of the operas (first in Perfect Lives). I find it a little funny that in Improvement, it applies to a Jew.

If you aren’t aware, male & female names tend to cycle through Jewish families, but names are only reused after the previous person of that name has passed away. The explanation I was given is that you don’t want the Angel of Death to get confused and take the wrong one. Judaism: a long tradition of thinking that the Angel of Death is an idiot. I mean, it makes sense in the context of all the other superstitions in the tradition (I’m coming from Ashkenazi tradition, I imagine it’s quite different in Sephardi, Mizrahi, etc communities). And of course, Bob is having fun with names, see “all tap dancers are named George”, etc. ¡Que linda!

– Dave

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