Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Shrek, Neglect and other Dreck

I have been neglecting this ole blog for a while now, mostly because I’ve been out of town at the beach, enjoying a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of city living. But after a week of sun and sand (and a couple of days of beating the work madness back down to a low roar), I’m here again and already looking forward to a Fall full of interesting theater.

But in the meantime, it’s still summer (as the sweltering temps attest) and some summer shows are still winding down (as per the review of “Sleuth” in the latest Style). I totally missed the Steward School, SPARC, and New Writers shows this summer – did anyone else check them out? Were they good?

I also missed perhaps the biggest gathering of theater folks this summer at Erin and Tony’s engagement party, documented in a great series of pictures at JB’s blog. You’ll notice Mrs. Price featured in some of these pictures which is a bit ironic since my beloved recently bumped into Melissa at the “Member of the Wedding” auditions at the Barksdale. Both her daughter and mine were trying out for the lead role. I’ve thought about sending flowers (or Red Sox tickets) to Scott as an enticement to get him to cast my baby but I suspect he has integrity about that kind of thing…phooey.

And in a tangential theater note, I took my boys to see “Shrek the Third” last night, which IMHO was pretty dreadful and a dramatic downturn from the original. But I was amused at the framing bits of theater in the movie. If you think you’ve been subjected to an awful audience, check out the delightful bit of dinner theater at the beginning where even the three little pigs are heckling. And the dressing room in the alley was pretty inspired. A knowing understanding about the conventions of theater informed the big finale as well.

Even though American culture is dominated by movies and television, these scenes in Shrek show how theater is woven into the DNA of our artistic expression and continues to be a fundamental element of our cultural foundation.

Finally, a hardy welcome back to Richmond to Sara Heifetz; I look forward to seeing her back on stage in the not-too-distant future, perhaps after a certain blessed event…


Frank Creasy said...

Dave, you're right about Scott's integrity...but if it were a tossup between your daughter and someone else's, I think Bosox tix would seal the deal. Flowers? Not likely, unless maybe they were part of a veggie sandwich!

I also missed many shows this year due to other commitments (I see almost nothing while I'm IN a show), but caught up on a few after "Tempest" wrapped...and got the chance to perform in one of the New Voices productions for SPARC. It was great fun, and the high school writers showed tremendous skill and potential. Melissa Price was one of the many skilled local talents in another production, and it was great to see so many fine actors assembled into multiple productions staged over two days. Seeing talented young people excited about the theatre gives me great pleasure.

Like most everyone else I'm pretty much ready for the dog days of summer to end, and if the heat breaks down to tolerable levels this weekend I might catch either a Braves game or THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (it just seems to require all caps!) But I'm very excited about the fall season. I would love to have auditioned for Scott for "Member of the Wedding" but I'd already happily accepted a role in Henley Street's "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail", which begins rehearsals next week. No doubt Scott will assemble a stellar cast for the show, and there's many other productions around town to pique our collective interests. It should be fun!

Anonymous said...

Wow - Frank, you are the busiest man in Richmond right now! You must get more work than anyone!

Dave,You were dearly missed at the party. Anyone who wants to check out the pics on my blog should click on July posts in order to view them.
Hope your vacation was great! I was so jealous I had to go away for a few days myself.

Frank Creasy said...

Ah, JB, if I WERE the busiest guy in town, I'd get more chances to work opposite YOU, now wouldn't I??? (Been a few years gone by!)But I'll take that lovely thought nonetheless and thank you so kindly, my dear!

But I failed to comment on the joy of seeing Erin and Tony's pending nuptials drawing nigh. These are folks everyone is thrilled to see happy together, which (saving posting space Dave) speaks to one big reason why a Tavern production such as "Barefoot in the Park" is able to successfully revitalize an old war horse. When you have a Tony Foley, Molly Hood, Joy Williams and Joe Pabst-led cast bringing fresh eyes and energy to such a production (as evidenced by the current run of "Odd Couple"), then you get a new look again what Neil Simon intended when he wrote these scripts over forty years ago. But there is NO question, we've all seen some pretty tired, by-the-numbers renditions of these productions, and that's why they get an undeserved bad rap.

For his part, though, Dan Neman almost never has to sit through the same movie and critique it more than once (unlike a theatre critic who, over time, will undoubtedly see some of the same stuff two or more times). Now, given the garbage on film these days, I don't envy him much, but as a way of making a living goes, it doesn't sound too bad to me! Why so cranky, Dan??? Lighten up dude!