It’s a long cold winter. I have found when the weather is not cooperating because ice slicks the street, or the high temperature for the day is 11 degrees, my 85-year-old body controls my 50-year-old head, and tells me I best be homebound with a book. This is not a problem, as I have been a life-long reader, but I am looking forward to spring, when I can walk about and see theater without worrying whether the weather will permit me to get out the door. So, for now, I’ll muse on last season.
I am a member of the Signature Theatre– it’s an off-Broadway venue located west of the Port Authority on 42nd Street. Way back in 2012, I was thrilled with their production of Edward Albee’s play “The Lady From Dubuque.” In fact so thrilled, I saw it twice.
That the great Jane Alexander, a mere septugenarian, was starring in it, not as the Lady from Dubuque, but the woman that the lady from Dubuque visits, just made it all the better. And really, you cannot imagine how a great playwright can convert death into entertainment. My 2013 subscription kicked off with “Old Friends,” by Horton Foote, and as we all know, there is nothing like “old friends.” It was a really wonderful play – real family, real problems and super performances.
Not to be overlooked was the small, but heartwarming and heartbreaking, Samuel Beckett play “All That Fall,” with a couple of more great actors in their 70s – the beautiful Eileen Atkins, and the magnetic Michael Gambon. It is quintessential Beckett in that nothing happens, except he has managed to capture all that is poured into the daily ritual and banality of life into a one act play.
Meanwhile on a pragmatic note, I have learned that the best way to get a seat is to head over to the theater. I can pick my seat, and avoid those awful ticket charges. So when I read the accolade-ridden review at 10:00 a.m., I immediately headed over to the box office. And glad I did, because I got the very last ticket! It had sold out!
Rounding out my choices was “Murders For Two.”. I was not too keen on seeing it. But while seeing “Richard III,” I mentioned to my friend that my nephew planned to see it, and lo and behold, the woman sitting in front of us turned around and said I am a friend of the playwright. Well, I had to buy a ticket, and reluctantly went.
Quel surprise! It was delightful in every way. A totally different moment than all the other plays I had seen. An ingenious musical that plays like old-time vaudeville. Hilariously funny, and brilliantly conceived.
Okay that’s the good stuff. The bad stuff was “Betrayal.” I was betrayed by this insipid, awful presentation of Harold Pinter, one of my very favorite playwrights. Let me just conclude here.