Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2378 The Play

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So last night I saw Susan Kellermann as Dr. Gertrude Ladenburger and Jane Fonda as Dr. Katherine Brandt in 33 Variations, at the Eugene O'Neill theater. Before we left, I had read some reviews, which ranged from good through indifferent to bad.

My own opinion:
The interior of the theater was beautiful, but the seats were maybe 16 inches wide, which worked for the behind end, but didn't allow much more than a rigid pressing of elbows into the waist, unless one wanted to get into an armrest battle with one's large tough-looking (over-perfumed) neighbor. I was interested in the set design, and the use of the props, which passed back and forth very effectively between Beethoven's hands and the present. The lighting did its job, but could have been used to greater effect. The production's music director played the piano off to the side, like for an old-timey silent movie, and it came across as a bit thin, given the importance to the story. I'd have appreciated a fuller illustration of the variations, but then I'm not that familiar with Beethoven. (When I hear "variations" I think Bach.) The play itself, the dialog, was lackluster, without emotion. So much blah blah when it could have been more forceful. That of course affected the acting. The actors very often seemed to be just speaking neutral explanatory text, like visible voiceovers. In short, I think it could have been better.

But then, I wasn't there for the play. I was there for Manhattan, for the dinner (a very large and delicious Japanese dinner in a small restaurant about a block from the theater, for less than $20 - I didn't know that was possible!), for the company, and for the experience.

Didn't get much of the Manhattan part. Angie had scheduled us pretty tightly, so we didn't hang around Grand Central, we fast-walked the mile to the restaurant, we gobbled dinner, ran to the theater, and then fast-walked back to Grand Central. So there was no people watching, no window gazing, no bright lights and tall building gawking.

There was one cute incident - On our trot to the restaurant, Angie had surged ahead, but Nat lagged behind with me and my short legs. When she teased him about favoritism, he said "If anything happens to you, I'd have to explain to your parents. If anything happens to Silk, I'd have to explain to The Man. I'll take your parents."

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