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4/24/15

7 Times Claire from The Visit was a FUCKING BOSS AT LIFE

There were reasons to be excited for The Visit - the Lyceum Theatre’s newest inhabitant - but after seeing an early preview of the show, all I wanted to do was marvel over the character arch of Claire Zachanassian, musical theatre’s new bad-ass bitch on the block.

So Sorry About Your Loss(es), Dear - We learn relatively early on that Claire was slut-shamed (or whore-shamed, to be contextual accurate) out of her European hometown when she was a teenager after her boyfriend knocked her up, abandoned her and conspired with the town to exile her. So, what does a down-and-out diva do? Marry five - not one, not two, not three - FIVE millionaires/billionaires on the verge of croaking…and collect every inheritance, making her the wealthiest woman in the world. GIRL, GO and GET. IT.

And That Coffin is There Center-Stage Because… - Claire returns to said hometown after being ostracized for several decades. While some people have luggage and servants (in her case, she has both), she also travels with a coffin. No really, a MUTHA-FUCKING COFFIN. Are your ovaries/testicles shriveled up yet? Oh God, the shipping and the burden of it must be a handful-…whatevs, she don’t give no flying fuck!

Servants? Henchmen? - The judge and witnesses that perjured our girl, Claire? They are now her traveling…well, henchmen really. The witnesses in particular got the raw end of the deal, though. They were…bear with me as I try to explain this...turned into blind eunuchs who wear face paint and talk/sing in falsettos. Let’s repeat...CLAIRE TURNED HER ENEMIES INTO HIGH-PITCHED, PROTO-GAY TOTALLY WHIPPED BITCHES. How? Uhhh, reasons...I don’t know, probably some Jedi-mind control or some femme fatale shit. What even is that...

The Bionic Women, Ladies and Gents - I don’t exactly recall the context, but know this…with all of Claire’s money, she has metal parts and plates inserted into her body to keep her standing at her old age. If you couldn’t tell, she loves having power as she stands with her cane and condescends to everyone around her or while acerbically laughing in their presence. And wouldn’t you?!

Sucks to Be You, Town - Have you been heeding my warnings? After one sight of her dark and decrepit hometown, you can tell they didn’t. You just knew Claire wasn’t gonna let the townsfolk go on with their existence unimpeded after the “incident." She spent her money and time buying out the town’s assets and shutting them down, bankrupting everyone in the process. Upon her arrival, she reveals that she OWNS THE ENTIRE TOWN. You know, as one does. LOLZ, HAHAHAHA….all the broke, basic bitches must back the fuck off when around Ms. Claire.

Of Course There’s a Bounty! - But Claire’s not all bad, y’know. Sure, she says campy bullshit like, “I’m Un-killable” (OMG, SLAY QUEEN!) and she has ulterior motives- okay, moving on. Her humanitarian side comes out though when she informs the town that she wants to restore it to its glory days and make its inhabitants filthy-rich. In return, she has one teeny tiny request…she wants the man who screwed her over murdered. HOLY FUCKING JESUS FUCK SHE’S NOT EVEN IN THE GENERAL VICINITY OF FUCKING AROUND, YOU GUYS

The Swan Song from Hell - As if all of this wasn’t enough for any Diva/Queen/Head Bitch in Charge/BAMF, Claire takes it up a notch (no, really). Just before her ex-lover is to be murdered, she has a lovely moment with him in which - I am NOT kidding - she sings to him about how she still kinda loves him and after he is murdered, she plans on taking his dead body in her coffin so they can fly around together and, like, gaze at sunsets or some shit.

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Read that again and re-read it some more…THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS. ALL OF THIS HAPPENS OVER THE SPAN OF 100 MINUTES. WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCKKKKKKKKK...

I want to be her when I grow up. There, I said it.

I’m sorry, but such a delicious, dark soap opera doesn’t lend itself to traditional analysis. If you must know, The Visit isn’t Kander and Ebb’s strongest score even though it has its moments of gritty-pretty sound. Terrence McNally steered Friedrich Durrenmatt’s original play away from a satire and to something that takes itself so seriously, that it is so over-the-top and breeds unintentional comedy (as you can tell, I was having giggle-fits even during the most serious/dramatic of moments). Chita Rivera is good, but all she really does is stand/sit on stage, wear high-end fur and jewelry, throw passive-aggressive shade and talk-sing occasionally. She did more in The Mystery of Edwin Drood with a quarter of the stage time. Roger Rees was the stand-out to me, as his character has to cope with the love he once passed up on, the consequences of his actions and his impending doom. 

Still, as far as characters go, Claire Zachanassian is a rare find for a leading lady and her ferocity and BAMF-ness needs to be put on a pedestal. None of this bullshit about wanting a man or wanting love or wanting to find oneself…Claire wants to FUCK. YOUR SHIT. UPPPPPPPP.

I’ll just pull up a chair ringside. And guard my balls.


Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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