Monday, January 09, 2006

Going to the dogs, again.

Back last night from New York; no sooner were we in the door when the dog started pestering me for his own book deal. Actually, Buster will be more than sufficiently happy when his rambunctious cousin Boomer finally goes home this week to his own daddies after a month's visit.

New York was swell, as were all three plays we saw. The now-closed (and badly-named; don't know if there's a connection) Souvenir, about the eccentric diva Florence Foster Jenkins, was great fun on its own, and far more insightful about music than the drag-queeny Master Class, but gained extra pizzazz with the presence in the audience of great singer Marilyn Horne, sitting right in front of me. We even exchanged words, she apologizing if her coat was in my way, me offering to kiss its hem (well, actually me just replying that it wasn't a problem). I didn't find the new production of Sweeney Todd as revelatory as touted, but Patti LuPone was awfully good as a sexed-up Mrs. Lovett, and if the device of having the actors double as the orchestra (Patti on tuba and triangle) wasn't as resonant as it was apparently meant to be, neither was it as annoying as it could have been. You kind of forget that they're doing it, which I suppose is testimony to its effectiveness (hey! Who wants to start a list of Children's Books That Are Too Darned Gimmicky For Their Own Damned Good?). About Doubt, no doubts. Okay, one: the only truly examined character is the lead, Sister Aloysius, and the other three are less dimensional, but Richard reminded me that even Shakespeare is filled with foils. And the play easily bats big, cosmic questions into the air while still remaining a riveting and convincing realistic drama. It also has a peculiar genius in the way it never resolves the plot's central question--did a priest molest a child?--but is still completely satisfying. We saw Cherry Jones in her last performance as Sister Aloysius, and she was both mesmerizing and funny as hell, um, sorry, Sister.

7 comments:

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

I'm glad you had a good time and your dog is adorable. I have a smooth collie who is ten and is probably going to die in a couple of years. I am sure there is some good reason why dogs don't live longer, such as it gives our hearts some exercise but I can't for the life of me reconcile to it.

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

You know, Roger, I was just thinking that you would LOVE Cirque du Soleil if you ever get a chance. Allegria is their best show and it's astounding. If what you want from theatre is what I want, which is total willing easy suspension of disbelief, and magic. They are wonderful. I had no expectations and was blown away. You and Richard should see where they are playing. They play Las Vegas a lot but I don't know if they do Allegria. Go. Go. Life is short.

Roger Sutton said...

It's been suggested that Buster is a smooth-coated collie but we will never know for sure--my friend and colleague Betsy Hearne brought him into the office one day a dozen years ago, having found him abandoned in a Chicago park while walking her own beloved Panda.

I've seen Cirque du Soleil a few times and enjoyed it very much. The last time--I don't remember which show, but it was a while ago--I started to be uncomfortably reminded of Godspell and mimes but could certainly give it another go.

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shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

Buster doesn't look like a smooth collie to me.

shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing said...

And you only have to see Allegria once. If you've already seen it then you can move on with your life.

curmudgeon said...

Okay, I'm gonna bite on the "Children's Books That are Too Darned Gimmicky for Their Own Good." I was annoyed with Black and White for that reason when it got the Caldecott, and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat hits me the same way. (Joseph drives me crazy; I use it to spark a discussion of the importance of interesting writing in a story by reading it to my third graders without showing the pictures and then contrasting its text with a much richer storytelling version...I know, I know, the Caldecott is for the pictures, but it's a shame that this is the text with the most exposure.)