The Tobacco Monologues
- 7 march 2008
Minnesotans have come up with a novel way around a recent smoking ban. The law has a loophole in it allowing actors to smoke during a performance as long as the audience is notified ahead of time. Bars across the state are now setting up shop as casual theaters, printing up playbills and declaring the patrons actors.
At The Rock, a hard-rock and heavy-metal bar in suburban St. Paul, the “actors” during “theater night” do little more than sit around, drink, smoke and listen to the earsplitting music.
“They’re playing themselves before Oct. 1. You know, before there was a smoking ban,” owner Brian Bauman explained. Shaping the words in the air with his hands, like a producer envisioning the marquee, he said: “We call the production, `Before the Ban!'”
…At The Rock earlier this week, a black stage curtain covered part of the entrance, and a sign next to it with an arrow read, “Stage Entrance.” Along the opposite wall, below a sign saying “Props Dept.,” was a stack of the only props needed: black ashtrays.
Others are taking their newfound craft more seriously by dressing up, speaking in accents and doing a little impov.