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Showing posts from May, 2018

The Diana Tapes

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photo by Pablo-Calderon Santiago
Princess Diana was certainly a phenomenon. Wikipedia reports that 750 million people watched her televised marriage to Prince Charles in 1981. She was, of course, a media sensation until her death in a car crash in 1997.
I’ve always failed to see what there was to admire in this woman. She was not a Cinderella, and if she was exploited for her pedigree, she apparently did not object. After all, she was Lady Diana before she was Princess Diana. She was killed returning from an evening of clubbing in Paris - at the age of 36 - with a man not her husband. And this from a member of the British royal family! I grant that she worked for charity, but that was her job. As far as I can see, her only real contribution was to refuse to include in her wedding vows that she would “obey” her husband.
Andrew Morton published a biography of the great lady, Diana: Her True Story, based on audiotapes of interviews that her friend James Colthurst conducted with her using qu…

Falling Forward: An evening of ten-minute plays

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photo: BittenByAZebra
Ten-minute plays are very difficult to write well. Actually, all plays are difficult to write well, but ten-minute plays give playwrights a particular challenge. They need to create a reality quickly. Nonetheless, a ten-minute play can be great. After all, drama needs compression.
Falling Forward: An evening of ten-minute plays, from Athena Theatre at Symphony Space, gives us 11 plays that succeed to various degrees. The scripts, which are mostly mediocre, are well served by some good acting. Of the 11 plays, seven use non-realistic techniques to deal with the challenges of this form. Of the remaining four, only one has a through line. 
Only two of the 11 plays are really successful; they present the best scripts and they enjoy the best acting. boys don’t look at boys [no capitals in the title], by Jeremy O’Brian, presents a high school student who earns the attention of his teacher through a monologue. The speech in question is delivered by a terrific actor, Fredd…

randy writes a novel

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photo by Alex Papps
Randy is a purple hand puppet who gives an 80-minute monologue from behind a table on stage, speaking educated strine. It’s a stand-up comedy act called randy writes a novel. The premise is that he’s going to read to us from the first draft of his novel. He’s reluctant to read, and by way of diversion he flies off on comic tangents.
The program credits the actor playing Randy as Randy, but between us the comedian’s name is Heath McIvor. Presenting himself through a felt puppet puts a whole new complexion on his comedy. We feel superior to a bug-eyed puppet, but through great puppetry we accept Randy as a character. He leans over the table, throws his head back on his scrawny neck, and throws his arms around (on control sticks). Through a varied vocal life, Mr. McIvor creates a complex personality, frustrated, angry, sly. He insults his audience without being offensive, and he’s common without being cheap. We allow ourselves to laugh at a puppet when he tries to turn …