Posts Tagged ‘nick garrison’

David Mamet’s Speed the Plow at the Old Vic

February 5, 2008

Tonight we joined the West End Whingers and krewe at the Old Vic and saw David Mamet’s Speed the Plow, which is apparently still in previews. We had seats that were amazingly close to the stage – only four rows back! – but this was a bit irritating as the first several rows slope DOWN from the stage instead of up.

Given that I still haven’t reviewed Othello at the Donmar (but what’s the point, really, it’s sold out for months), I probably shouldn’t be writing this show up, but I don’t want to just let it slip.

In short:
1. I thought I saw Lyle Lovett in the bar.
2. I thought I saw the guy who was in The Big Chill on the stage, and apparently I was right. He is much sexier as a grownup than he was when he was young. It seems like he was in some other movies, too, but I liked him better on stage than in any of them. I am very bad with celebrities and it would be sad if I cared – I mean, I should really pay attention to who’s in the plays I’m going to see, but it’s really hard to give a rip about some Hollywood actor – but what matters is that he was fun to watch on stage and gave a mostly decent performance. (I disliked that he sounded so much like the other character, but I think that might be the fault of the author and not the performer.)
3. Mamet can’t write female characters.
4. There was no plow.
5. I got dizzy sitting so close to the stage and having a giant head blocking my view of the middle of it for most of the first scene – somehow combined with the unrelenting, rapid-fire dialogue I felt like I was getting motion sickness. The wine I had beforehand might have played a part in it but I blame the Old Vic and Mamet instead.
6. I know Laura Michelle Kelly was supposed to be reading out of a really crappy book in the second scene, but instead it seemed like she was reading a script with a really crappy extended monologue and just not getting how to say it. Perhaps she will improve as time goes on and the cast settles in a bit more.
7. There was some really funny one-liners in there, but I can’t remember any of them now as they were blocked by the monotony of the tone of the first scene and the wretchedness of the book in the second.
8. I really want to see Dirty Little Showtunes and Nick Garrison again, apropos of nothing.
9. On the way back, we met some people who said of the show, “Outstanding acting! Great writing! A total standing ovation!” J thought they must not get out much, and I thought they must have been either Kevin Spacey or Jeff Goldblum fans, or both. At any rate, NOT a total standing O at all, but it may get a little better over time. It wasn’t a bad night out on the whole.
10. It’s sad to be as excited as I was when I discovered that there was to be no intermission and the whole thing was going to be over at 9 PM, but that’s the joy of the unshakeable cold (and the husband with a broken foot) for you.

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Mini-review – The Exorcist – Brown Derby Theater at the ReBar, Seattle

June 24, 2003

Tonight I went and saw The Exorcist as performed by Bald Faced Lie as part of the Brown Derby Series at the Rebar. It was of course quite funny, although there were some pop-culture references that I didn’t get (sadly I’ve never actually seen a Milli Vanilli video and I don’t keep up with Pink Floyd). But I did enjoy references to Kiss and Motley Crue, and of course I loved watching Nick Garrison.

But the think I liked most was the interesting thoughts about sex and sexuality that the show fostered in my sangria-soaked consciousness (yes, I did bring my own, leftovers from my birthday party). First, I was thinking how funny it was that the audience was supposed to cringe in horror at 1) the “desecration” of the “Virgin” Mary (she was made up as a whore, with a big erect penis, part of the original movie, I’m sure) and 2) the sexuality of the “men of God,” that is, the priests (mostly added in as part of the comedy of the evening).

What I thought was … first, religiously, it was depressing that the concept of ANY celebration of sexuality had to be “unholy” or even “evil.” For a priest or the mother of Jesus to be seen as sexual came off as a terrible thing. Yet, in looking at the Christian religion, I have to ask, where is the moment where sexuality is to be celebrated? Why is it that to be “holy” you have to be sexless? I thought, “Oh, you want the priests to be thinking about higher things,” but really, at what point is ANYONE allowed to think about sex and not have it be “bad?” This all just fit in with what I’ve read about most religions (well, Islam and Christianity) being, at their hearts, about controlling sexuality. And that was depressing. Of course, I also read that the reason why these religions do this is because first, the sex drive is so strong, and second, because people behave unpredictably when they follow their sexual urges. So if you dominate their sex drives, it is easier to control them in general. (Plus, sex is “dangerous.”)

The other thing I thought was about the supposed rampant sexuality of theater folk. Actresses (some of them anyway) have always been known for their flaunting of sexual conventions, and watching all of these men (and some women) on stage pretending to give each other blowjobs just made me think of what it must be like to pursue a life of pleasure (especially because I knew many of the men were not gay and it just kind of made me think of them going, “Oh well, why not enjoy pleasure or give it if the opportunity presents itself”). Well, not a life, really, but to lead a life where indulging yourself sexually with other people was easy and fun and generally not a big deal. It looked like it would be a very joyful life and thinking about it made me kind of envious. Of course, in reality there would be lots of jealousy and recrimination and anger and perceived back-stabbing. Oh, but if only I were a man … isn’t it possible that within that milieu leading the life of an adventurous lover would be just an enless hedonistic joy?

Of course, what we get is “erect penises equal murdering babies for Satan” and “let’s make women wear veils because men can’t control their sexual impulses if they see their hair.” What crap! Maybe I’m more of a pagan than I ever thought.

(This review is for a performance that took place on June 24th, 2003 and was migrated here from another blog.)