29 December '03
At about ten-thirty tonight, Beverly Creasey called me from the nursing home; after sliding into Alzheimer's and months in a coma, Beverly's mother had passed into eternal rest. A long and and unhappy trial for both of them is finally over.
Whenever Beverly was to drive me to a show, she had to come from the nursing home where she had fed her mother three times a day --- and often she came with an unexpected bright moment with her, or a memory from farther back. Bev got to know many nurses, attendants, and patients, and liked to arrange performances, or games, for "the inmates" of these often dreary halls. I marvelled repeatedly at her good spirits, at her almost furious attempts to throw herself into "the reality" of theater and her theater-people friends. But the wearing daily tragedy of her mother's last years is finally over. I feel that whatever God there be has finally freed the both of them, and given Beverly back again to all her friends.
God be praised. * * * * * * * On a much lighter note --- try the search-engine of your choice, and type in the word
People who knew and loved The Orange Shows may recognize that barely pronounceable name as an invention of Marty Barrett, sketch-commedian manque. Leaving his roots in Lowell and Boston for a fling at writing plays and probably screenplays in Los Angeles in the bicentennial year, Marty returned along with his old Director David J. Dowling and a new wife (Rebecca Gray) who shared the wide Boston Playwrights' Theatre stage with him for an After-Xmas pair of performances of "What We Know About Singapore". And moments into his first sketch I realized how very much I miss his always unexpected brand of comedy.
I envision him sitting at a key-pad making bulldozers-of-the-mind shove sentences over a cliff, just to find out where they'll land. His style takes reality, toys with it, and then sees how far over the edge he can push it. It's an adventure into the unexpected, where audience members could be seen suddenly exclaiming "Where the hell did That come from?" as the labyrinth of plot took yet another sharp left swerve. And I've learned from talking to him that nearly every outlandish detail of his incessant creations has a germ of actual fact --- like the speck of dust inside every snowflake --- buried somewhere inside it. Deep, DEEP inside it.....
This time out, he admitted, there was more writing and less improvisation in the nine pieces, which probably had some of the rough edges sanded off by an "out-of-town tryout" in California. Director David J. Dowling tends to help Marty discover what can or can't work onstage, and David Coleman (With a new CD of his compositions) added computerized-keyboard mood music (and a hysterical hip-op number all his own), while Jason Freimark did lights, sound, and projected slides and titles.
Rebecca Gray, with bright red lips to go with bright red hair, appeared in almost every sketch, taking in stride such things as the waiter/owner of the Singapore Chinese Restaurant turning out to be Marty in the biggest raffia sombrero you've ever seen, sporting a thick Tex-Mex accent. Her song interludes as an adoring research-assistant journeying along to the center of the Earth in a send-up of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, her indecision over which of half a dozen methods to commit suicide, and her unfazed little-girl lisp when told "Of course you're in school: you're thirty-six! You're a teacher!" --- for all of them, she exhibited the perfect balance of a passenger on a runaway bobsled.
Obviously, I had a ball!
( a k a larry stark )