Posts Tagged ‘Broadway’

Other Desert Cities

October 18, 2011

Wow. A lot has happened since I last dropped in on you. Most recently, all that is left in the garden is a wild plot of nasturtium that is probably choking the life out of whatever mint is left (which is getting transplanted next season) and one hyper-active pepper plant. The tomatoes are all done, the basil is all done and what wasn’t used for another batch of pesto, is drying.

This past weekend we saw two plays on Broadway. One Friday night and a matinee on Saturday. I’ll get to Saturday’s tomorrow.

On Friday we almost didn’t see Other Desert Cities. And it wasn’t because the skies threatened rain..or maybe it was, who knows? In spite of the suggestion I carry my little Totes umbrella for when I got off the train in the city, I didn’t. Well, I couldn’t find it, point 1,  and point number 2, navigating the city without an umbrella is taxing enough and I’ve traversed along 8th Avenue in drizzly conditions, dodging others’ bumbershoots and it’s not that easy a task. I applaud those who do it. I left the house, alarmingly earlier than I expected because my cab came sooner than they have been lately. I only waited less than 10 minutes as opposed to sometimes close to 30 and I actually waited for a second train so I could enjoy my Dunkin Donuts coffee and the rising blister on my tongue. Yes, sometimes those cautions are accurate!

Well, not long after I got to the station did the skies open and I thought, oh crap, maybe I should have invested a few more minutes in my umbrella search, but I toughed it out and by the time I got to New York the rain had either ceased or had not yet arrived and I high-tailed it to the restaurant, our favorite haunt, Playwrights. Knowing Ariel was on his way, with the tickets, from approximately 25 minutes before I got off the train at 5:08, I ordered a beer at the bar and put my name down for a table. I’ll spare you the details, but Ariel finally got to Playwrights at 7:10. When he called to say he was finally in the city and parking, I ordered dinner and drinks so they’d be at the table when he arrived and get this, we even had time for dessert!

Okay, on to the show:

Rachel Griffiths, of television’s Brothers & Sisters, plays rehabilitated novelist daughter Brooke Wyeth to Stockard Channing and Stacey Keach’s Polly, an ex-screenwriter and Lymen Wyeth, an ex-Hollywood actor, and friends of the Reagans. Brooke returns home for Christmas with a soon to be published manuscript which tells the story of her family, at least how she knows it, with the main focus being her dead brother and offering closure to their relationship, a book her parents fight tooth and nail to make her reconsider publishing, claiming she knows nothing of the truth surrounding the brother, a secret that would destroy them. Meanwhile her younger living brother Trip, played by Thomas Sadoski encouraged her to go forward, as long as she understood the emotional consequences it would arouse and her recovered alcoholic aunt Silda, a relatively small part but played brilliantly and flawlessly by Judith Light, applauded her niece’s determination to publish her book with a damn the torpedoes attitude.

Even though witty dialogue flew effortlessly between the characters, eliciting laughter from the audience, the mood was evident something dark and moody lurked behind the family’s outward attempt at aloofness within itself. Stockard Channing was brilliant as Polly, the right wing opinionated mother and as the newly sobered aunt Silda, a vast contrast politically and emotionally to sister Polly, Judith Light was a positive force to be reckoned with. Rachel Griffiths was a step above the character I know her as, Sarah Walker (Brothers & Sisters). As Trip, Thomas Sadoski played the tired of being caught in the middle sibling/child convincingly. I only wish Stacey Keach had been a little less restrained.

The final line in the play left me with something of a haunting chill, as its meaning was both cryptic and obvious that closure was unattainable. I gave Other Desert Cities an 8.

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Jack Bustle Terror

February 22, 2010

We had our weigh-ins on Saturday and it wasn’t as glorious a reading as the past few weeks. I put on 2 pounds, so now I’m up to 218, and Ariel took off on 1, which brings him down to 202. But we didn’t let it get us down, no, we still went out cavorting in the city.

We went to see The Miracle Worker with Purdy and Brent and we were pleasantly surprised also with the company of Purdy’s cousin, Chantal. Luckily she was able to get a ticket but unfortunately it was on the other side of the theater. Theater in the round, I found, is not the optimal way to see a dramatic piece, as the actors are alternately positioned to favor one section of the audience at a time; case in point, when Helen Keller finally realized what water was at the pump in the yard, she was facing away from where we were sitting. So any look of wonderment and jubilation she may have had went unseen by us. But we did get more than our share of glimpses of the fancy bustles of the women’s period costumes.

The show is still in previews and aside from inconvenience of theater in the round, there is still some tweaking to do. For instance, in the dining room scene, when Anne Sullivan was teaching Helen proper table manners, some of the scenery obstructed our view. The piece of scenery in question was the door frame that came up from the floor to represent the door of the dining room. From my own personal vantage point, each side of the frame perfectly blocked my view of both Anne and Helen as they battled at the table. The majority of the set was on wires that lowered and rose the pieces into the ceiling and the hanging wires were a bit of a distraction. At times, the acting momentarily lost a little steam, but for the most part the pace was even and the production smooth. What lost it for me was a too prolonged final scene after Helen discovered “water”, hugs and smiles of joy among the family were exaggerated and silent and it diminished the manic mood of Helen’s sudden need to know more.

Alison Pill’s Anne Sullivan could use just a quick, ever so slight buffing swipe to clear the last bit of cobwebs and the part will be as polished as it needs to be. Breslin needs a little more savage animal instinct and Helen’s own untamed behavior will shine. Matthew Modine could tone down his angry bitter Captain Keller role to a lesser roar and Jennifer Morrison’s Kate needs to be a little more downtrodden and desperately hopeful; she smiled too much. Tobias Segal accomplished the role of Helen’s misunderstood and rebuffed half-brother James convincingly. After all was said and done, I gave it a 7 and I left the theater wiping away satisfied tears.

We headed back for a bite to eat and watched some curling on the TV over our heads at the diner then went back to Purdy’s to attempt to kill a bottle of Jack Daniels and the five of us competed in round after round of various board games.

There was more to the weekend but it can keep until tomorrow but for now, I’ll send you over for the next chapter of McGinty Chronicles with an updated link button.

One Last Rant For The Week

February 19, 2010

The rumor is true, it’s Friday, and thank God it got here when it did. What a week it’s been, too, from unexpected computer issues, which I’ll get to in a second, to having my head virtually served to me on a cyber platter, which I will opt to not revisit just now. And now, later this afternoon, I have to see NOT my doctor. The last time I had seen my regular doctor, ashamedly almost two years ago, he had given me my Diovan prescription with refills enough to last me through the year until I was to see him again, which was last May. But since I take only half a pill daily, it lasted me well past that. Well, I ignored the reminder card last May and I was in danger of running out of my medication (this past Sunday to be exact) so I made an appointment, but it’s not until May. They approved a small supply to last me until I see this practitioner today so I can get a quick exam and a new prescription to get me through till May. That’ll teach me!

The computer issue is probably a combination of the fact that it dates back to the two tin cans with a string days and that the external UPS battery backup fizzled on me. I was lucky it came back to life earlier in the week, but last night it happened again and I couldn’t bring it back to life, so now the floor of my office is a tangle a 3,000 foot extension cord so the computer can be plugged into another outlet until I get that other one, and it’s own tangle of wires, taken care of.

So, did you hear there was another security breach at Newark Airport. On President’s day a man was flagged for secondary screening when the initial X-ray showed what looked like 3 bottles of wine. Given the restriction of only 3 ounces of any liquid being allowed on the plane, the man was referred to another screening but he walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Security screening was halted for ONE hour while an attempt was made to locate the passenger, who, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis says apparently boarded his plane. That’s real nice!

Here’s an idea, how about an escort for those passengers that need a secondary screening to make sure they get where they’re supposed to go? Or how about keeping an eye on someone standing right in front of your security podium who you might suspect might have something on his mind? Is it that these security officers don’t get paid enough to care? What if it was a member of his or her family whose life was in jeopardy on a flight because someone with a bottle of wine slipped through security or someone just had to give his girlfriend a good-bye kiss? How about a mandatory 3 day sequestering of all passengers at a high security facility inside the airport so they can all go through extensive searches and make sure their noses are blown and their morning rituals are taken care of? And random searching is for the birds because the guy you skip, could be the guy with the bomb.

Okay, I’m done ranting for the week. I wanted to end this week on a positive note and I have just the thing. My friend Jim, a founder of the organization Dare To Care, which you can link to from my blogroll on the right, is also busy publishing a christian themed magazine. It’s not one that crams religion down your throat, but it concentrates on the christian side of a variety of aspects. It’s called InnerVoice and in four short months, it already is slated to go national. I helped him out with a subscription–my check is in this morning’s mail–and if you want to help him out as well, to help him spread his word, his love of humanity, you can click on this InnerVoice link, go to the About Us tab and then to the Contact Us tab and click on the sample subscription form and print it out. To press the issue, it’s someone’s dream (remember yesterday’s blog) that’s coming to fruition, and that’s a good thing!

I have a fun weekend to look forward to. Tomorrow we have a matinee of The Miracle Worker on Broadway to go to. Good that it’s post our weekly weigh-in because we’re going with friends and that can only mean one thing; carousing and debauchery will surely follow the theater!

Have a great weekend!