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Glenn's Report for September 2014

October 1, 2014

Report for The Month of September 2014

©GLENN LONEY 2014

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

The UN-General-Assembly once again managed to Tie-Up-Traffic from Fifth-Avenue-Eastward in Mid-Town.

Various World-Leaders lectured Area-Trouble-Makers on Statecraft & International-Responsibility.

Some "Emerging-Nations” began to look like Regional-Retards.

Other "Developing-Nations” were already Failed-States…

Meanwhile, On & Off-Broadway, The Theatre-Season—which had really never stopped for Summer—continued, with Phantom-of-the-Opera now among the Long-Term-Undead.

Joan Rivers went to her Last-Reward: a Booking in Bayside, Queens.

PASSING-GLANCES AT SHOW SCENES-SEEN:

What’s really Wonderful about Theatre in Manhattan—even Over-in-Brooklyn—is how Good the Actors are.

Even when they are appearing in a Hopeless-Dramatic-Fiction or in a Dreadful-Setting—Not designed by John Lee Beatty—they frequently Triumph over their Materials & Stage-Environments.

Playwriting you can Teach, but that doesn’t Guarantee-Good-Outcomes.

Acting you can also Teach, but Acting-Students need That-Certain-Something if they are going to Astonish-Audiences.

As for Stage-Directors, well…

Todd Almond, Lear DeBessonet, & Bill Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE [*****]

Late-Summer-Magic Up in Central-Park: Two-Hundred-Talents from All-Five-Boroughs!

The Summer-Night was smiling on the Capacity-Crowd in the Public-Theatre’s Delacorte-Arena, as a Snow-White-Ballet brought Drifts of Musical-Snow on stage.

Oskar Eustis—Master of All-Arts down at the Public-Theatre at Astor-Place—made the Point that the Delacorte belongs to All-of-Us here in the Big-City, so why shouldn’t some of us also be Up-on-Stage?

There were only Six-Professional-Actors in this Colorful-Spectacle, but it was soon clear that you do not have to have an Equity-Card to Give-Good-Show.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio doesn’t have an Equity-Card, but he was Very-Convincing on stage as Mayor of All-Five-Boroughs.

But the Plenitude-of-Plaudits must go to Todd Almond & Lear DeBessonet, who last Summer launched this Late-Summer People’s-Shakespeare-Festival.

They made something New & Wonderful out of The Tempest: a Musical-Adventure worthy of Broadway.

Winter’s Tale is even more Stage-Worthy & deserves many more productions around the Nation, even around the World.

Chris Marlowe, Bill Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, Sir Francis Bacon, or Whoever really drafted Winter’s Tale would be a bit surprised to discover that it didn’t need Five-Acts to Tell-the-Tale.

The Fantastic-Fable of the Innocent-Babe who was abandoned on the Seacoast-of-Bohemia—never near an Ocean, even in Antiquity—was wonderfully brought to Life in only Ninety-Minutes.

Not only was Todd Almond the Composer & Lyricist of this Winter’s Tale, but he was also its Star-Performer & Master-of-Ceremonies as Antigonus.

The Also-Remarkable Lear DeBessonet didn’t appear on stage, but she was ingenious in marshalling a Force of Two-Hundred-Talents on the Delacorte’s Modest-Stage.

Among the Talented: the Shinbone-Alley Stilt-Band, Big-Bird & other Sesame-Street-Regulars, Dancing, Prancing Chinese-Lions from Staten-Island, Rosie’s Theatre-Kids, the New York Theatre-Ballet, & Urban Park Rangers from NYC-Parks!

Yes, yes, English-Professors, Shakespeare did write some Great-Verses. Todd Almond has set some of them to Powerful-Music.

But he has also smoothly Almondized some of the Speeches & Elided some of the Text, so that the we can Go-with-the-Flow without an Intermission.

Perdita, the Lost-Babe, was charmingly portrayed by Idania Quesada; her Maligned-Mother, Hermione, by Lindsay Mendez; the Tart-Tongued Paulina, by Lori Brown-Niang.

The Brotherly-Kings, Polixenes & Leontes, were Right-Regal in the Impersonations of Michael Roberts & Isaiah Johnson.

But the Rascally-Thief & Multiple-Impersonator, Autolycus, was the Shape-Changing Christopher Fitzgerald, effectively Master-of-Ceremonies in Bohemia.

This is a Plum-Role for Aspiring-Stars. Jim Dale, in fact, first came to Major-Critical-Attention when he played, sang, & danced Autolycus on an Ice-Skating-Rink at the Edinburgh-Festival Many-Moons ago.

The Real-Tragedy of this Musical-Comedy was that there were Only-Three-Performances…

Both of Todd Almond’s Mini-Shakespeare-Festivals—The Tempest & Winter’s Tale—are so Effective & Totally-Delightful, that they need to be seen by a Much-Wider-Audience, even without Two-Hundred-Performers.

"Wider-Audience” is in No-Sense meant to imply an Overabundance-of-Obesity in American-Spectators, however!

George Kelly’s FATAL WEAKNESS [*****]

Checking-Up on a Cheating-Husband: Getting Him with The Goods! Divorce in the Wings…

Kristin Griffith is Dramatic & Desperate—even if she seems to live in her Dressing-Gown, as Mrs. Ollie Espenshade—because she has Reason-to-Believe that her Golf-Playing-Husband is not always on-the-Links when he says he is…

Cliff Bemis, as Husband-Paul, is a very Jolly-Fellow, for he has fallen in love with a Female-Osteopath, whom the Audience never gets to see in this remarkable Mint-Revival of George Kelly’s Social-Satire.

"Till Death Do Us Part” isn’t Operative in Fatal Weakness.

Indeed, Kelly & Paul suggest that Twenty-Years is about the Limit for Wedded-Bliss.

Nonetheless, Ollie is an Incurable-Romantic about Weddings & Marriage.

She even rushes off to a Wedding of a Young-Couple she really doesn’t know, returning home with the Bride-&-Groom-Figures from the Wedding-Cake.

But Ollie’s not alone in Marriage-Problems: her Headstrong-Daughter, Penny [Victoria Mack], is making Life-a-Hell for her Preppy-Hubby [Sean Patrick Hopkins].

Ollie is fortunate to have a Marital-Counterspy in Mabel Wentz [Cynthia Darlow], who keeps an Eye on the Osteopath & Paul’s Comings-&-Goings.

Fortunately, the Espenshades are not Working-Class, otherwise the Audience wouldn’t have the Glittering-Experience of a stunning Art-Deco-Set papered in Silver!

Looming Award-Nominations for Set-Designer Vicki R. Davis, as well as Couture-Creator Andrea Varga!

As Anna, the Long-Suffering-Maid, Patricia Kilgarriff gets to tell a Lot-of-Social-Lies & place Magnificent-Floral-Arrangements around the Splendid-Salon.

Jesse Marchese has ingeniously staged this Splendid-Cast, especially the Over-Dramatic Ollie.

The Mint-Program is also a Keeper, especially for Dr. Maya Cantu’s Kelly-Biography.

Who knew that George Kelly was Gay, or that he presented his Lover to his Family as his Valet or Private-Secretary?

These Days, Who Cares?

Chiori Miyagawa’s THIS LINGERING LIFE [*****]

Scrambled NOH-Dramas Turn Out To Be a Powerful-Play: Lay Ghosts To Rest At Last…

Not only has Chiori Miyagawa crafted an Ingenious-Intermingling of Ancient Japanese Noh-Drama-Themes, but she has also been rewarded with a remarkable Cast of Shape-Shifting-Performers.

Actually, her Close-Collaboration with Stage-Director Cat Miller has brought Medieval-Ghosts—as well as Demons, & Angels—back to a kind of Half-Life, in which Lives of the Past are interwoven with Lives in the Present.

Meg MacCary is a Frenzied-Narrator as the Woman-with-Tragic-Hair, because she wants to help a Warrior-Ghost find Peace-at-Last, as well as to assist in the Resolution of Other-Noh-Tales, including a Japanese Romeo-&-Juliet Tragedy, conceived long before Shakespeare.

The tiny Stage-Space at HERE is crammed with Karma, but the Production is not with burdened with Medieval-Stage-Traditions. Pivoting-Panels are all that are needed for Changes-of-Century & Asian or American-Places.

Meg is having Bad-Hair-Days over the Centuries, but at least she doesn’t have to Change-Costumes, as do Ron Cohen, Amir Darvish, Francesca Day, Luke Forbes, William Franke, Vanessa Kai, Marta Kuersten, Stephanie Weeks, & Enormvs Muñoz, all impersonating a Variety of Noh-Types.

Yes, the Program lists Señor Muñoz as Enormvs, but it doesn’t sound or look like a Stage-Name to conjure with…

This Lingering Life was premiered in San Francisco, in a Quite-Different-Production.

Nonetheless, the Simplicity of the Current-Staging is a Visual-Virtue & it should be more Widely-Seen beyond the Brief-Encounter at HERE.

I stand in Great-Admiration of Chiori Miyagawa: Not only because she was a Student-of-Mine Many-Moons-Ago, but also because she is such an Adventurous-Playwright!

Chiori is a Multi-Award-Winner, with Prestigious-Residencies & a Faculty-Slot at Bard-College!

Bravo, Chiori! But hardly Sayonara

Peter Brook & Marie-Hélène Estienne’s THE VALLEY OF ASTONISHMENT [****]

Smell-Red, Taste-Seven, See-Sounds, & Hear-Sour: Sufis, Synaesthesia, Storms, & Brain-Waves…

Ever heard of the Memory-Theatre of Matteo Ricci?

He imagined a Baroque-Theatre-Stage & Auditorium, into which he could Store things he needed to Remember: This Fact up in that Stage-Box; That Famous-Face over there in the Stage-Left-Wings.

In Peter Brook’s new Stage-Exploration of the Mysteries of the Human-Brain, Kathryn Hunter plays a Remarkable-Woman who can Remember-&-Repeat Long-Random-Strings of Numbers or Words.

She consults with Brain-Researchers, but she Loses-Her-Job because Her-Brain-Powers are intimidating to her Former-Boss.

So she Goes-on-Stage to Perform-Memory-Feats. Not quite the Amazing-Kreskin, but you get the Idea…

What is Really-Odd about her Memory-Process is that she Identifies Words & Numbers with Colors, Sounds, Odors, Objects, & even Tastes.

This is known as Synaesthesia: the Confusion of the Five-Senses.

Anyway, as this is a Peter-Brook-Production, its Empty-Space-Simplicity echoes his earlier "Carpet-Plays,” such as those he once brought to BAM from his Bouffes-du-Nord in Paris.

Among the Theatrical-Elements are Musicians & a Card-Sharp-Genius, but Brook also Back-References to Oliver Sacks & The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, as well as to that Ancient-Sufi-Mystic-Text, The Conference of the Birds.

Thirty-Birds are in Quest of the Simurge: they have to cross Seven-Valleys to complete Their-Journey, which may be somehow related to Brain-Scientists exploring the Valleys of the Human-Brain.

Fascinating & Very-Peter-Brookian!

Years & Years Ago, I had to go to Paris to get Peter’s Approval of the Production-Book I had crafted, based on his Royal-Shakespeare-Production of Midsummer Night’s Dream—which was also shown at BAM.

He & His-International-Ensemble were rehearsing in the Former-Factory of the Gobelins-Tapestries.

Guess What! The New-Show was called The Conference of the Birds.

Peter took Time-Out to Bless-Our-Book, but he was anxious to ready His-Birds for performances in the United-States for Sioux-Indians & Cesar Chavez’ Lettuce-Workers in the Salinas-Valley.

His Designer, Sally Jacobs, signed-off on my Descriptions of her Dream-Costumes. Then she showed me her Elemental-Designs for The Conference of the Birds.

After which, Sally took me to a Parisian-Brasserie-Lunch with the English-Translator of The Conference of the Birds.

Some Seasons later, Peter staged an Epic-Production of the Asian-Epic, The Mahabharata, which lasted Eight-Hours. This was also brought to BAM.

Distinguished-Professor Marvin Carlson—Chairman of Theatre-PhD-Program at the CUNY-Grad-Center—asked me to devise a Semester-Long-Seminar devoted to that Amazing-Adventure.

Not only did Cast-Members come over to the Grad-Center to share with us, but they even showed us how to do some of the Exercises that kept them Fit & Fighting.

As the Semester progressed, I expanded the Scope to Survey Peter’s Entire-Career—including a Program of his Films!

The Course concluded with the Physical-Appearance of Peter Brook!

So many CUNY-Students & Outsiders showed-up that we had to move from a Classroom to an Auditorium.

As I had already Interviewed him a Number-of-Times, Peter suggested that I interview him for Our-Audience, so he wouldn’t have to Make-a-Speech…

My Record of that Semester became a Book: PETER BROOK: From Oxford to Orghast.

Kathryn Hunter has an Amazing-Stage-Bio, including her recent Puck in Julie Taymor’s Midsummer Night’s Dream which inaugurated the Theatre-for-a New-Audience’s Polonsky-Shakespeare-Center, across the Avenue from BAM.

Can this be the same Kathryn Hunter whom I first saw—Many-Moons-Ago— down at the McCarter-Theatre, in Princeton, where the new Artistic-Director Arthur Lithgow had sent a Scout to London to hunt for Young-Actors at RADA & the Central-School-of-Speech-&-Drama?

In the Event, he returned not only with Kathryn Hunter, but also a Brit-Trained-Young-Actor named John Lithgow!

A. R. Gurney’s THE WAYSIDE MOTOR-INN [*****]

Talk About Over-Booking! Five Twosomes in the Same Twin-Bedded Overnighter…

Using the Same-Setting simultaneously for what are essentially Five-One-Act-Plays is an ingenious Playwriting-Stunt that "Pete” Gurney has deployed before, notably in The Dining-Room.

We are looking at a fairly spacious Motel-Room in what could be a Treadway-Inn outside of Boston, in the late 1970s. The Initial-Entrant is a Gent who is drinking too much, but who flirts with the Room-Service-Waitress, whom he discovers he has Met-Before!

Then there’s the Pile-Driving-Divorced-Dad, determined to get his Alienated-Kid into Harvard, ripping his Shirt & mending it…

Young-Lovers appear, planning a Pre-Nuptial-Trial of Bedability…

An Older-Couple arrives: she’s eager to see her Baby-Grandchild; he’s having a Heart-Attack.

An Angrily-Divorced Former-Couple spar over Family-Photo-Albums. He rips out Pages & Pages, but, amid the Ruins, they seem to Rekindle.

Among the Admirable-Actors are Jon DeVries, Kelly AuCoin, Marc Kudish, Will Pullen, & Lizbeth Mackay.

This challenging exercise in Traffic-Management was staged by Lila Neugebauer.

With Twin-Beds, TV-Alcove, & Many-Towelled-Bath designed by Andrew Lieberman.

A. R. Gurney’s LOVE-LETTERS [***]

Two Gurneys in the Same Day! Only One-Couple on a Bare-Stage Later in the Day…

John Lee Beatty, famed for Over-Decorated-Settings, is credited for the Bare-Stage—plus Rehearsal-Light—that showcases Mia Farrow & Brian Dennehy at a Proscenium-Edge-Table, reading the imagined Love-Letters of Melissa Gardner & Andrew Makepeace Ladd III.

Something must have happened on the Way to the Printer, for the Turn-Off-Your-Cellphone-Insert lists Carol Burnett as Dennehy’s Partner in this Opening-Salvo of Pairs of Famous-Actors reading these Uninspired-Lines, which, nonetheless, do disclose the Characters of these Old-Friends who may have married the Wrong-Partners…

Later Pairings—also to be staged by Greg Mosher—are to include Alan Alda & Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach & Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston & Martin Sheen, plus "Many More Brilliant Casts To Be Announced.”

That Last Promise may not come to Fulfillment, if the Word-Gets-Out that these Postal-Exchanges are not all that fascinating.

But wouldn’t it be a Crowd-Pleaser & a Seat-Filler to have Angelica Jolie & Brad Pitt take a Gurney-Turn?

Robert O’Hara’s BOOTY-CANDY [*****]

Outrageous! Possibly Even Offensive! Put Your Dick Out on the Table? You Must Be Joking…

Were this a Coming-Attraction at your Neighborhood-Movie-House, not only would Parental-Guidance be advised, but also Warnings about Strong-Language, Obscenity, Sexual-Situations, Cross-Dressing, & Colorful-Tastelessness.

Robert O’Hara is both African-American & Gay-American: He Lets It All Hang-Out in Booty-Candy.

The Title refers to the Penis-of-Sutter [Phillip James Brannon], as explained to him by his Ditzy-Mother, played by Jessica Francis Dukes, one of several Roles into which she Morphs.

Using a Revolve for various Insane-Scenes, Writer/Director O’Hara deftly engineers some Unlikely-Acts, including Two-Gossipy-Ladies on the Phone, seen in Profile, so that when they turn the Other-Cheek—so to speak—they are in entirely Different-Drag…

Lance Coadie Williams is insanely-amusing as an Out-of-Control Black-Preacher: like Al Sharpton in Pulpit-Drag…

Imagine naming Girl-Babies Genitalia & Intifada!

Benja Kay Thomas inhabits the Role of Genitalia.

Jessie Pennington is the Only-White-Boy in the Show; It is He who is obliged to Put His Dick Out for Show.

As a Drunken-Straight, coming-on to Two-Black-Boys, he has a Bad-Ending.

Booty-Candy is in hilariously Bad-Taste.

Some White-Folks, sitting in front—Playwrights-Horizons Senior-Subscribers, no doubt—got up & left the theatre.

Clint Ramos must get Award-Nominations for both the Sets & the Costumes.

Neil LaBute’s MONEY-SHOT [*****]

Can Hollywood-Careers Be Saved By Fucking-Live-on-Camera? How about Animation Instead?

What Remarkable-Scheduling: Booty-Candy immediately followed by Money-Shot!

Were this a Coming-Attraction at your Neighborhood-Movie-House, not only would Parental-Guidance be advised, but also Warnings about Strong-Language, Gender-Insensitivity, Lesbianism, Homophobia, Hysteria, Sexism, Obscenity, Sexual-Situations, & Flamboyant-Tastelessness.

Fortunately, No Ethnic-Groups are involved, so Neil LaBute gets a Pass on Racial-Issues.

Nonetheless, his Vision of Fading-Hollywood-Stars—high up in the Hollywood-Hills above Malibu—doesn’t make me want to buy an Airfare to LAX to revisit my Old-Friends, also high up in the Hills above Malibu.

My Friends, however, were Screen-Writers, not Sexual-Symbols of the Silver-Screen. Jerry Herman lived just across the Summit-Road…

Anyway, He & She are going to go On-Camera & Do-It for the Money-Shot.

Anything to Stay-on-Screen. Anything not to Fade-to-Black…

She is "married” to a Butch-Film-Editor.

He is married to a Bubble-Headed Blonde-Ditz.

Considering What-Will-Work-Best in the proposed Sex-Scene, Blow-Jobs, Anal-Penetration & Labial-Adoration, as well as Other-Fun-in-Bed are avidly discussed.

The Film-Editor pins the Foul-Mouthed-Macho-Man to the Mat, winning a Sexual-Wager.

Fred Weller, Callie Thorne, Elizabeth Reaser, & Gia Crovatin didn’t seem the Least-Bit-Embarrassed playing Neil LaBute’s Hollywood-Games.

At least, they weren’t Bare-Assed…

Terry Kinney staged in Derek McLane’s Modernist-Setting, which looked like a Suite at the Hilton-Inn.

Lee Blessing’s A WALK IN THE WOODS [*****]

Gender-Change Makes All the Difference in US-Soviet Diplomatic-Negotiations…

The last time I saw Lee Blessing’s Walk in the Woods was not in Manhattan, but in Vilnius, in Soviet-Occupied-Lithuania.

Broadway-Producer & Ex-Actress Lucille Lortel had brought her Show to Moscow, Leningrad, & for some Odd-Reason, "Vilna.”

Robert Prosky was playing the Seasoned-Soviet-Diplomat who leaves the Geneva-Conference-Table to become Better-Acquainted with his Young American-Counterpart, embodied in Sam Waterston.

Director Lloyd Richards was also On-Board.

Now, years & years later, Lee has apparently Recycled the Original-Confrontation of East & West.

But this time, Prosky has been replaced by the Totally-Admirable Kathleen Chalfant.

Considering the Current-Confrontations with Post-Soviet-Moscow, Walk in the Woods seems even more Contemporary than it did Way-Back-When.

The Soviets have sent Irina Botvinnik to keep Nuclear-Reduction-Negotiations in an On-Going Stand-Still.

The White-House has delegated John Honeyman—the Buttoned-Down & Buttoned-Up Paul Niebanck—to be Our-Point-Man, to make sure that We-Look-Good, while the Soviets-Do-Not.

Irina proposes a Woody-Walk, wanting to get to know Honeyman as a Person. Perhaps, to Make-Friends?

Alert, Formal, & Wary, he is not about to be Charmed or Conned.

At the Close, their Last-Walk in the Woods, Irina is saying Goodbye.

She’s Had-Enough, for she knows that such Treaty-Negotiations on Arms-Reductions will go on & on & on…

Even if an Agreement is Signed regarding Limitations on Current Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction—as Irina points-out to Paul—both Signatories will soon develop Newer, Deadlier Devices.

This certainly seems to be True, with the Soviets now replaced by a New Would-Be Russian-Tsar—or Neo-Commie-Commissar.

So Lee Blessing’s Soviet-Era Morality-Play Lives-Again! Largely Thanks to Kathleen Chalfant…

Irina would not have been a Good-Final-Role for Joan Rivers certainly.

Now it’s time for Lee to tell us How-To-Negotiate with ISIS—who do not seem remotely-interested in Diplomacy, either in Geneva or Basra.

The Estimable Jonathan Silverstein—Artistic-Director of the keen Keen-Company—staged with Nuance-&-Restraint.

David Holthouse & Markus Potter’s STALKING THE BOGEYMAN [*****]

This Is a True-Story: Holthouse Was Raped as a Small Boy & Planned To Kill "The Bogeyman”…

David Holthouse was Brutally-Raped when he was only Seven-Years-Old, by the Teen-Age-Son of New-Neighbors.

The Scars of this Attack—not only on His-Body, but also on His-Psyche—made him resolve to Avenge-Himself, but with the Justification that he would prevent "The-Bogeyman” from Raping other Little-Kids.

So his Planning & Stalking begin, but, in the meantime, he also becomes a Gonzo-Journalist.

Director Markus Potter discovered this Sordid-Story on a Pod-Cast that Holthouse had made.

Now, as brilliantly recreated by Potter & Roderick Hill—as Holthouse—with an Astonishing-Cast, Stalking The Bogeyman has become one of the Most-Powerful of Off-Broadway-Productions.

We see Holthouse get a Gun & fix it so it cannot be Traced, but when the Long-Delayed Final-Confrontation comes, he Shoots The-Bogeyman in the Groin, then in the Heart only in his Imagination.

Instead, there is a Strange-Moment-of-Healing…

Eric Heger is athletically-amazing as the Egotistical-Jock who cannot Control-Himself, but who, later, becomes a Father himself. Are His Kids at-Risk?

Two-Sets of Baffled-Parents—who play other roles as well—are the admirable Roxanne Hart, Kate Levy, Murphy Guyer, & John Herrera.

One aspect of Cory Patack’s ingenious Stage-Lighting may not have been noticed by many, so gripping was the Stage-Action.

The Fantastically-Complicated-Setting of David Goldstein has Many, Many Compartments.

Some contain Clocks. Some, Trophies & Sports-Gear, Others contain Maps. Still Others contain Lamps & Lights.

Suddenly, all the Lights would Light-Up. Or all the Clocks would suddenly shine.

Or the Maps would glow for a moment…

Symbolism or Distraction?

Emily Mann & Ivo Van Hove’s Tripling of Ingmar Bergman’s SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE [***]

Bergman’s Film Becomes Play-Strindberg! Cast Needs Both Judge-Judy & Dr. Phil…

Emily Mann—who runs the McCarter-Theatre down in Princeton—has made an English-Version of Ingmar Bergman’s Film-Script.

That Mad-Dutch-Director, Ivo Van Hove, has raised it to the Third-Power, offering not just One-Johan & One-Marianne, but a Triple-Threat!

Working with Production-Designer Jan Versweyveld, Van Hove conceived the Division of the New-York-Theatre-Workshop’s Performance-Space into Three-Separate-Viewing-Rooms.

Wearing Yellow-Armbands—to distinguish us from Two-Other-Viewing-Groups—we were herded into a Side-Entrance to what used to be The-Truck-&-Warehouse-Theatre.

Sitting in a kind of Pie-Wedge-Space, we witnessed the Initial-Problems leading to the Break-Up of the Swedish-Marriage of Johan & Marianne.

Johan has fallen in love with Another-Woman…

He can Walk-Away from Her, but what can She do, Effectively-Abandoned?

Behind Our-Set-of-Actors, we could see through Windows that looked-across a Central-Control-Room into the Windows of the Other-Two-Stage-Spaces.

Were Those-Audiences seeing Better-Scenes?

Not necessarily: we were all witnessing the Same-Scene, performed by Three-Sets-of-Actors.

When Our-Scene was Over, we were herded into a Second-Stage-Space.

When that Second-Scene was Over, we were escorted into a Third-Stage-Space.

After a Thirty-Minute-Intermission, we all entered together.

The Tri-Partite-Divisions had been Raised!

All-Together in One-Room, we watched as Three-Johans & Three-Mariannes dissolved Their-Marriage.

Then we Left-the-Theatre…

Susannah Flood was Marianne 1.

Roslyn Ruff was Marianne 2.

Tina Benko was Marianne 3.

Having become Summer-Friends with Ingo Bergman many Summers-Ago, I think he would have been appalled by this Stunt-Production.

Owen Davis’ ICEBOUND [*****]

No, This Isn’t About a Sailing-Ship in the Arctic: We’re in Maine, Where Hearts Are Icebound…

The Year is 1922. The Place is the Jordan-Homestead, way up in Veazie, Maine.

Old-Mother-Jordan is Dying.

So her Son & Daughters & Collateral-Relatives have gathered—like Hungry-Vultures—waiting for Death & the Sudden-Wealth that the Reading-of-the-Will is sure to bring.

They are Petty, Selfish, Vicious, Spiteful, Envious, Stupid, Calculating, with Hearts of either Stone or Ice.

But, Guess-What?

Playwright Owen Davis has Fooled-Them-All!

He has caused Jane Crosby [Olivia Killingsworth], who has been caring for the Unseen-but-Uncaring Mother-Jordan, to send for Ben Jordan [Quinlan Corbett], the Black-Sheep, whom the Materfamilias really Loved.

Possibly, Ben was the Only-One she ever Loved…

When Bad-Boy-Ben arrives, he Discovers—just as Surprised as All-the-Others—that Plain-Jane has been left Everything!

Well, this being a Well-Made-Play, you can probably Guess-How-Things-Work-Out…

The Altogether-Remarkable Alex Roe—who continues to Amaze with his American-Drama-Revivals at the Metropolitan-Playhouse—has staged an Also-Remarkable-Cast for this Window-into-the-American-Past.

Almost Everyone on the Metropolitan’s Tiny-Stage could or should be in Major-Broadway-Shows!

Some time ago, Alex Roe staged Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, an Unknown, Forgotten, Failed, Never-Published, Never-Copyrighted Wharton-Script.

In the Process-of-Researching Dramatizations of American-Popular Novels for my PhD-Dissertation—Stanford, 1954—I had discovered the Detroit & the New-York-Scripts for The House of Mirth.

These I conflated into The Play of The House of Mirth, published by Fairleigh-Dickinson-University-Press.

Some years back, Jonathan Bank found a Copy & staged The House of Mirth at the Mint-Theatre.

Then Alex discovered "My-Play-Discovery,” giving it an Impressive-Revival, with an Outstanding-Cast, just as he has now done with Icebound.

Owen Davis was hardly the Only-Author interested in Icebound-Hearts.

So was Edith Wharton.

Her New-England-Novel of Ethan Frome was a small-scale Icebound.

But she never tried to turn it into a Play, as she had done with The House of Mirth.

No. That remained for Owen & Donald Davis to do.

Perhaps Alex Roe can now give us Another-Wharton & Another-Davis in the Same-Package…

Donald Margulies’ THE COUNTRY-HOUSE [****]

Not A Month in the Country, But More Like The Seagull: Actors Act Like Actors & Then Some…

It’s-Like-This: Blythe Danner is this Famous-Broadway-Actress, a bit Past-Her-Prime, but still Longing-for-the-Limelight.

She has Two-Sons: One [David Rasche] is doing OK as an Actor.

The Other [Eric Lange] is an Abject-Failure.

Unfortunately, he is not as Interesting as is Konstantin in Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Like Konstantin, however, he does Write-a-Play.

But it’s not the Drama-of-the-Future.

Instead, it’s full of Self-Pity, even Self-Hatred.

Imagine his Anguish when his Successful-Brother turns-up with his Ex-Wife!

Added to the Country-Mix & Mix-Ups is Michal Astor [Daniel Sunjata], a Very-Successful-Actor, beloved of Many-Fans & apparently Irresistible to All-the-Women in the Country-House, designed by John Lee Beatty.

Daniel Sullivan directed this Capable-Cast.

Although the Action is spread over only a Few-Days, it seemed like A Month in the Country after all.

This Handsome-Production was brought to Broadway by the Geffen-Playhouse, which had a Midtown-Reception to celebrate not only The Country-House coming to Town, but also Three-Other-Geffen-Manhattan-Transplants: The Jacksonian, Nothing To Hide, & The Pianist of Willesden-Lane.

Kenneth Lonergan’s THIS IS OUR YOUTH [***]

It’s March, 1982, on the Upper-West-Side, & The Kids Are Into Drugs, Sex, & Stupidity…

Behind the Modest-Studio-Apartment of Dennis Ziegler looms an Immense-Wall of filled with Apartment-House-Windows.

On Initially-Beholding this Windowed-Façade, One wonders how this will be used in the On-Stage-Action?

Will Fire break-out in a Fifth-Floor-Walk-Up?

Will a Terminal-Cancer-Victim jump to her Death on top of Dennis’-Dwelling?

Will we see a Wild-Party over in the Windows of 6-A?

None of These…

For some Odd-Reason, the Powers-That-Be decided to have Designer Todd Rosenthal provide some Additional-Production-Values to what could easily have been a Modest-Steppenwolf-Staging from The-Windy-City.

Simplicity used to be a Steppenwolf-Trademark…

Movie-Actor Michael Cera is very convincing as a Dumbo-Post-Teen, with Kieran Culkin as the Foul-Mouthed & Coke-Fed Dennis.

Vanity-Fair even had Annie Leibowitz photograph Tavi Gevinson—who plays Cera’s Love-Interest—to accompany an Admiring-Puff from Playwright Lonergan!

All-Systems-Go!

I must have seen this Script—once-upon-a-time—Alive & On-Stage, but I did not remember it.

Possibly because So-Little-Really-Happens, despite a Lot of Verbal-Chomping & Physical-Stomping.

Steppenwolf’s Anna D. Shapiro staged.

This Is Our Youth is at the Cort-Theatre, one of those Shubert-Houses on the "Wrong-Side-of-Broadway.”

These include David Belasco’s Belasco & Daniel Frohman’s Lyceum…

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