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Theatre is going down the toilet

Irish director-playwright Paul Walker’s production of “Ladies & Gents” opened for a March run in New York City 29 blocks north of Broadway in a public restroom. According to an Associated Press report, the entire play takes place among the porcelain in a bathroom in Central Park, portraying “the seedy underside of 1950s Dublin,” with the audience of 25 standing beside rows of stalls, near “spiders, foul odors and puddles of questionable origin.” Walker proudly admits that he wanted to take the audience “out of their comfort zone” to create “a different energy.” Actor John O’Callaghan recalled that rehearsals were especially difficult: “One man actually came in and had a pee right in front of us. 


Cultural Diversity 

In October, the government of Singapore, anxious about the city’s declining birth rate, began teaching its high school polytechnic students in formal courses on how to flirt. Said Isabel, 18: “My teacher said if a guy looks into my eyes for more than five seconds, it could mean that he is attracted to me, and I stand a chance,” according to a March Reuters dispatch. The course includes “love song analysis” and how to chat online. 

Officials in the Shivpuri district of India’s Madhya Pradesh state, needing a promising program to slow the country’s still-booming birth rate, announced in March that men who volunteer for vasectomies will be rewarded with certificates that speed them through the ordinarily slow line to obtain gun permits. Said an administrator, the loss, through vasectomy, of a “perceived notion of manliness” would be offset “with a bigger symbol of manliness.”  


The Continuing Crisis 

Registered sex offender Jason Lee, 28, was arrested in Cincinnati in February and charged with several counts of deception for his seemingly benevolent acts of posting bond for two female strangers who had been arrested. Later, according to police, he had demanded sex and drugs from the women as payback, and a prosecutor said Lee had trolled for names of arrested women on the Web site of the Clerk of the Court. 

Questionable Judgments: Jason Fife was sentenced to probation and community service after harassing his estranged wife’s boyfriend with a special package delivery. Fife, said his lawyer, now “understands that in a civilized society, a person cannot send (someone) a severed cow’s head ....”  

In December, Sister Kathy Avery of St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic School in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., held all fifth- through eighth-graders after class in the school’s chapel so she could inform them of the new rules against cussing. According to the kids, Avery held nothing back: She recited a list of the actual, blush-producing words and phrases she was talking about. Said Avery afterward, “It got a little quiet in church.” 


Least Competent Criminals 

Krystal Evans, 26, and Denise McClure, 24, rifled through packages on a DHL delivery truck in December in Crescent City, Calif., looking for their urine samples headed for the lab because they were certain theirs would test positive, which would have meant their return to jail. The driver summoned police, and the women were arrested for destroying evidence and violating their probation and in March were convicted and could face two years in prison. Evans’ original sample turned out to be clean, after all, but during the December arrest, she tested positive for methamphetamine. 


COPYRIGHT 2008 CHUCK SHEPHERD   

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