These Were Two Weeks That Were, 29 September - 10 October '05"

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These Were
Two Weeks
That Were

29 September - 10 October '05

These two weeks were literally night-and-day different from one another.
I mean, I screwed up, somehow, on every show but one for that first week, and then the week that just ended was filled with some of the best theater I've seen anywhere --- with plays so good and so well done I'd like to make my comments in Full Reviews rather than briefer notes here. I have already written reviews for "King Lear" and "Theater District" so far; it's 2:27 p m on Saturday 10 October. So let's see how well I do about the rest of them:

Covered
26 sep SLAMBOSTON Another Country Productions DEVANAUGHN 98
[ 29 sep THE REAL THING Huntington Theatre NOT ATTENDED ]
=====OCT=====
1 oct [ Rising Star Quilters 18th annual quilt show & sale ]
1 oct KING LEAR Actors' Shakespeare Project B.U. FINE ARTS DEPT. 99
6 oct THEATER DISTRICT SpeakEasy Stage BCA 100
7 oct ACTS OF FUTILITY Molasses Tank Prod. CHARLESTOWN WORKING 101
8 oct WIT Arlington Friends of The Drama 102
9 oct PULP Boston Theater Works BCA 103
9 oct [ GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK the movie, @ the H.S.T. ]

26 sep SLAMBOSTON Another Country Productions DEVANAUGHN 98
I've talked about the SlamBostonS before. I guess the form is borrowed from POETRY Slams --- a crew of half a dozen "judges" get elected, and they give an often decimalized rating of 1 -to- 10 for each of the six or so plays written, acted, and directed usually by different people. Penalties of some sort are invoked when the performance goes over a dozen minutes. The audience is encouraged to cheer or boo every judge's vote.
Here I'd like to boo the judges themselves at this Slam.
They were asked to make their judgements half on text, half on performance, and the highest- and lowest-score on every play was eliminated, the scores added together, and one of their number called a winner.
In both criteria, I saw some excellent and some execrable work --- but which was judged Bests and which Worsts by the judges in no way resembled my own judgement. And I think the judges' habit of voting everything a score of "9.-Something" ruined any possible pretense at objectivity validating the final winner. When even I could see that some actors were merely walking-through the words yet the production got consistent 9's from nearly everyone, I began to believe the fix was in. And while it's true that I quarrel with critics all the time, the audience joined my own booing of the judgements most of the time.
This is an exciting theatrical event that should be encouraged --- but who's judging the judges? Besides me.......

[ 29 sep THE REAL THING Huntington Theatre NOT ATTENDED ]
I arrived promptly at 8 p m --- to find that the show began half an hour earlier. And since I'd seen the show before, and realized that seeing the first two scenes and how they dovetailed was crucial to any criticism, I punted. And I'd have tried to re-schedule, except that this was the last week of performance and the dance-card was filling, fast, with thinks I'm frankly glad I didn't miss.
1 oct KING LEAR Actors' Shakespeare Project B.U. FINE ARTS DEPT. 99
I hate to be late for a show, since I know how I myself feel when my attention is dragged from the stage to watch someone crawl into a center seat over everyone's knees and feet while the actors try hardhardhard not to lose concentration or break mood.
And so I'm still flagellating my soul for scampering to a front-row stage-left seat after missing the entire first scene of "King Lear"!
1 oct [ Rising Star Quilters 18th annual quilt show & sale ]
This wasn't The Reason I was late for "Lear"; I was late for THAT too!
I missed a bus, took a Wrong bus, used scant and then incorrect information to find/walk to Belmont High School, had a Delightful time with a friend and quilting-artist who bought me a delicious Indian dinner, and then --- confident that a neighbor was Driving to the theatre I whisked on home to find that he had Already Left and I was at the mercy of the MBTA.
I know Ben Evett noticed me skulk in during his first major soliloquy (He told me he did!), and all I can do in expiation is to see the show --- Promptly At Seven-Thirty This Time --- this next Thursday, with two friends in tow --- one of them at least buying a ticket.
It's not a show I want to miss a syllable of .....

3:21 a m, "Wednesday 13 October" (It's not "tomorrow" till You Wake Up In It, remember?):
I did it!
There are now Full Reviews of the following:
7 oct ACTS OF FUTILITY Molasses Tank Prod. CHARLESTOWN WORKING 101
8 oct WIT Arlington Friends of The Drama 102
9 oct PULP Boston Theater Works BCA 103
And only one more Major Event of the week remains:

9 oct [ GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK the movie, @ the H.S.T. ]
I am so very glad Lee took me to see this film --- a re-living for me of the days when television news had backbone and there was still something to be proud of about being an American.
Edward R. Murrow was still doing a fifteen-minute news program on CBS RADIO in 1952 when CBS Television covered the Republican National Convention at which Earl Warren, Governor of California, freed his delegates to ensure Dwight D. Eisenhower the nomination for president. Most days, on an aunt's t-v, I watched that drama --- and Murrow watched it too. In Fact, every now and then the cameras cut away for a shot of Murrow in a distant hotel-room sitting before a t-v with that same Earl Warren sitting at his side, commenting on the festivities.
But right after that convention, on his Radio news broadcast, Murrow aired a taped news story. It was a CBS reporter saying he had gone to do a story about the people who printed the signs that hundreds of delegates held when marching up and down the aisles of the convention hall in support of their chosen candidates. The reporter revealed that they had printed hundreds of sign saying EISENHOWER FOR PRESIDENT but then had pasted over them signs saying WARREN FOR PRESIDENT that could be ripped off in seconds at the right time.
Ed Murrow probably knew all through the "drama" that the man sitting beside him had "thrown the fight" even before it began --- in exchange for a seat on the Supreme Court.
But CBS didn't need to win any ratings-wars by revealing the scoop.
Why would they need a scoop, when CBS had Murrow?

The critics I had already heard were right, the Cadences and Pauses of Murrow's speeches are perfectly echoed in this film, and the close-ups framing his face are dead-on recreations of the compositions I saw on the small screen when Murrow and Fred Friedly and then the Junior Senator from Wisconsin himself shattered that demagog's shameful career.
Those were my real growing-up days, and I'm grateful to everyone connected with the film, and to Lee, for that fresh breath of youth.

Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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