Giggling past the cemetery

by Erica Smith, playwright (“A Good Friend Helps You Move,” “Jolene,” and “The Problematic Physics of Haunting Your Lover”) and actor (“Relationships are Hard”)

When I was in high school, my Youth Group* used to play an icebreaker game called “Baby, If You Love Me.” While it sounds like a game to get young Catholic kids used to saying “I’m saving myself for marriage,” it was in fact a very silly game in which one person tried to get another to smile. I was extremely good at being on the receiving end** of this game, in that I was excellent at not cracking a smile under duress. In fact, I got so good at it, people stopped trying.

I wish I still had that particular skill set, because I’m in an Andy De play, and that means one thing: inappropriate giggles.

The great thing about “Relationships are Hard” is that it’s really, really funny. That’s also the problem with it; admittedly, it’s a problem to no one but me, it’s not like I expect people to come out of Strange Tales II shaking their heads sadly and sighing, “Oh, that one about the two people in the woods was so promising, but it was just too damn funny.”*** That said, being in something like this and not being allowed to smile?

It’s HARD.

Like relationships. (See what I did there?)

And the thing is, it’s not just funny. It’s sad and horrible and suspenseful and heartwarming, inasmuch as you can make two more-or-less sociopaths heartwarming. (The fact that Eric Cline is playing one of these really quite terrible people is a thing of beauty, folks. Really. Eric Cline is a thing of beauty.) Those of you who saw #sexts know what Andy can do with his characters and make them turn on a dime and go from one extreme to another and break the tension in JUST the right way (e.g. a well-placed dick joke****, obscure cultural reference, etc.).

It’s a romantic comedy. About body disposal. That doesn’t go quite the way our main characters planned. As written by Andy De.

This shit sells itself, people.

* I wonder what they’d think of “Jolene.”

** Now, now.

*** If you do hear someone say this, tell me. I’d like to, er, talk to them.

**** [insert ‘well-placed dick’ joke here]*****

***** [insert ‘insert well-placed dick’ joke here]

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