A treasure trove of allegory, that’s what Little Shop of Horrors is. The show’s main character is a plant named Audrey II. That’s Audrey “two” not Audrey the second.
Male ingenue Seymour Krelborn finds the little plant in the wholesale market immediately after a total eclipse of the sun. Nice programmatic timing by Coronado Playhouse. Seymour takes the plant home and names it Audrey II after his crush, Audrey. Audrey and Seymour work together at Mushnik’s Skid Row Flower Shop. However, Audrey is dating a sadistic and abusive dentist, Orin.
Steve Martin performs the dentist song
The plant won’t grow and is starting to die. Seymour pricks his finger and discovers the plant is vampiric and needs human blood to survive. Mr. Mushnik announces he needs to close the flower shop and Seymour comes to the rescue by displaying Audrey II. People come to so the strange plant and leave with a purchase. Business is booming.
This is a standard “deal with the devil” situation. Seymour receives fame and money, and he might actually get the girl, but it’s all blood money.
Audrey II needs more and more blood and soon Orin, Audrey’s boyfriend, is sacrificed. After Seymour watches him die laughing from a nitrous oxide overdose, Orin is fed to Audrey II. Orin was easy because he was a “bad person”.
Mr. Mushnik follows. Mr. Mushnik was also easy because he was a bad boss and was manipulating Seymour. Then Audrey herself is devoured and Seymour’s ethical relativism comes home to roost. He too is finally devoured.
Audrey II is here to take over the world.
Let the allegories begin. Audrey II could be corporate profits, war profiteering, the iPhone, artificial intelligence, drugs, or a political movement. Those are macro examples, but perhaps a personal example is more compelling and certainly more applicable to you.
I suspect many of us have been in a situation where something is giving us a boost of recognition but is draining us dry. That’s basically what Audrey II does. We’ve been in situations where we are letting something suck the life out of us, but the lion’s share of the benefits are going to a Mr. Mushnik.
I’ve got those situations myself so don’t look to me for any answers. Good luck.
Little Shop of Horrors runs at The Coronado Playhouse through October 15.