Saturday, June 13, 2009

There is a certain kind

of audience member that I'm sure we've all encountered in our lives; this audience member is not content merely to enjoy the film he or she has paid to see. No, this audience member must communicate to every other audience member that he or she gets it. I mean, REALLY gets it. I usually come across this person in movies directed by, say, David Lynch or the Coen Brothers. When I come across them in Los Angeles, they're often film school geeks in their twenties. I last had to relocate seats to get away from them in a matinee screening of Inland Empire a few years ago.

Last night, I discovered a completely new variant of this phenomenon sitting in front of me at Wooster Group's La Didone at REDCAT.

This guy was in STITCHES. At everything. And as you can imagine at a REDCAT performance, there is a certain kind of audience member that might be the theater/art school version of the young film school geeks at David Lynch movies, but no, this guy could've taught those students. His art school look was definitely a more professorial kind. I feel like he should've known better.

Honestly, I'm pleased that the guy was enjoying himself, but bouncing up and down constantly in a packed theater designed for multiple configurations is NOT a good idea. The entire row was rocking to his giddiness. The poor woman next to him was shooting menacing stares. The couple on the other side of his companion got up and either left or moved. If it had been a half-empty theater I would definitely have done the same thing. It was infuriating. My entire perspective on the performance became a reaction to his reactions.

It went something like this.
Why was that funny? This isn't really that funny. I don't know, is it just that I don't get it? No, I totally get it, or at least I think I do, and I mean, I love camp as much as the next guy, but this isn't JUST camp, is it? Oh wait, that was funny. I don't care if he laughed I'm going to laugh at that too. I thought that was funny. I don't care what he thinks. Oh, HAH, that was funny. He didn't even laugh at that, did he? Shows what he knows. God I wish he'd stop with the damn bouncing. Is that all he thinks this is? Some kind of meta-po-mo-camp exercise so he can make fun of old Italian opera and bad sci-fi for 90 minutes? I mean, it is the Wooster Group. I feel like I'm supposed to be thinking about what they're doing too, right? Like high-is-low-and-low-is-high and look-at-the-artful-love-and-death-juxtapositions or something. So why does everything have to be so goddamn hysterical? Seriously? . Oh, that part was cool. See? Like it really looked and sounded really intense. No, you didn't laugh at that, did you? DID YOU? Idiot. I hate that guy. I have a perfect angle on his neck; I could absolutely wring it right now. That's it. I'm going to strangle him. Watch his bald head go slump onto the shoulder of his mortified date. Now look at what you've done; you've made a perfectly docile theater blogger become completely distracted by a show he's been looking forward to all month by thinking dreadful thoughts about your violent demise. Happy now? Oh, look at him jump up at the curtain call. Whatever. I want to go home.
Please, for the love of all that is good in the theater, do not be this guy. I really don't need to know that you get it. I don't. And if you want the actors to know, I'm sure they'll get it when you jump to your feet at the end. That's enough. It really is. GOD.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thank you President Obama

for showing us how far we've come!

Thank you Rolling Stone

for showing us how far we've come! In the magazine's cover story on Adam Lambert, Vanessa Grigoriadis makes the following trenchant observation:

Even when you know that he's gay, it's hard not to find him physically attractive.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On my to-do list

I don't think I can possibly get to all of these, but I'm gonna try.

Lope de Vega's Madness in Valencia at Sacred Fools.

Edwin Sanchez's Trafficking in Broken Hearts at Celebration.

Jacqueline Wright's Love Water -- Open Fist / EST-LA.

Erik Patterson's He Asked for It at Macha Theatre.

Itamar Moses' Bach at Leipzig and Caryl Churchill's A Number at Odyssey Theatre.

Craig Wright's The Unseen at Road Theatre Company.

Thornton Wilder's Our Town at Actor's Gang.

Suzanne Lebeau's El Ogrito at 24th Street Theatre.

Justin Tanner's Voice Lessons at Zephyr Theatre.

Week Three of The Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Oleanna in Variety

I really appreciate Bob Verini's review of Oleanna. It avoids the easier, more literal interpretations of the play and accusations of deck-stacking and misogyny and really gets down to business.

Here's my favorite bit:

"Who's right?" audiences may ask. "Is he a predator, or she vindictive? What college is this, anyway? And how can Carol be a milquetoast in scene one and an Amazon thereafter?" But such questions are no more relevant than asking where in London one can find Pinter's "The Dumbwaiter," or why Pozzo returns blind and helpless in act two of "Waiting for Godot."

"Oleanna" has something more postmodern and allusive in mind: dramatizing the confrontation between two diametrically opposed modes of human interaction, a clash which (Mamet would doubtless argue) lies at the heart of most of the world's ills.

John's mode is casual and inferential, his liberal-humanist self-image -- to which Pullman's rock-ribbed integrity is ideally suited -- granting him immunity from charges of malice, or so he thinks. It's absurd to take "I like you" as anything but sincere as uttered to a young lady, or to read anything sexual in a proffered helping hand. His students know how fine he is, don't they?

But Carol's approach is literal, even fundamentalist: A quip about the wealthy's fornication practices is per se pornographic, and characterizing higher ed as "ritualized hazing" assaults every enrolled student, irrespective of what the professor "meant" to say.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

There's a good piece

by Steven Leigh Morris on The Wooster Group here. I'm looking forward to seeing La Didone on Friday.

Just got back from

Mercury Fur, which was highly satisfying. I told my friend Henry the other day that I don't really want to see theater anymore unless sex and violence is involved, so I was more than happy by the end of this show.

Oh, and I liked Oleanna at the Taper a lot, too. Not as much sex or violence, but it doesn't take as long to get to it as Mercury Fur, so I suppose it gets a pass. That's the rubric, I guess; I'll sit through anything, but the longer the play is the bloodier the climax needs to be.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A video postcard

from my alma mater, Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

I can't believe that they let this happen in the library! Stunts like this make me want to double my annual contribution!