Saturday, March 29, 2008

Waitin' For The Robert E. Lee

No, actually, I'm waiting until I finish my beer and then I'm heading over to the East Village for a friend's birthday get-together with a bunch of actors with whom I've done a couple of shows. We are all VERY good friends because one of the shows most of us did together was a production of Richard III that was so unutterably ghastly that we feel about each other as I've heard men who fought a war together do - by God, we survived.

This Richard was a production bankrolled by a child psychiatrist who had always wanted to play Richard and had studied the role in acting class and had many fascinating ideas about the production - one of which, God help us, was that it was set in a post-Apocalyptic future (see Mad Max). Therefore we were all dressed in what we could "salvage out of the ruins of civilization." (Yeah, that looked exactly as awful as you think it might.) This shrink was also playing Richard - unfortunately, it wasn't until opening weekend that we discovered that while he'd been spending a year and half thinking about the production, none of those months had been spent learning the lines. The result of this was that whenever the gent managed to remember one of the monologues, he would grin all over his face and deliver it - without reference to whatever act or scene the rest of us happened to be doing at that moment.

And would you believe that was only ONE of the major problems with the show? Suffice it to say, this production has become legendary in NY theatre circles, and you can perhaps understand why the cast is, some years later, still best friends with each other. Who else could understand the hell we've been through?

And I went to a lovely concert today! A friend of a friend couldn't use her Avery Fisher Hall ticket for the matinee and passed it on to me. It was supposed to be Riccardo Mutti conducting, but he got ill, which didn't matter in the least, as it turned out. The first half was a Schubert octet, which was quite nice, although I'm not much of a Schubert fan. It's all a bit lace hanky and silk breeches for me. I'm much happier with Bach fugues and large lashings of Beethoven. I also absolutely LOVE Leonard Bernstein's anything, but most particularly his Mass, which very few people can take at all. Sometimes when I really hate my next door neighbors I blast it through the house. Try takes some getting used to, but I think it's a fascinating piece of work.

But the second half was the Aaron Copland Concerto No. 3 which contains Fanfare for the Common Man, and I adore it. Lots of big striding huge music, with kettle drums and gongs and cymbals and horns...if Schubert tiptoes in wearing his silk breeches, Copland strides in wearing boots and jeans. Just gorgeous. And very nicely conducted by the young (and sudden) conductor, whose name is Michael something (well, the program's downstairs and I'm not).

At least Tracey's birthday party isn't at one of her usual haunts. She has a taste for very loud, very expensive type joints. (The Richard cast members tend to want to, you know, TALK to each other when we're together.) She's a cast member from the second show our gang did together, which was modern, and enormously better than the Richard - of course, watching Britney Spears do Lady Macbeth would probably be better than that Richard. Luckily, this party is in a small Italian restaurant, which should have a reasonably low decibel level.

Ah. 9:30 has struck, even though my computer hasn't got the hang of Daylight Savings Time. I know it's 9:35 because my computer says 8:35. Once or twice a week I click on this and attempt to change it and my computer smiles in a supercilious manner, changes for about an hour, and goes right back to being an hour early...chortling to itself in a snide manner. Well, the hell with it. At least I know what time it is.


Love, Wendy

1 comment:

SaintTigerlily said...

Happy Birthday Wendy.