The fabulously talented and nearly constantly working Melissa Johnston Price posted a notice on Facebook that today was “Hug an Actor/Techie/Theatre Geek Day.” If you’re reading this, you undoubtedly know one of these types so get out there and hug someone!
If you are having trouble finding an actor/techie, etc. just out on the street somewhere, you could always go to Martini Night at the Firehouse tonight, where doors open at 7pm before the performance of “Sex Drugs Rock & Roll.” Not only will you find theatre types there, I would expect hugs will be exchanged much more freely after a couple of martinis.
I haven’t expounded on “Sex Drugs…” mostly because my Style review isn’t out yet. I think I packed my most cogent thoughts into it and hopefully it will be in next week’s issue. But, in a nutshell, I can say that this is a bravura performance by Robert Zukerman. He does some amazing things on stage and his ability to transition from characters like the emotionally fragile bottle man to the sleazy, angry, ravenous rock lawyer is breath-taking. I am glad that the Firehouse brought such a rollicking, challenging show to Richmond and supported it by hiring some exceptional talent like Mr. Zukerman and director David Denson.
We have been blessed in this town by some truly remarkable one-person shows over the years and this production takes a prominent place among them. However, I can’t say it’s my favorite of those, maybe because there is a pretty bleak worldview lurking amongst many of these stories. While the show is bracing and fun to watch, it’s a bit like a really strong, dark beer with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Intoxicating but also a little off-putting.
And while I’m expounding just a little, I wanted to mention something that has been kicking around my head over the past couple of days. It’s no secret that acting is a vocation where the superficial, i.e., physical beauty, plays a part more prominent than most any other profession (except perhaps for modeling). There aren’t that many professions where you can lose a job for not being blonde enough or skinny enough or tall enough – and that’s just the way it goes. But in a bit of a paradox, it’s also a unique realm where, thanks in part to stage magic and thanks even more to really compelling talent, people who are not necessarily traditionally beautiful can seem strikingly gorgeous. So it’s an arena where physical beauty can seem the primary concern and yet, at the same time, can seem totally irrelevant.
I’ve met some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known thanks to theater; I was even lucky enough to marry one of them. The cast of “Tommy” at VCU right now is full of some seriously gorgeous kids. But I’ve also met actors who project such a compelling personality, people who many may not consider stunningly attractive, who I just cannot take my eyes off of when they are on stage (there are about a half-dozen people I could list here but I don’t want to somehow imply that anyone I mention is NOT physically gorgeous in their own way). I’m sure others have written about this paradox more eloquently than me but still, it’s something I’m finding fascinating right now.
And with that, as Seth Rudetsky would say, Peace Out! And have a great weekend!