Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Hate The Theatre!

That said...I attended one of the finest theatrical presentations of my life not long go.

I must preface, in defense of this post's title, by saying that I was a theatre major in college and worked many years professionally as a technical director, lighting technician, stagehand and even an actor ("I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road" by Cryer and Ford, produced by Joe Papp at The Public Theatre and directed by the legendary Word Baker...in which I created the role of "Jake")

I have "been there", "done that" and torn way too many "tee shirts..."

The theatre normally bores me to tears...even professional productions but especially amateur ones.

So when some dear friends invited me to watch their darling daughter in a version of Hamlet at the prestigious Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven I was less than enthusiastic.

I love my friends and their daughter, who is a terrific actress and dancer...even if she is only a teenager. Really unusually gifted.

So I went. I was right on time. Having worked at The Hartford Stage Company I knew that if I was even a minute late I would have to endure the lobby until the first scene change.

I got my program and took a seat.

The set was minimal and the lighting was utilitarian. A small "Black Box" theatre with platforms.

What caught my eye immediately was a full rock band set up on an upstage riser. Hmmmm. What could this mean...?

The lights dimmed and the play began.

I once played the role of Polonius. Hamlet can be tough, even for Kenneth Branagh.

Things started a bit slowly and I started to fidget. Arghhh! I was stuck and for three hours and with only ONE intermission. I'd never make it. I was going to have to bail...

But the all of sudden, as if on cue, the energy in the room changed. The acting became more refined. The lighting and "sets" made sense. The actors formed a rock band that intermittantly began playing songs that were relative to the dialogue and I was, in a word...enraptured!

I was on the edge of my seat and was upset when the intermission happened. I didn't want it to stop!

And at the end of the play I didn't want it to be over.

The famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy was probably the best I've ever heard, delivered with an authenticity that belied the teenage years of the actor who played Hamlet. Truly awesome.

And my friend's daughter, while playing a small part, left me, as always, transfixed. I only hope I have as good a seat when she accepts her first Oscar. Watch for Jane Logan. She is going to be a star. She will be her generation's Meryl Streep. Mark my words.

So...I now must honestly say that I hated the theatre. You'll still never catch me at a dinner theatre production of "Company" or some innovative attempt at "Ah! Wilderness"...but that one night, in the presence of teenage superstars at one of the finest regional theatres in the world, changed my opinion.

Now I will have to say, "I hated the theatre...except for this one performance of Hamlet I saw X number of years ago."

It was wonderful...and I had a great time...in spite of myself.

Thanks kids! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

January 20, 2013...

I am registering profound disappointment at the lack of of enthusiasm for "Don't Forget The Facts", the public page on Facebook, reminding anyone who is interested in keeping the presidential election about the truth, of exactly how we got into the social and economic mess we're in and levelling the playing field vis-a-vis Obama's responsibility vs. Republicans...

It has nine "likes..." NINE!!

This is not about me. This is about trying to have an election where the "loyal" opposition is called to account for their culpability. Obama needs a fair shake in this election and he won't get one if we forget how this all came about. The Republicans will blame Obama for everything and try to convince us that they can do a better job, when, in point of fact, it is the "job" that they did that, in part, caused the problem.

If we don't pay attention we'll be inaugurating Perry/Romney/Bachmann/Palin on January 20, 2013.

13 is a traditionally unlucky number. Do we really want to be that unlucky. Really...punk...do we...?

Come on people...what gives?

Go to the page..."Like" it...spread the word...Viralize it! Let's GO!!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Loves Me Not

Here's what happens.

Every four years we are called upon to vote for president. We listen, intently, to the rhetoric and, after careful deliberation, we decide and cast our ballot.

Then, in very short order, we become disillusioned and start to dislike and then, sometimes even hate the guy we had voted for.

The problem is that the other guy is always worse.

I voted for Barack Obama. Not so much because I was so in love. It was more of vote against the possibility of four more long, agonizing years of the Republicans running things. I saw Obama as just another greasy pol only a little less so.

After eight years of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and all of the rest I just couldn't, in good conscience, vote to elect another Republican, especially after John Maverick (the little known youngest brother of Bart and Bret) had chosen Mrs. Nitwit as his running mate. No could do.

I would have voted for Mickey Mouse had he been on the ticket...four fingers and all. Will somebody please explain that to me? Why do cartoon characters only have four fingers...a thumb and three? Were they all wounded in battle or did they all cut off a finger using a table saw?

So I voted for Obama. Hillary would have been a much better choice but we all know what happened there. Monica Lewinsky happened there. Along with Vince Foster and Whitewater, Health Care, "Don't Ask-Don't Tell", the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" and "It Takes a Village."

We were just plum worn out by the Clintons. And we all knew that if we elected Hill we got Bill. They are a great team and were oodles better than George and Laura but the body politic couldn't let it go.

The sex thing is what did 'em in. There hasn't been a more competent husband and wife team in the White House since FDR and Eleanor but Hill and Bill had the Sex Albatross to contend with. In the end, it was just too much.

So I had to vote for Obama.

But now, like clockwork and right on schedule, he has risen to disappoint. His approval rating is way down and, according to recent polling, he is no longer a shoe-in for re-election.

But, again, I can't bring myself to vote for the Republicans.

Imagine hiring an electrical contractor to work in your house. The electrician screws everything up and the company charges a fortune anyway.

You fire them and hire another, seemingly, better contractor. They take too long and don't live up to your expectations.

Here's the question:

Are you going to hire the first company again?

Are you a MORON?!!

So...I can't vote for Romney or Perry or Bachmann. And I don't like Obama.

So what's a voter to do?

Maybe a third party candidate will emerge who will capture the spirit and imagination of the electorate and promise to change the status quo and deliver us from the social hell we find ourselves in.

And where have you heard that before? Any guesses?