I never liked 80’s hair bands. I never liked “cock rock” either. As a teenager in the 80’s I listened to Joy Division, Gang of Four, and Sinead O’Connor (who was in her bald, punk phase). I hated Whitesnake, Van Halen, and Rush.
My only fond memory of listening to hair bands is when I was working at a summer camp in northern Michigan in 1987. My fellow counselors and I would drive around the woods drinking Boone’s Farm wine and sit around campfires on the beach at Lake Michigan smoking weed. Poison’s song “I Want Action” was all over the radio and it was an appropriate underscoring for our lust-driven teenage shenanigans. I felt ashamed for liking the song, but couldn’t help myself. And I would never have admitted it to my punk friends at home.
So I barely appreciated the beauty of 80’s hair bands at the time, but now That Pretty Pretty has opened my mind to White Snake. One of my favorite scenes in the play is Jered playing David Coverdale and seducing Allen’s Owen. Jered’s lip-synching, dancing, and sexy leather pants reminds me of the Poison feeling. I’m ashamed for liking it, but I can’t help myself. And then there’s David Coverdale kissing Owen, which is both hilarious and disturbing, and Owen’s plea for David Coverdale to impregnate him, which has me cringing offstage as I wait to re-enter. The scene reminds me so much of the intense desire for intimacy that teenage girls have, before they are jaded by the reality of how most men (especially teenage boys and 20’s man-children) actually act.
As my character Jane Fonda knows, Owen needs to go through what its like to be a woman (dress, lipstick, teenage lust, giving birth) so that he can continue his creative process. But along the way, he reminds me of my own confusions, lusts, and disgusts.
--Amy Smith, Jane Fonda/Jane