Cricket's Notebook by Larry Stark

THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide




entire contents copyright 1997 by Larry Stark

Wednesday, 5 February, '97

How I spent my winter vacation, and other unfinished business---

Stephen went off for a long-delayed and much-needed week's vacation in Palm Springs Sunday a week, and I sat with his ferret. And since he has cable and we are of the opinion that if his vcr is not run at least one hour every day it rusts, I saw some 23 movies last week --- few of them all the way through. {Serious note: I am NOT quoting from my story THE CHATCHKIE THAT ATE CHICAGO, which you can read by clicking on "Stories by Anon." And exploring. Actually, my stories are actually quotations from my life, as the only one of you who has commented at all on my stories once remarked. But all that is, obviusly, parenthetical.} I saw most of "The Flight of The Memphis Belle" and "The Gingerbread Lady" and Lon Chaney's 1925 "Phantom of The Opera" and "Greenwich Village Here I Come" and "The Lost World" with Wallace Beery and Bessie Love, and that biographical movie about Dorothy Parker and Douglas Fairbanks SENIOR's "The Gaucho" and a delightful movie in which Danny DeVito played an English teacher trying to teach Hamlet to half a dozen losers who were going through basic training for the Army at trhe same time which I Wish they had told me the name of, and all of "Pennies from Heaven" and "New Faces of 1952" and Nazimova's "Salome" and "Striptease" and Buster Keaton's "The Three Ages" and the Packers shellacking the Patriots --- during which I had a beer.

I started at the Sunday matinee final performance of Christopher Plummer in "Barrymore" --- which means I saw the first and last performances of it here in Boston --- and followed that with as much as I could swallow of that same Jack Barrymore in a silent film called "Beau Brummell". And I wanted to write a whole Notebook about those three experiences, recollected in tranquility, but the 22 Other experiences that came after thoroughly jogged my recollections.

I begged a free ticket to "Sylvia" out at The New Rep the week before, and fully intended to write a "Minority Report" review, but haven't time. Just as well. Show's closed. Actually, I thought Judy Braha and an excellent cast managed to get a good show out of A. R. Gurney's scandalously awful play. It's a cute idea, a conceit pretending to be a finished product in which nothing was ever thought out or followed to any conclusions, and every decision but one that the characters make takes place offstage. But I haven't the time to do either my admiration of the local creators or my disgust with the play full justice.

One of the reasons I have so little time is that I'm trying to warp my inept print-generation arthritic fingers and DOSile mind around not only WINDOWS but HaTeMail-code. I am trying to make most of the making of The Mirror my responsibility, and to save Lee's expertise for saving my glitches. So far this has meant I've made even more work for him than it would have been for him to make the miracles himself. But we're working on it!

Part of that shift in my priorities grew out of the fact that while I was busy hiding raisins in paper bags for Audrery to find, the E-Mail service on the DOS machine "all the way at the other end of town' (i.e. across this rrom) lapsed. That meant I could send nothing in the DOS memory here where it could be turned into HaTeMail and loaded up for your delectation --- in other words, all the E-Mail that had been sent to CRITICK languised in a black-hole I couldn't get into and I could get nothing out. Faced with that unfortunate reality, I resolved to swallow my contempt for Bill Gates and try to conform to the inane stupidities of the WORD program, instead of whizzing through these files in the nice, dumb, old-fashioned WRITE program an then E-Mailing them "all the way to the other end of town" as I always had.

Well, the CRITICK E-Mail capability (look at me using Jargon willya!) has been reinstated, but some interesting insights and ideas came from that few days of panic and resolve.

For instance, I realized that I get E-mail at all hours and on all days of the week, and I get reviews and audition calls and press-releases at the same unpredicted intervals --- yet we have been running The Theater Mirror as though it were a Weekly Newspaper. The Internet was built for bettew things!

So, I am making a few not new year's but Ground-Hog's Resolutions: 1)We will still update the three play-listings every Friday; I will try to have a couple new stories for you once a week as well, BUT: 2) The Greenroom and Special Announcements and Auditions and Reviews sections of The Mirror will be updated Just As Soon As Possible once I get them, AND: 3) Our first page (which I call "The Front End" for no good reason I can remember) will reflect those changes just as soon as they're made, so if you log on two successive days or two successive hours there just may be something new the second time.

Oh yes, there was one other thing that happened you should know about. GL Horton and Beverly Creasey have decided Boston ought to have an annual "Outer Critics' Circle Awards" vote, honoring the best work in smaller local companies, and even though I saw only 43 plays last year (I think that disgraceful, and apologise; another Ground Hog's resolution is to see a Minimum of 52 this year) they sent me a ballot. There were three nominations allowed for things like Best Production, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor & Actress, Best Lighting and Best Scenic Design, and Best New Script.

I was fresh from ferret-sitting and tizzied by the E-Mail deprivation and Already Late with it, but I filled my ballot and whipped it off, and I am eagerly awaiting further developments.

Watch this space!

When more happens, The Theater Mirror will make much of it. The people who work, all year every year, here in the Boston theater world deserve to be praised for their excellences, and when final results are in (See Grouind Hog's Resolution #2, above) They Will Be Announced Here!


So. Now you probably know more about the state of The Mirror and the state of the Me than you ever wanted to learn.. And I might say more, but there was a new review from Beverly Creasey and TWO audition-calls in my snail- and E-mailboxes that I have to deal with, so I just don't have the time!


THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide