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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
 
I haven't had much in the way of subjects to write about (I could write about the overexposure of Terry Schiavo and the Pope in the media, overshadowing news in Iraq, but any discussion beyond that statement is simply just blowing hot air), because life is generally good (when you've got rhythm, music and your girl, who could ask for anything more?). So, what do you do when you can't come up with a topic to talk about? That's right, boys and girls, you make a list!

See, currently at Hunger Artists, I am involved in two incredible productions, one that opened and one that is to open.

One of these shows I am very proud to be a part of, as it is the world premiere of what I feel is an important work, one that is destined to go far. I have no doubt that it will go to other theatres and be seen by a lot more people than are seeing it now. But in a small 40-seat theatre, people are witnessing its greatness for the first time.

The other is "Marat/Sade", a familiar show (it won the Tony for Best New Play in the 1960's), but completely reimagined, and has been an absolute blast to rehearse. It is a remarkably inventive, original show that in this reincarnation has become more concise, more concentrated and much, much funnier. It is a production that has never been seen before, and will probably never be seen again.

These two shows got me thinking about productions that I will never get to see. Having heard of their greatness, I can only imagine what it must have been like (that is until I get the flux capacitor working on my DeLorean). Any description I give of the production is merely from what I've heard. So without further ado...

THE TEN PRODUCTIONS I WISH I COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO SEE:

1). "Angels in America" - Mark Taper Forum - Los Angeles (1992). George C. Wolfe's inaugural production of what is my favorite play (written by Tony Kushner) was an epic piece of art: funny, moving and utterly original. Both parts of the play were seen here before moving to Broadway.

2). "A Midsummer Night's Dream" - Royal Shakespeare Theatre - Stratford-upon-Avon, England (1970). Clive Barnes of the New York Times had this to say about Peter Brook's circus-like production of Shakespeare's brilliant comedy (which featured Ben Kingsley and Mary Rutherford): "This is without any equivocation whatsoever the greatest production of Shakespeare I have ever seen in my life-and for my joys and my sins I have seen literally hundreds."

3). "The Importance of Being Earnest" - St. James's Theatre - London, England (1895). This Oscar Wilde play is my favorite comedy, and I would have loved to have seen the premiere production, when it was actually modern and controversial.

4). "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" - Billy Rose Theater - New York City (1962). Edward Albee's masterpiece debuted with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill in the roles of George and Martha, and caused such a controversy that the Pulitzer committee refused to award it a prize for Drama. How can you not love that?

5). "The Seagull" - Moscow Art Theater - Moscow, Russia (1898). Any production that brings the playwright out of retirement has to have something right about it. That's just what Stanislavsky's production did with Chekhov (who had vowed never to write again after the first production of "Seagull", which was not well-received). Although I wouldn't have understood a word of it, I still would have liked to have seen it.

6). "True West" - Circle in the Square Theatre - New York City (2000). One of my favorite plays is Sam Shepard's tale of feuding brothers, and this production had the highly effective gimmick of employing two phenomenal actors (Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly) who would switch roles from night to night. It made for two completely different productions, both equally good.

7). "Sweeney Todd" - Hunger Artists - Fullerton, California (2003). While I was doing a mediocre production of "Into the Woods", the theater company I would later go on to fall in love with was doing a much-better production of a much-better show. It was minimal and intense (O.C. Weekly said it was "one of the best-directed plays on a local stage. Ever.") and I constantly kick myself that I was not involved with it.

8). "Rhinoceros" - Longacre Theatre - New York City (1961). Zero Mostel was great in the film version of Eugene Ionesco's brilliant absurd comedy, so I can only imagine what it must have been like to have seen him turn into a rhinoceros live on stage (with Eli Wallach complementing him). Plus, it had to have been an improvement over the film simply because Karen Black wasn't in it (why was she famous? Anyone?).

9). "Hair" - Biltmore Theatre - New York City (1968). This was a show that broke all the rules. A free, energetic musical that actually served as a mirror to the changing current of society. Nowadays it's a period piece, but at the time, it was extremely relevant and much-needed. It was also Diane Keaton's Broadway debut.

10). "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" - Town Hall Theatre - Galway, Ireland (1996). Martin McDonagh is one of the most exciting theatrical voices to emerge in the last ten years, and to see his first play in the country where it takes place would have been quite an experience.

Ahhh, if only...

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