GLENN LONEY'S ARTS RAMBLES
Shlomo Carlebach & Nina Simone's SOUL DOCTOR *
Luis Bravo's FOREVER TANGO *
Lauren Yee's THE HATMAKER'S WIFE *
Winsberg, Zachary, & Weiner's FIRST DATE *
Lee Blessing's A USER'S GUIDE TO HELL, FEATURING BERNARD MADOFF *
Ralph Lee's Mettawee River Theatre's TALIESIN *
Matt Charman's THE MACHINE *
Bill Shakespeare & Public Works' THE TEMPEST *
Janet Behan's BRENDAN AT THE CHELSEA *
Regina Taylor's stop. reset. *
Mike Daisey's ALL THE FACES OF THE MOON [Not Rated, as Only Two Faces were seen…] *
George Kelly's PHILIP GOES FORTH *
Ethan Coen's WOMEN OR NOTHING *
Sam Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT--In Yiddish, Yet Already *
William Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION *
Elevator Repair Service's ARGUENDO *
Lucy Thurber's SCARCITY *
Tennesse Williams' THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY *
Turnage & Thomas' ANNA NICOLE *
Bill Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET *
GB Shaw's YOU NEVER CAN TELL *
Anne Washburn's MR. BURNS, A Post Electric Play *
Horton Foote's THE OLD FRIENDS *
Robert del Naja & Adam Curtis' MASSIVE ATTACK VS ADAM CURTIS *
Scott Siegel's BROADWAY UNPLUGGED 2013 *
THIS WAS THE MONTH THAT WAS…
Hardly Unpacked from climbing up Crags to visit Dracula Castles in Romantic Romania, Your Roving Arts Reporter was somewhat Unprepared for the Sudden Onslaught of New Stage Productions.
Godot & Shakespeare loomed.
In fact, Orlando Bloom loomed, as a Marlon Brando Romeo: at least he had a Motorcycle…
As for Sam Beckett's Godot, it was to be offered--for the First Time Ever--in Yiddish, as well as in English.
Although Irishman Beckett wrote it in French--he's buried in a Famous French Cemetery--No one thought to produce it in that Famous Language.
Somewhere, I found a Listing for Waiting for Waiting for Godot, so we'll just have to Wait & See…
What a Thrill to begin the Fall Play Season with so many really Outstanding Shows!
In some cases, however, the Production Values were superior to the Scripts they attempted to Illuminate…
A Real Winner! But Is This the Way To Get Young Jews Back Into the Synagogues?
Robin Bett Levenhurst was on the line, calling frantically: "I've just got two tickets to Soul Doctor! I want to share it with you!"
I had just returned from Bucharest, so it was something of a surprise to hear from a former Grad Student whom I'd not seen in years.
Robin's Dermatologist, it seems, is the brother of Eye Specialist Jeremy Chess, who is also the Major Producer of Soul Doctor, now playing at Circle in the Square.
Dressed fit for a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, Robin ran to greet me when I entered the Lobby.
"Dr. Jeremy wants to meet you. I told him you were my Theatre Professor & an Expert on Play Production!"
Wearing one of those Ubiquitous Baseball Caps, Dr. Jeremy suddenly materialized, just as we were to enter the Ted Mann Inspired Theatre Space.
One might even now refer to it as a Hallowed Space: not only because the Spirit of Ted Mann still haunts the place, but also because the Incarnation of Shlomo Carlebach, the Rock 'n Roll Rabbi, has come to life on stage.
Along with the lovely Essence of Nina Simone…
Robin had probably told Dr. Jeremy about my years of reporting for Theatre Crafts & Theatre Design & Technology, which may indeed have given me some kind of Expertise.
Accompanied by a Concerned Co Producer--also wearing one of those Baseball Caps--Dr. Jeremy was eager to know what I thought about the Show's Potential.
Even though I had not yet entered the Auditorium, now seething with Old Men wearing Yarmulkes. Some were even wearing Neck Braces…
Dr. Jeremy assured me that this was a True Story--even a Serious Narrative--even though it had lots of Show Stopping Musical Numbers.
To lighten things up, said Dr. Jeremy, they had included some "Corny Jokes."
"Shtik, we call it," he informed me.
Well, after 40 years of teaching Theatre in New York, I do know what Shtik is…
I liked best that one about what Christians did with that Rabbi they have nailed to a Cross.
But, no, I did not know that Nina Simone had given Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the Musical Inspiration he needed for his Musical Ministry--Blues transforms Klezmer!--bringing Hope & Joy into the Streets, just as that Mystical Rabbi had done in Pre Nazi Vienna.
What's more, although I was reporting on the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park--even writing about Hippies Living in Caves for LIFE Magazine--somehow I missed Rabbi Shlomo's All Faiths Temple of Peace & Love in Haight Ashbury.
But don't you miss out on it now!
Eric Anderson is a vibrant Shlomo, with Amber Iman, a radiant & beautifully gowned Nina Simone.
All their Hits are here!
Dr. Jeremy told me he had worked for ten years to get this show produced.
So I told him he has a Real Winner. You cannot go wrong when you begin with Klezmer!
During the First Act, however, Robin was worried that perhaps Shlomo was being a bit too Orthodox, too Traditional, for Broadway Audiences.
His Super Religious Brother had already become Quasi Hassidic…
Well, Broadway Audiences already know all about Tevya & Tradition, don't they?
As the now Joyous Audience joined in with the Musical Merriment--clapping & stomping, reaching out to Performers streaming into the Seating Areas--Robin was ecstatic:
"This is what we need to get Young People back into the Synagogues! Don't you agree?"
But, raised as a Methodist, I really hadn't given much thought to the Minyan Problems of Rabbis with Ancient Congregations…
Razor Sharp Precision Dancing: Those Darting Stilettos Could Geld an Unwary Latino!
Flamenco from Granada is all very well, especially when the Dark Eyed Señoritas swish & swirl those fantastic flounces on their Shimmering Gowns.
But there's nothing in the Hispanic/Latino Dance Tradition that can match the excitement of Demonically Driven Tango Duos!
With the sudden downward thrusting of either Male Femures or Lissome Feminine Legs, Tango Partners often seem at risk of Serious Stabbings…
The arrival in Manhattan of Luis Bravo's Tango Troupe is always a welcome change from routine American Idolization of Contemporary Forms.
As well as providing the opportunity to savor superb Masters of the Bandoneón. No, those are not Accordions…
Luis Fonsi was the Vocal Star among all those Super Charged Tangoistes. His smoky Longings for Love had some Ladies almost swooning.
Amid all the Sweltering Passions & Macho Posturing, several Comic Tango Turns were not only delightful, but also expertly performed.
Watching Tango Masters, you really want to be able to see their Flashing Footwork clearly.
I was given Aisle Seats almost at the edge of the Stage. What I saw, for the most part, were the Hair Cares of the Tall Women seated in front of me.
Upper Bodies of Tango Dancers are less Mobile, even if their Focused Faces do tell some Stories…
So, at the Interval, I moved to the back of the Orchestra, where the brilliance of the Troupe was sharply seen.
Among the Outstanding Duos: Juan Paolo Norvath & Victoria Galoto; Hernán Lazart & Florencia Blanco; Diego Ortega & Aldana Silveyra, & especially Natalia Turelli & Ariel Manzanares.
You May Make Great Hats, But You Really Need To Hug Your Wife Once in a While…
David Margulies' Bravura Performance as an irascible Öst Jüde Immigrant Hatmaker is worth all the Gradually Unfolding Magical Realism in Lauren Yee's Chinese Box of a drama.
The Hatmaker's Wife has evolved over the past year, in which Yee was The Playwrights Realm's Page One Playwright at Playwrights Horizons.
Stephanie Wright Thompson plays a Young Woman, who has just moved into a Vacated House, with her Lumpy Husband [Frank Harts], who soon turns into a Golem.
The Wall [Megan Byrne] begins to speak to her, as Pages of a Narrative about the Hatmaker & his Long Suffering Wife [Marcia Jean Kurtz] begin to drop down from the Ceiling--which, fortunately does not have a Voice of its Own.
Peter Friedman plays a Next Door Neighbor to the Hatmaker, who is called Hetchman.
We were warned at the Outset that there would be No Intermission, but that the Play was only about 90 Minutes Long.
To me, this seemed an Eternity, until the House--Walls & All--split asunder.
Well, you see, there's a Secret about this House & about the Young Woman, but you will have to go down to Theatre Row to discover just what that is…
Something To Sing About, But Be Careful When You Google:
Good Jewish Boy Meets Dangerous Catholic Girl--Can This Mating Date Work?
Not only does First Date have terrific Production Values, it also has a Love Damaged Duo at its center with whom any Audience could Fall in Love: Handsome but diffident Zachary Levi & beautiful but kooky Krysta Rodriguez.
There are some hilarious Musical Numbers, notably the one visualizing the Religious Problems of a Jew marrying a Catholic.
Suddenly most of the Cast turns Hassidic, appalled by the Possibility that a Good Jewish Boy might marry a Fast Girl who is not only a Roman Catholic, but also possibly Latino or Hispanic!
Almost immediately, the Hassids turn into Vestment Wearing RCs: this Old Cultural Saw cuts both ways…
Both Potential Mates are advised--even heckled--by Friends & Relatives who are not actually in the Bar, but present In Spirit.
As the Clean Cut Aaron, Zach Levi seems quite a Catch, right from the start.
How could his Bride to Be, Allison [Kate Loprest], have deserted him at the very moment Two should become One?
Actually, the Cast of Seven plays even more Roles, but Kristofer Cusik is especially hilarious as a Screamer, who intends to save his Chum, Casey/Krysta, from Domestic Bliss.
At the Close, he finds his Own Mate in Blake Hammond's Lovable Waiter/Barkeep.
Also in this Delightful Dating Dance are the attractive Sara Chase & the edgy Bruce Ryness.
Among the many Winning Songs are First Impressions, Awkward Pause, The Things I Never Said, & Something That Will Last.
Austin Winsberg devised the Ingenious Book, with Music & Lyrics by Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner.
Bill Berry directed, with Josh Rhodes responsible for the deft Musical Staging.
Even if you are old enough to be the Grandparents of this Cast & do not know how to Google, you should be brought delightfully Up To Date by First Date!
[Gawd! Worse Than Going There Yourself!]
Did Bernie Give Lee The Rights To His Name & His Story?
Although the previously estimable Lee Blessing has put his name on this Production, it is anything but a Blessing.
George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell would have been a much more rewarding Rental Choice for the Atlantic Theatre to offer in their Sub Basement Space in the Google Building.
This Horrific Vision of the Nether Regions was not an Atlantic Offering, however. The Space was empty so it was rented to the Project Y Theatre Company.
After suffering through this Show, one can only ask Y or Why?
In Blessing's Imagination, Bernie Madoff arrives in Hell, to be shown around by a character named Verge.
The Name has nothing to do with On the Verge, but is obviously a Knock Off on the famed Epic Poet, Virgil, who showed Dante around Hell a long time ago.
Oddly enough, Madoff wants to be Punished, but he cannot understand why he is in Hell, as Jews don't believe in The Infernal Regions.
Just imagine! Having to give up Shrimp, Lobster, & Crab all your Life, when there will be No Heavenly Reward for not eating Treyf…
Blessing uses his Dramatic Moment to call into Question all the Variations of God Centered Religions.
Bernie ends up in Heaven--where Adolf Hitler has also Found Happiness--but GBS had a Better Idea.
His Don Juan goes to Heaven but begs to be allowed to transfer to Hell, as Heaven is populated with [boring] Good People, whereas Hell is filled Really Interesting Souls!
Be Careful About Who Is Stirring the Pot! You Could Create a Welsh Myth…
The most wonderful things about Ralph Lee's annual Forays into Manhattan from Bennington VT & Upstate New York are the Remarkable Puppets & Constructions he makes to illustrate his Musical Fables.
This Fall, the Mettawee River Players came to the Gardens of St. John the Divine to share the Old Welsh Tale of Taliesin.
When I first heard of the show, I thought it might be about Architecture & Frank Lloyd Wright, who named his Studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Taliesin…
No. All the Miraculous Events occur in Medieval Wales: Notably in the Corrupt Court of the High King, Maelgwyn.
See, there's this Sorceress, Ceridwen, who has a Pig Faced Son. She cooks up a Brew to give him the Gifts of Inspiration & Wisdom.
Unfortunately, the Elixir slops onto the Kid stirring the Pot. He is reborn as Taliesin & thereby Hangs a Tale, which Lee's energetic Kids animate with Movement, Music, & Song.
Some of the Constructions that Lee has devised for this show are Museum Quality & should be consecrated at MoMA.
There is a kind of Earnest Amateurishness about the Performances: something left over from the Days of Peace & Love & Bread & Puppetry…
Ralph Lee's delightfully inventive Puppets have long been a Major Feature of Village Hallowe'en Parades!
Long May His Banners Wave!
Choreographed IBM Computer Chess Match with Russian Grandmaster Garry Kasparov!
This Stunning Staging in the Park Avenue Armory was one of the most striking Theatrical Productions in Manhattan in recent memory.
But Who really had a chance to see it?
There were less than 20 performances…
Many Broadway Regulars have no idea that remarkably Innovative Shows are being programmed over on Park Avenue.
But how could a Series of Chess Games between a Russian Genius & an IBM Computer be made into an Evening of Theatre?
I don't even play a good Game of Checkers, so Chess is far, far beyond me…
How could a Chess Gambit be made dramatic? How could a Pawn upstage a Queen?
Matt Charman's highly charged Drama is more about the intriguing Interactions of variously gifted & challenged Human Beings than it is about Chess Moves & Artificial Intelligence.
But this is not just a Powerful Play: it is also a Visually Ingenious Production in which there is a Dynamic Choreography not only of People, but also of Set Elements & Props.
While TV Cameras zip in & out, Overhead Images of the Past--as well as the Chess Match & the fatuous Chess Commentary--draw our eyes away from the Vigorous Central Actions & the flashing Colored Lights suddenly illuminating Lines & Curves in the Black Stage Floor, surrounded on four sides by Bleacher Seating.
No, an IBM Computer--known as Deep Blue, which is trundled off to the Smithsonian Institution, after it has defeated the Russian Grandmaster--is not a Sexy Object.
But the Mercurial Genius Garry Kasparov [Hadley Fraser]--long dominated by his Force of Nature Mother [Francesca Annis]--is greatly taken with the Girl from IBM who is orchestrating events to the Commercial Advantage of the Corporation.
Nor is the Taiwanese Computer Whiz [Kenneth Lee] immune to the charms of a College Cheer Leader whom he loses to his Infatuation for the Perfection of Deep Blue.
The Entire Cast is exemplary, especially those who play Multiple Roles, as do John Ramm, Cornelius Booth, Antonia Bernath, & Lucille Sharp.
Kudos for Josie Rourke [Direction], Lucy Osborne [Design], Mark Henderson [Lighting], & especially for Jonathan Watkins, whose Choreography--even of Inanimate Objects--is both dynamic & ingenious.
A Twenty One Gun Salute for Alex Poots, who is not only the Innovative Artistic Director at the Park Avenue Armory, but is also the Creator of the Manchester International Festival.
It is impossible that The Machine--especially in this Outstanding Production--should be seen only in Manchester, at London's Donmar Warehouse, & at the Armory.
It should Tour the World!
But it has to be presented in an Arena Theatre Conformation for Greatest Impact…
Up in Show Biz Paradise, Joe Papp Should Be Proud of His Public Theatre's Mass Performances!
Joe Papp, Founder of Shakespeare in the Park, would surely have loved to join his Daughter, Miranda, in Central Park for a Tempest that featured 200 New Yorkers on the Delacorte Stage.
Bravos for Lear deBessonet & Todd Almond!
They were Central to singing up a storm up in Central Park, with a rousing Community Theatre Troupe that made Hurricane Sandy look tame.
Actually, Todd Almond's Music & Lyrics for Shakespeare or Marlowe's Tempest are so charming that it would be even more wonderful to enjoy them with a Reduced Cast.
Almond also is Ariel, Prospero's Captive Sprite, a debonair sort of Spirit, with a Mike.
The Idea of getting all the folks up on stage to take part in a Shakespeare Show is ingenious: Something Joe would have Loved…
But you can't do that for 8 Performances per Week:
Three Weekend Nights were all one could hope for, when you have a Cast that includes Stage Struck Singers & Dancers from such groups as The Brownsville Recreation Center, The Children's Aid Society, Domestic Workers United, The Dreamland Project, The Fortune Society, Generation X, Ballet Tech, & The New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
The Tempest takes place on an Enchanted Island, ruled over by the Magician Prospero [a Magisterial Norm Lewis], who--aside from his Virgin Daughter, Miranda--seems to be the Only Human in sight, until he causes a Milanese Ship to Founder.
Lending its Narrative Fabric to Fantastic Masques, Tempest is the only play in the Bardic Canon which can easily be inhabited by Platoons of Performers.
This was Great Fun, an End of Summer Enchantment…
Drunk or Sober, Brendan Behan's Taking No Hostages Down on Theatre Row!
Adrian Dunbar--who is not only playing Brendan Behan in Manhattan, but also has directed himself & an excellent Cast of Four--seems a Force of Nature.
Just as Brendan was, but with the Difference that he is not really Drunk on Stage…
Self Uprooted from his Native Ireland, Brendan somewhat reveled in his New York Notoriety, celebrated not only for his Borstal Boy, but also for the Broadway Sensation, The Hostage.
Although the Show is fictionally set at the Chelsea Hotel, we also see Brendan behaving badly at the Algonquin & enjoying the Sea Air at Fire Island Pines…
So we not only are exposed to Brendan's Self Destructive Alcoholism, but also to his Bi Sexuality.
My Late Chum, the admirable actor Geoffrey Garland--who actually played the Titular Hostage on Broadway--could tell a Tale or two about that…
Brendan was an IRA Fanatic, was confined to a Borstal, & was forever fighting the Fight of a Working Class Genius against the repressive Ruling Class.
Why was it that Dylan Thomas--the Welsh Drunken Poet Genius--appeared on the NY Scene at about the time that the Irish Drunken Poet Genius was Drinking Himself To Death?
Or was Dylan before Brendan? Memory dims, but didn't Dylan die in the street by the White Horse Tavern?
Brendan collapsed at the Chelsea Hotel, also famed for the Last Moments of Sid Vicious & Nancy.
Then there was [or were] Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls…
Printed & Bound Books Are Over, So What's Ahead for Folks Who Don't Want To Be Fired?
That Admirable Actress, Regina Taylor, is now Playwright in Residence at Signature Theatre.
You may remember her Musical, Crowns, about those Confectionary Chapeaux proud African American Ladies wear for Sunday Go To Meetin' Services?
The new production of stop. reset. in the Romulus Linney Theatre has remarkable Video Projection Production Values!
These Sci Fi Fantasies are worth the entire evening!
As it was, several Couples sitting in front of us escaped early on…
The Problem with stop. reset. is that it is really Five Plays inside a Play That Cannot Make Up Its Mind.
One Wall of the Funky Set is crammed with Books!
Black Books, apparently, for the Elderly Out of It Black Publisher of African American Books is facing Merger and/or Extinction.
Books of all Kinds are Over: Digital is Where It's At!
With Twitter, you don't even need to Read or Spell anymore!
Then there's the Problem of a Color Blind Hiring Policy in which Non Blacks have been nourishing--Deep Underneath--Unworthy Resentments.
All Taylor's Characters have Issues, but they pull the Dramatic Fabric in too many Directions: Taylor really has about Five Separate Stories to tell…
As Playwright in Residence, she is said to be working on several new Dramas.
Taylor should, instead, go back to the Drawing Board & turn stop. reset. into a Series.
How About Twenty Nine Evenings of Mike Daisey's Rambling Monologues?
Larissa Tokmakova has painted Twenty Nine Paintings of Tarot Images who may well represent Phases of the Lunar Cycle, from New Moon to New Moon.
Each Evening--in Joe's Pub, where Mike Daisey is currently Serial Monologising--one of these Canvases is Upstaging Mike.
Everyone gets a Card each Evening. The Card for the Initial Evening was Venus: The Star who gets what she wants.
On Succeeding Evenings--if you have the Staying Power & do not have to Review Thirty Other Shows, Matinées Included, in this Lunar Cycle--you will have collected a Tarot Pack.
Including The Magician, The Naked Emperor, The Hermit, The Hanged Man!
Mike's Previous Monologue Marathon was staged in Seattle--where they are said to be Sleepless--spanning Twenty Four Hours & was aptly titled All The Hours of The Day.
As a Monologist, Mike Daisey has been compared to Mark Twain, but that's not Fair to either of them, as Twain didn't have Steve Jobs for a Target nor Access to the Internet…
Whatever Critic made that comparison has obviously never read any of Mark Twain's Collected Works.
If so, he or she surely would have noticed that Samuel Clemens does not Punctuate almost every Sentence with the Expletives: "Shit" & "Fuck."
Possibly this Erudite Commentator was thinking of Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight?
But even Hal would never insert such Vulgarities into an account of Huck Finn on the Raft with Jim…
I've been a Mike Daisey Fan from the first time I heard him in Joe's Pub.
But a Little Goes a Long Way…
Rambling Remembrances can be amusing, but, When the Day Is Done, you really want to know: How Did You Get That Sofa off the Street & What Became of the Stiletto that Stabbed Bert Brecht's Corpse?
You Don't Have To Go To New York To Be a Playwright, But Try Getting Produced Out of Town!
Jonathan Bank has Done It Again!
Not only has he unearthed a Totally Forgotten American Play, but he & his Mint Theatre also have given it a First Class Production.
Granted, the Handsome Period Settings are a bit smaller than they would have been on Broadway, when George Kelly's play about being Stage Struck in Manhattan was premiered.
Probably Kelly's best known drama is The Show Off, revived years ago on Broadway with Helen Hayes as Ma Fisher. Kelly's best known Family Relation was, of course, Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco…
In College, Philip has been bitten by the Play Writing Bug, but his Overbearing Father wants him to join him in his Seven Day Week Dedication to Making Money.
So Philip Takes a Stand & goes off to New York, to live in a kind of Arts Boarding House, filled with Kooks, Dreamers, Losers, & Failures.
Philip really has No Talent for Playwriting. Not just Anyone can write a Good Play!
Well, Kelly must have learnt that the Hard Way. But it was Good of him to warn off other Aspirants to the Comic Mask.
Surprise! Philip has a Real Talent for Business!
So, there is a Reconciliation & we learn that even his Gruff Old Dad had once tried to Write a Play!
The Characters with whom Kelly has populated his Instructive Exercise in Social Drama--It's almost a Shavian Problem Play--are Types, but they are so interestingly & affectionately Delineated, that it is a Joy to see them brought so Vitally To Life by a Uniformly Excellent Cast!
Almost Unfair not to name All, but Cliff Bemis [Phil's Dad], Kathryn Kates [Mrs. Ferris, the Landlady], Christine Toy Johnson [Phil's Aunt], & Bernardo Cubria [Phil] were especially engaging.
Bravi for Jerry Ruiz [Direction], Steven C. Kemp [Stage Design], & Carisa Kelly [Costume Design, but No Relation to either George Kelly or Princess Grace. At least, as far as is Known].
Anyone who can Dress a Set the way Joshua Yocom has done with all those Props in Mrs. Farris' Boarding House deserves a Special Award…
This is a Show Not To Be Missed, but the Run is Limited!
Meet a Gold Star Lesbian! One Half of the Coen Brothers Writes a Full Length Play!
Just in case you didn't already know, a Gold Star Lesbian is a Woman who has Never Slept with a Man.
Gretchen & Laura want to have a Child. But they need more than a Sperm Donor & a Turkey Baster.
So Gretchen [Halley Feiffer] hides all the Family Photos of the Two Women Together.
Then she clears out, so Chuck [Robert Beitzel] can be, in effect, seduced by Laura [Susan Pourfar], who shakes a Mean Cocktail Shaker as though she were trying to Bruise the Booze inside.
Laura is a widely admired Concert Pianist. Nonetheless, she is Unsure of Herself.
Her Practice Grand is seen on the floor above the Stylish Set, but it is Never Played, alas.
The Morning After, Laura's gabby Mother [Deborah Rush] turns up too early, so we get to see Chuck's White Abdominals, as he puts on his shirt, preparatory to leaving.
There is a Lot of Talk--some Spates seem to go on Endlessly--but Laura's Mother's Ditzy Observations are Worth the Wait.
Still, wouldn't it be wonderful if Ethan Coen would get back to the Studio with his Brother & make another Fargo or No Country for Old Men?
David Cromer directed.
Didi & Gogo Really Have No Place To Go, So Why Not Wait by The Tree for Godot?
After Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot was premiered, Theatre Intendants all over West Germany were in a frenzy to mount a Distinctive Production.
Each was stuck with the Actors he already had in his Subsidized Repertory Company, so How could the Staging in Mannheim be different from that in Kassel?
Or the Mounting in Karlsrühe from that in Frankfurt am Rhein?
There's only one Central Stage Prop in Warten auf Godot: THE TREE…
After Myriad Godot Premieres--from Hamburg down to Stuttgart, Augsburg, Munich, & Beyond--West Germany's major Theatre Journal, Theater Heute, published a Two Page Spread featuring Photos of All Those Trees!
Down at the Castillo Center, on West 42nd Street, Moshe Yassur's Yiddish Godot also has the Obligatory TREE.
But, even more important--when the Audience is also waiting for Godot, who Never Comes--Moshe also has one of the best Gogo & Didi Teams I have ever seen.
What's more, Didi--Vladimir, to those who do not know him well--has also translated Beckett's French Text into Yiddish. This is more of a Feat than most Viewers--who do not read the Program Bios--can imagine.
Shane Baker is not Jewish!
One might say that Baker became Yiddish over the years…
He also became a very good Actor--with a penchant for Vaudeville Routines that work very well in his Interplay with Gogo, or Estragon, a Grumpy Old Man in the Middle of Nowhere.
As soon as Godot Stagings began to spread like Wildfire, all over Western Europe, not only Critics & Audiences were asking: What Does It All Mean?
Also Asking were Stage Directors & Actors, who were cast as Didi, Gogo, Pozzo, & Lucky.
The Angelic Blond Boy who came to say that Godot would be coming Another Day performed as he was Directed, one assumes…
Well, of course, Any Intellectual could have told you--as many did--that Godot was about Our Existential Angst about Existence.
But Who is the Godot for whom We Are All Waiting?
Is He God? Or--as Irishman Beckett was living & writing in France--is that –ot Suffix a Diminutive?
You know: Like a Little God? A Godette?
Or is He really the Longed For Messiah?
So Long in Coming, but so Ardently Desired, at least by Pious Jews…
Of course, for Christians, He has already been Here once, but He Will Come Again to Judge the Evil Doers & the Enemies of All Right Thinking Christians.
Romanian born Moshe Yassur does not have that Theological Frame of Reference. He was born a Jew, but was able escape Nazi Dominated Europe to Palestine.
Moshe--he was my Brooklyn College Student & I am very Proud of Him & his Dedication to Modern European Theatre--got his Foundation in Theatre in Paris, so he was near the Beckett Fountain.
Not only did Moshe & his Admirable Partner, Dr. Beata Bennett, create their own Theatre Home in Manhattan for New European Dramas, but Moshe eventually returned to Romania to re found the Yiddish Theatre in Iassy, where it was born!
So he has a somewhat Special Perspective from which to view the Philosophical Conundrum that is Warten auf Godot.
Could it be that Beckett--who escaped from the Nazis, when in the French Resistance, but lost a dear Friend to their Death Mills--was writing about Jews who had Survived the Holocaust?
Could the Whip Wielding Tyrant Pozzo--restlessly driving his Robotic Slave Lucky across the Empty Wilderness--be yet another Survivor of the Holocaust? Or one of its Damned Perpetrators?
The Über Kritik Martin Esslin was quick to label Godot as one of those Theatre of the Absurd Plays.
In Godot, however, it is not the Play that is Absurd: it is the Empty Environment in which these Unfortunates exist.
But there is always Hope. Just when Didi is ready to Give Up, he decides he must Keep on Going.
The Little Angel Boy comes twice--in Act One & Act Two--to assure him that Godot is indeed coming. Just Not Today.
There must always be Hope: That Thing with Feathers…
When Act Two begins, that Barren Tree has sprouted a few Feathers: No, Leaves, Leaves!
I bless Moshe for what he has Wrought, in conceiving & achieving this Existential Production, but I also thank Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum [Gogo], Rafael Goldwaser [the ironically named Lucky], Avi Hoffman [Pozzo] & Nicholas Jenkins [Boy] for Bringing It To Life!
For those for whom Yiddish is a Riddle, a Kabalistic Mystery, there are Projected Titles, both in English & in Russian.
But, for Your Roving Arts Reporter, what they spoke on Stage was to me almost More Understandable than English.
Although I learned Hoch Deutsch at UC/Berkeley, when I came to teach in West Germany, I mastered Bayerischer Deutsch, so Yiddish is a bit like Yet Another Dialect.
I made a point of Documenting in Photos as many Concentration Camps & Death Mills as I could: Sachsenhäusen, Buchenwald, Bergen Belsen, Mittelbau Dora, Auschwitz, Mauthhäusen…
When I was teaching our American Occupation Troops in Dachau--we took over the Gestapo Kaserne there!--I was surprised to realize that none of my Sergeants, Corporals, or Privates had Any Idea of what was on the other side of the Wall beside our Barracks Classroom:
The Original Gas Ovens…
I know outstanding German Stagings of Waiting for Godot only from what was then West Germany.
On the Other Side of what we then called The Berlin Wall, another Murderous Tyranny had been established.
It seemed Hopeless that The Wall would ever be Torn Down…
But Look What Happened!
Leaves are still growing on the Trees lining Unter den Linden!
But Godot still has not come: Not to the Germans, not to Us…
Sam Beckett! Where are you, now that we need you?
[Incidentally, tonight I saw Beckett at the Castillo. Tomorrow, I'll be seeing Inge at the Beckett…]
It's Not Easy Being Hungry for Love When You Are Paying All The Bills…
Just before I went down to Theatre Row to see a Revival of William Inge's fraught Family Drama, Natural Affection, I received a Letter from Cousin Sharon who is writing a Loney Family History.
This Paragraph caught my Eye: "I am not sure if you know the circumstances of Bob Gates' Death, but his tall, good looking Son developed some Mental Issues later in life and actually killed Bob when Bob stopped by his Son's Apartment one day to check on him."
Well, there you have, in essence, the Climax of Natural Affection.
Inge deliberately crafted a Shocker, but he Populated It with Characters who are almost Cartoons.
Sue Barker [Kathryn Erbe] is a hard working, hard driving Business Woman who had to put her Babe in an Orphanage in order to survive herself.
Getting Older & Hungry for Love, she is sharing with Bernie [Alec Beard]--who doesn't want to Get Married & who is trying to sell Cadillacs on Commission.
Bernie is having an Intermittent Affair with the Blonde & Slutty Claire [Victoria Mack], who lives across the Hall with her Alcoholic & Ruttish Husband, Vince [John Pankow], who has a Letch for Bernie…
We get to see a lot of Bernie not fully dressed, so you know what Sue, Claire, & Vince see in him.
Over the Years, Sue has been going to see her Son, the slight & wary Donnie [Chris Bert], in various Homes & Institutions.
It's Christmas Eve, but Donnie has just been released, on condition that he be able to stay with his Mother.
This is rather inconvenient, not only because the Apartment is so small, but also because Bernie doesn't want any Competition for Sue's Attentions.
The instant Claire sees Donnie, she has him in her Cross Hairs, possibly hoping for him in her Pubic Hairs later on…
Bernie just crashed one of those Cadillacs, so there goes his Quasi Employment & Self Respect.
He storms out of the Apartment, leaving Sue alone with Donnie, who suddenly shows an Unnatural Affection for his Horrified Mother.
She rushes out, leaving the Coast Clear for Claire, who is then Stabbed to Death by Donnie…
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Inge made a great deal of Money from his Plays. He even had a Swimming Pool in his Pad, where Street Lads were occasionally invited for a Swim & Whatever.
He died a Sad Old Man…
Will the Sight of an Erect Nipple Lead to Hard Drugs? Nudity in Our Highest Court!
It's all about Choreography!
The Armchairs of the Supremes are in Constant Motion, scooting around the Stage, as does the Lawyers Podium.
On the Huge Screen behind all this Frenetic Activity, venerable Judicial Rulings zoom Up & Down & Sideways, like Talmud Torah Commentaries gone Crazy.
At Issue before the Justices of the Supreme Court is the Question: Is Nude Dancing an Exercise of Freedom of Speech, as guaranteed by Our Rugged Constitution?
Is an Entertainment Facility that you have to Pay Admission to Enter, really a "Public Place," at least in Indiana?
Are Family Values at risk if Randy Gents pay Money to look at Lady Dancers with Naked Titties?
There's a lot of Innuendo in both the Lawyerly Arguments Pro & Con, as well as in the Responses of Various Justices, variously impersonated by the Estimable Company of Elevator Repairers.
There are also several deliberately Bad Wigs, as the Big Wig Justices take turns also as Lawyers arguing this Nation Shaking Case.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg favors Elegant Lace Collars on her Sober Black Judicial Robes…
While some Shows warn you in advance that there will be Smoke from Herbal Cigarettes, those Unwary Folks who took the Elevator to the Third Floor LuEsther Theatre--at the Public Theatre--were warned that there would be Nudity on display!
Fortunately, it wasn't provided by the Hilarious Stripper interviewed on the Marble Steps of the Supreme Court.
No, it was one of the Lawyers--who took off his clothes, down to a G Strap, followed by Complete Frontal Nudity!
Well! What a Let Down…
There was really Nothing to See, down there.
Rather like that Famed Comment about a Bawdy Lady in Regency London who bared All: "She was a Positive Antidote to Desire!"
The ingenious John Collins deftly staged his Elevator Repair Men & Women , with Katherine Profeta as his Movement Dramaturg.
Forget About Horton Foote & Family Drama! Knock Down & Drag Out Family Values in West Mass
Tracy Letts' August, Osage County pales beside the Horrendous Family Dynamic thrashing around the tiny stage of the Cherry Lane Theatre Studio.
Lucy Thurber--certainly No Relation to James Thurber & Walter Mitty!--makes William Inge's Natural Affection look like a Deliberate Construct, designed to Shock.
The Alcohol Fueled Violence, Bad Language, & Soul Destroying Insults are not designed: they seem Completely Natural to this Unhappy Family.
Who knew that there were White Trash Red Neck Crackers way up in Massachusetts?
Well, this is a small town in Western Massachusetts: where everyone knows everyone else, including their Darkest Secrets…
Scarcity--read Scar City?--is one of five of Thurber's Hill Town Plays, all being simultaneously played by the Rattlestick Theatre.
Dad is an Unemployed Unemployable, first seen when he's brought through his Front Door in Handcuffs, delivered by the Local Policeman, who is not only the Cousin of Dad's also Alcoholic & Blowsy Wife, but who also Lusts after Her & is paying the Family Bills.
The Law is married to an even more Blowsy Wife, who is also Sluttish & Unsatisfied…
Trapped in this Food Stamp Hell is super smart young Billy & his Fifth Grade Genius Sister, who reads the Tarot Pack, as well as Jane Austen.
Into their Lives some Metaphoric Rain must always Fall, but the Intrusion of a Well Intentioned Rich Girl New Schoolteacher--who recognizes Billy as a Very Smart Fellow & also Sexy--wreaks Havoc.
All the Actors are Superb--superbly staged by Daniel Talbot--but it's daunting to think how they can play this Destruction Derby not once, but Twice on a Matinée Day…
This Exhaustive Exercise in Material & Spiritual Scarcity should soon move to a Much Larger Theatre!
Konstantin Stanislavski would surely be daunted by the Performances of the Cast of Scarcity.
This is Not Chekhov by a Hundred Kilometers. Building a Character as he prescribed now seems so Antiquated.
What happens on Stage doesn't seem staged or stagey. It looks & sounds All Too Real…
Ben Brantley Says It's "Hilarious." With Amanda Plummer & Brad Dourif, It's Anything But That.
The Curious Oddity by Thomas Lanier Williams that he quixotically titled The Two Character Play is a kind of Chinese Puzzle Box of a Southern Gothic Horror Story.
Ben Brantley --Chief Critic for the Paper of Record--is reported to have found the Current Production at New World Stages "Hilarious."
The Murder of a Mother--followed by the Suicide of a Father--is No Laughing Matter.
That this Horrific Event is being Repeatedly Recalled by the Traumatized & Aging Children of those Doomed Parents--in a Barren Framework of a Room--in what appears to be a Play Within a Play Within a Play, acted by Crazies acting Crazies is, however, certainly "Powerful," a Word Long Encomium also invoked by Brantley.
Plummer & Dourif were Terrifying & Tormented, by turns. In their Characters, they evoked the Pity & Terror so approved by Aristotle in his appraisal of Greek Tragedy in the Poetics…
Watching the intricate Shadings of Emotion in Plummer's Face & Body, it's challenging to recall that she's the Daughter of the Unsinkable Tammy Grimes.
As for the Admirable Brad, I interviewed him almost a Century Ago at the CUNY Grad Center, when he was appearing in When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?
Unlike Beckett's Godot, who is always promised for Tomorrow, Red Ryder was not coming back.
But Brad Dourif was Moving Forward!
Will the Tastelessness of Annna Nicole's Lifestyle Alienate Opera Loving People of Good Taste?
A Huge Bust is the Catch Phrase used by Justin Davidson--Architecture Critic for New York Magazine--to describe the Trendy Production of Anna Nicole over at BAM, direct from the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
Davidson was fresh from deploring the impending construction of Elongated Erections on West 57th Street, where the Promised Skyscrapers may overtop the Freedom Tower.
Actually, Anna Nicole would make a very good Broadway Show, although its Artistic Pretensions are a bit more High Falutin…
There are no Taxing Arias that any talented Broadway Star could not tackle.
The difference is that Sarah Joy Miller--sporting Fake Breast Implants, as Anna Nicole, who married Immense Wealth--does not have to use a Mike in order to be heard.
For Broadway, a Producer like Daryl Roth--she's behind Kinky Boots & Annie--would have to cut the Opera Sized Onstage Chorus by Half or Two Thirds. That would also save on Costumes…
Anyone of Voting Age surely remembers the Saga of Anna Nicole, who rose from such Humble Employment as Lap Dancing to Dancing with The Stars.
When you are born into a Trailer Court in the American Southwest--with White Trash Family & Friends--you really need to devise a Strategy to Escape.
Initially Flat Chested, Anna Nicole has her Titties Enhanced, which eventually leads her into the Bed of a Randy Old Man [Robert Brubaker], who is smitten with her.
Her Goings & Comings are regularly reported on Commercial TV. Anna is a kind of On Going Free Show, even a Freak Show…
But, when J. Howard Marshall II suddenly expires, his Angry Heirs deny Anna her share of his Immense Wealth.
She won't give up, however, so the Court Hearings go on & on. She even appears on Larry King Live to let Folks know what's What with her.
Is this Product Placement on an Opera Stage?
Richard Thomas' deliberately shocking Libretto--rich in Profanities & Naughty Words--chronicles Anna's Rise & Fall, most of the Narrative sung by the Blue Suited Chorus, who are also On Stage Observers.
Mark Anthony Turnage was commissioned by the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, to compose this Trendy Work, with a Score that somewhat underscores what is Being Sung.
Richard Jones' Staging--ably abetted by the Sets of Miriam Buether & the Costumes of Nicky Gillibrand--is Stage Filling, even with Black Clad Dancers with TV Cameras for Heads: to Poke into Anna's Affairs almost constantly.
Each of the Initial Six Cameras is different, but at the Close, the Stage is filled with Cameras of all Sorts & Designs, with Black Legs sprouting out below…
Even the Front Curtain of Anna Nicole is a Parody of the actual Covent Garden Curtain, just as the frenetic Onstage Action is a kind of Parody of Anna's Life.
Grand Opera has its own War Horses featuring Ladies of Easy Virtue: Violetta in Traviata, Manon in Manon Lescaut, but Anna Nicole is surely the First to have its Libretto packed with Deliberate Crudities & Vulgarities. How about Shit & Fuck for starters?
Anna Nicole was a Tabloid Queen & both she & her Adored Son died of Overdoses.
Not of TB, like Violetta & Mimi…
The TV Packed Stage Finale suggests that she may have died of a Metaphoric TV Exposure.
Nonetheless, this production of Anna Nicole is a Visual Sensation & an Audial Surprise.
It could Make It on Broadway.
The Question now, however, is whether the beleaguered New York City Opera is going to make it?
Some Seven Million Dollars are being begged to keep it afloat.
Steven Sloane conducted what may be one of its Very Last Productions…
Gang Rumble in the Piazza Maggiore: Two Young Bloods Knifed to Death!
Orlando Bloom [Romeo] guns his Motorcycle for his Big Entrance in David Leveaux's Trendy Updating of Romeo & Juliet.
He gets a Big Round of Applause, before he's even opened his Mouth.
Jane Houdyshell [Nurse] also evokes Clapping Hands, as she enters, pushing a Bicycle.
Although Shakespeare [or Chris Marlowe] nominally set his Drama of Star Crossed Lovers in Renaissance Verona, they now seem to be somewhere in Brooklyn, with Il Duce di Verona transformed into the Borough President.
The Capulets could now be considered Upscale Bed Stuy, with the Montagues secure over in Park Slope.
Someone has been Fracking under the Arena di Verona--or maybe Prospect Park?--because there has seldom been seen so much Open Flame onstage on Broadway.
This is one Performance Event at which it really would be dangerous to shout Fire in a Crowded Theatre…
If only Il Duce had instituted Stop & Frisk, then, perhaps, the Tragic Deaths of Mercutio & Tybalt could have been avoided.
That would have been especially welcome as Christian Camargo was excellent--however brief--in the celebrated Queen Mab Aria.
Nonetheless, Orlando Bloom is not just a Pretty Face: as Romeo, he was Ardent, Baffled, & Suicidal.
Truly, almost Everyone spoke their Lines as though they Really Meant Them.
Especially affecting was the Juliet of the lovely Condola Rashad.
The famed Balcony Scene was amusing & touching by turns: One of the Best I've seen in recent memory.
Romeo didn't need a Ladder or Vines; He Chinned himself Up onto the Balcony!
At the Opening, there was this Guy who looked like a Leftover from Occupy Wall Street.
He had a White Dove, which may have been meant to Symbolize something like Peace.
He was actually Friar Laurence, but he must have been De Frocked. Or no longer a Franciscan?
In Real Life, he is Brent Carver…
But the Stage Director may have wanted to de stress the Religious Aspects of the Script?
There were some Deft Cuts--but not in the Sense of "This was the Unkindest Cut of All"--so we didn't get to see the County Paris get cut.
Chris Marlowe may have phoned in the Cuts from the University of Padua, where he is in hiding, for there is still a Sentence of Death hanging over him, even after he escaped from England…
The Major Set Prop was a Great Bell, with No Bell Tower.
It was just Hanging There, rising & falling…
Afterward, a Colleague reminded me: This isn't a New Idea in updating Romeo & Juliet. It's been done before. Remember West Side Story?
Now that you mention it, Yes!
But none of the Jets or the Sharks had onstage Motorcycles…
Love Denied, Love Repressed in Elegant Edwardian England: Superb Staging at Pearl Theatre.
Shaw may not be as Poetic as Shakespeare, but his Astute Understanding of the Human Heart still resonates, even though we are no longer in the Edwardian Era.
When the remarkably versatile Sean McNall is discovered amid Vintage Victorian Dental Equipment, he becomes Mr. Valentine, a Five Shilling Dentist who cannot pay his Rent.
Valentine's crusty Landlord, Fergus Crampton [Brad Cover], was once married--without Love--to Margaret Clandon [Robin Leslie Brown], a Fierce Proponent of Women's Rights, who has raised the Children she took from Ex Hubby, Fergus, to raise according to Her Principles.
So it takes a while & some Wiles for Valentine to win the Hand & Heart of Gloria Clandon [Amelia Pedlow], who has a Fortune that will save him from Five Shilling Dentistry & pay the Landlord, who is, of course, her Long Lost Father.
Not to Overlook the Wisdom & Ritual Elegance of Dan Daily as Walter Boon, the Stately Waiter in the Elegant Seaside Grand Hotel, where he serves an Elegant Edwardian Tea, as well as a Full Course Dinner that no one seems to eat…
The Fact that his Cambridge Educated Son [Zachary Spicer] is a QC & a Deciding Factor in resolving the Clandon/Crampton Family Problems only underlines Shaw's impatience with the Rituals of the English Class System.
Then there are those Irrepressible Twins, Dolly & Philip Clandon [Emma Wisniewski & Ben Charles], Two Wunderkinder…
Local Lawyer Finch McComas [Dominic Cuskern] has his own Legal Problems.
Not only is this Visually Stunning Production a low budget exercise in Edwardian Elegance, it also has the advantage of Shavian Wit & Wisdom.
The Wonder of Pearl Theatre Stagings is that its Repertory Ensemble seems equal to any Casting Challenge. All the Actors are splendid & splendidly In Character in this David Staller Directed Period Piece.
Awards Nominations for the Scenic Design of Harry Feiner & the Costumes of Barbara A. Bell.
At Jonathan Bank's estimable Mint Theatre, Audiences can often see Period Productions as handsome as those at the Pearl, but the Mint's Disadvantage is that it must do Forgotten Dramas, rather than Real Winners from the Annals of Theatre History.
Religious Folks often speak of that Pearl of Great Price, but at the Pearl Theatre, the Price is always Right!
Homer Simpson Is Dead! Long Live Homer Simpson! As for Mister Burns, He Dead, Too…
Apparently, there has been some sort of Nuclear Disaster or Plague & some Survivors are trying to revive Memories of the Lost Past, some of which seem derived from Old TV Shows.
As--on Principle--I never watched TV in the Privacy of My Own Home, I am not familiar with The Simpsons or some of the Other Trivia this Odd Group is resurrecting.
Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado I did recognize, but that was Small Reward for sitting still to watch this Puzzling Vision of The Future.
It should have been left in The Future, to be produced by what remains of Playwrights Horizons after The Plague or the Death of the Light…
As for this being a Post Electric Play, there was definitely a Power Outage.
What was most puzzling, however, was that this Disintegrative Work was commissioned, the Recipients being The Citizens, who have created some amazing Theatre Projects in the Past--not least that Colorado Springs Outing…
All Star Lineup for Bad Behavior in Harrison, TX: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
One thing you have to say for Horton Foote: He seldom writes a Bad Role for Hallie Foote.
Indeed, in The Old Friends, Hallie's understated Sybil--damaged by Bad Choices--is the only Sympathetic Texan. But she's been away in Venezuela for a while…
Truth about Small Towns: You usually end up marrying a Local Girl or Boy & if you don't Leave Town, you are stuck with her or him & all your Old High School Friends [also Enemies] for the Rest of Your Life.
As Horton Foote's Caricature Characters have Aged, they haven't Mellowed. They are still Selfish, Self Centered, even Snotty…
Nonetheless, the Cast features the admirable Lois Smith--but this is no Trip to Bountiful this time out--as well as Betty Buckley, Cotter Smith, Novella Nelson, & Veanne Cox.
Both Buckley & Cox are Coiffed, Manicured, & Made Up to an almost Mannequin Perfection. Their Hair Arrangements should be shown in a Museum, after this Show closes.
In Harrison, Money Talks, but with Buckley's Cartoonish Character, it won't Shut Up & it comes with a Giant Libido & Lust for Power Over Others.
Director Michael Wilson is possibly at fault to have encouraged most of his Ensemble to Over Act with such Off Putting Zest.
The High School Reunion of these Old Friends is something you want to avoid…
How about running off to Caracas?
The Dead Go On Dancing Forever, The Dead Singers Are in a Loop for Our Enjoyment…
This Harrowing Film with Live Music was recently shown--or, rather, Experienced--only Six Times at the Park Avenue Armory.
Scores of New Yorkers stood, packed tightly together--inside a Metaphoric Sarcophagus of Eleven Giant Screens--watching Adam Curtis' Epic Mash Up Collage of Film Footage from the past Fifty Years.
It all begins in Omsk, with the Birth of Siberian Punk & the Man who crafted the Scenario for Vlad Putin's Rise to Power.
We get to see the Brutal Murders of Romania's Dictator & His Dictatorial Spouse, filmed so that Romanians would know for certain that the Ceaucescu Regime was gone forever.
We are inside the Imploded Nuclear Reactor at Chernobyl, alongside Desperate Workers who will surely die of the Radiation Exposure.
We watch the Collapse of Communism.
We watch the Insanity of US Foreign Policy unfold: Donald Rumsfeld speaks to us…
We see the Triumph of Donald Trump. We see Ted Turner produce Endless News Loops & marry Jane Fonda.
We relive Entire Eras & Culture Crazes.
We see Michael Jackson, who will go on dancing forever…
Apparently, Adam Curtis has a Warehouse full of old BBC Footage, as well as access to all kinds of Filmic Excesses & Documentary Snippets.
With the Eleven Screens arranged in a kind of U Standing Stadium--the Sarcophagus Image borrowed from the Entombment of the Chernobyl Reactor--the Effect of Eleven Simultaneous Repetitions of People walking down Endless Corridors is both Hypnotic & Disorienting.
We are instantly in Afghanistan with the Taliban & in Anaheim at that Arts University founded by the Disneys.
The Filmic Hauntings are often overlaid with Giant Letters, spelling out Mottos for Our Times & Warnings for the Future.
Despite all the Disasters & Horrors of the Last Half Century, we are all about Self, Self, Self, it seems.
Perhaps Our Own Lives have become a kind of Film Loop?
This Sensational Film Experience is enhanced by the Live Music of Massive Attack, as the very Floor Boards of the Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Armory seem to Throb with the Beat.
Shown previously at the Ruhr Triennial & the Manchester International Festival, this Armory Outing was the American Premiere.
It surely will be shown in Arenas around America, but the Film Itself is so Arresting & Astounding that it should also be shown on Smaller Single Screens in Surviving Movie Theatres as well.
Perhaps you can order it from Net Flix before long?
All Star Broadway Musical Talents Sing Out--Without Mikes & Amplifiers--at Town Hall…
How about Tonya Pinkins for an Opener, singing Last Midnight, from Steve Sondheim's Into the Woods?
This Edition of Broadway Unplugged is the Tenth that's been Created, Written, & Hosted by the remarkable & affable Scott Siegel.
The Idea of being Unplugged is not like pulling the Stopper out of the Bathtub, but Pulling the Plug on the Cable that connects a Mike with the Amp System.
Every Fall, at Town Hall, you are able to Hear--as well as See--Broadway Stars sing out Loud & Clear some of the most wonderful Songs ever written for the American Musical Stage.
Some of the Shows didn't Make It at the Box Office. Some were Savaged by the Critics…
But Scott Siegel doesn't forget a Dynamic Lyric or a Haunting Melody, even if Archivists have already consigned the Surrounding Show to the Waste Basket of Theatre History.
Remember The Grand Tour? No Demerits if you have already forgotten…
But I Belong Here, as sung by Barbara Walsh, makes one think we ought to Take Another Look.
The Met Opera's John Easterlin gave the assembled Town Hallers Two Melodic Injections of Kismet: Stranger in Paradise & This Is My Beloved.
How many in the Audience recognized the Tunes as borrowed from Borodin's Prince Igor?
Other Show Singers included Jeff Mattsey, Carole J. Bufford, Ben Davis--fresh from Anna Nicole over at BAM, Bill Daugherty, William Michals, Natalie Toro, Max Von Essen, Christopher Sieber, Eddie Korbich, Christiane Noll, Jeffry Denman--who dances & sings, & Marc Kudish.
Liz Callaway was heartbreaking, reprising Memory from Lloyd Webber's Cats--which she sang on stage hundreds of times in a Cat Costume. Not at Town Hall, however…
Camille Saviola took the Audience from the Heights--There's No Business Like Show Business, from Annie Get Your Gun--to the Depths, with Life Is, from Zorba.
She defiantly sang that Oddly Pessimistic Anthem, which tells us that Life Is What You Do While You're Waiting To Die…
Very Greek, that Idea!
Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.
Copyright © Glenn Loney 2013. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney Arts Rambles." Reproduction rights please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.