The Brief But Curious Theatrical History Contained Within a Can of Beer (Weekly Photo Challenge: Container)


Good Evening:

A still life, inexpensive-American-beer-can-style:


How this can and I came to make our acquaintance–therein lies a tale.

Once upon a time, a brewery filled this newly manufactured can with newly manufactured beer. Another human being purchased this can containing inexpensive American beer, emptied its contents (presumably in the usual fashion), cleaned it thoroughly with soap and water, and brought it to the Diego Rivera Theater on the campus of the City College of San Francisco for use as a prop in a production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, one of the most beloved new plays in American theater. Since I knew two of the actors in the cast and had heard a lot of good things about the play, I attended last Saturday night’s performance.

Shortly before the play began, a crew member filled the can with water. Halfway through the show, an actor grabbed this can containing San Francisco Public Utilities Commission tap water and a second one also containing water and carried them with him onstage.

Thus fate decreed that your correspondent and this can would become one.

For having finished drinking the two cans of “beer,” the actor crumpled both of them and then hurled the first can and the second can over the heads of the audience to the offstage area.

Well, that was the idea.

The first can flew directly into the audience.

Specifically, my left shoulder.

Of course I suffered no injury; modern beer cans are so lightweight that if I hadn’t watched it hit my shoulder I never would have felt it. But no way did I intend to part with this can. You and I have seen multiple cartoons and comedies where an audience will throw rotten tomatoes and other vegetables at the actors. I have never seen an actor throw anything at an audience. I have seen the cast booing the audience before the show even began (one of Monty Python’s Secret Policeman Balls) yet there I was, participating in theatrical history as the first audience recipient of an actor-thrown projectile in theatrical history.

So of course I kept the can that once contained beer, then contained water, and now contains theatrical history.

Please–try to contain your envy.

Vonn Scott Bair


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: CONTAINERS | The Adventures of Iñigo Boy

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  3. Pingback: The Leftover Memories of Venue 222 (Weekly Photo Challenge: Container) | The San Francisco Scene--Seen!

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