Not Selling Any Alibis


“Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child starts out with a credibly troubling description of this man who’s begun to take advantage of the singer’s regard and trust— at this point, it’s not that he’s not hefting the gifties, but that he’s messing up what she’s already got. The turning point seems to be “silly me, why don’t I find another” . . . man, not just cell phone. But the suggestion of practical implements is seized on— rather than settling into self-berating waffling and resignation, the habitual lament to her patient friends, she and they suddenly blossom. Nettles and nightshade, stinging, challenging, risking, taunting, teasing-tantalizing-sauntering past, trailing not a tentacle but a feather boa across his/my neck. The play is sustained, doomsday deferred as her payoff is— not a fantasy of happily ever after, but something with more possibilities. A sort of vision, in the fantasies (vision as something from out of the depths, but also as perception of her environment). So tensions resolve into an implied bolero— the “I /Don’t/Think/ You/Do/So-o-o/ You/And/Me/ Are/Through” could be a tension breaker. But though something of a punch line it also ups the ante, anddoesn’t provide a hook to let him off.

A psychodrama promenade, psychodrama as therapy, esp. attempted self-medication, as in Slim Shady and for that matter Richard Pryor’s desperately brilliant one-man movies of the ’70s! But this is a
female version, daring but discreet in its sexy way. (Notice though that what Pryor and Eminem do is also deliberately represented in an overtly “This is Theatre! Art! Showtime, anyway!” way. Which of course takes us back to Glam.) Compare TLC’s “No Scrubs,” which seems so whiny, like wizened kids, not real broads like Salt-n-Pepa, or uhh Destiny’s Child. But even TLC’s point seems proven by stupid Sporty Theivz’ “No Pigeons.” Any others in this series? Oh! Missy’s “Can you pay my bills? If you won’t then who will?” But it sounds so weird— this little birdy peeping out of the shell. A cautionary example? How does it feeeellll . . .

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