“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” turns local necks red

The Illusion Theater’s production keeps the humor simple and dirty.

Thomas Q. Johnson

WHAT: âÄúThe Great American Trailer Park MusicalâÄù WHERE: Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave. WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 19 âÄì Sunday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. PRICE: Price varies There is danger that a play with a name like âÄúThe Great American Trailer Park MusicalâÄù (TGATPM) could be nothing more than one big redneck joke. To make that even more probable, an entrance sign warning audience members of strong language (because, âÄúafter all, it is a trailer park!âÄù) is even more of an indication that these suspicions are true. And they are, but that doesnâÄôt necessarily mean that the results arenâÄôt enjoyable. The plot of âÄúTGATPMâÄù follows a man named Norbert who leaves his agoraphobic wife for the runaway stripper that moves into the trailer across the way. When the stripperâÄôs magic marker huffing, gun toting ex-boyfriend follows her to the trailer park from Oklahoma City, hilarity ensues. The story is narrated by a chorus of singing and dancing trailer trash ladies who know all the inner secrets of the park. They help with the dream sequences and flashbacks, confiding in the audience what is really going on. Mostly, they are there to further garnish the set that consists of two trailers done up with pink flamingos and Christmas lights âÄî even more delightful trashiness. Most of the character development relies on invoking the audienceâÄôs stereotypes of white trash. The skanky hussy with tall zebra boots, the simpleton wife and husband who believe the apex of culture to be the Ice Capades, the pregnant woman with the perm âÄî all fit their southern-accented mold. To analyze âÄúTGATPMâÄù too deeply would miss the point that it essentially exists as a vehicle for redneck jokes, leaving the audience members to ask themselves: âÄúHow funny are redneck jokes anyway?âÄù Despite its blatant intentions, âÄúTGATPMâÄù does tell the sweet story of a group of people bound together in the same life. Family, pride, the sting of love forsaken and contentment with living on âÄúthis side of the tracksâÄù (as one song puts it) are all woven together. The cast is a group of veterans to the Minneapolis Musical Theatre scene and itâÄôs clear that they seem to be enjoying themselves playing caricatures . Their enthusiasm gives the performance plenty of fresh energy. The most ironic thing about âÄúTGATPMâÄù is that the price of a ticket runs in the line of about 30-40 beers, depending on your brand , a price that will most likely keep out the people that it seeks to portray. âÄúTGATPMâÄù is a play for people who have never experienced a trailer park firsthand, just like âÄúJerry SpringerâÄù is a show for people who have never had their daughter run away with a member of the Ku Klux Klan who turns out to be their cousin. Entertaining and endearing, but follow it promptly with a grain of salt.