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Monthly Archives: February 2011
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
by Oscar Wilde
Reviewed by Carlos Stafford
The Model Critic
The supremely accomplished English actor, Brian Bedford, both directs and acts in this revival of Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest, at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theater, in New York City. It comes here via Des McAnuff’s production in Ontario’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Please pass the scones and marmalade, we’re in for a wild ride.
At a time in Bedford’s career, where he easily could be playing Lear, Cardinals, and Popes, he instead tackles the imperious, supercilious Lady Bracknell, in drag. That the gifted Bedford plays this hefty role, against type and gender, would at first seem distracting. But truly, the moment he first arrives on stage, he creates an immediate suspension of disbelief. With only his face exposed, dressed in outlandishly beautiful period frocks in colorful silk, wigs, hats, jewels, and eyelashes, he delivers Lady Bracknell’s character with hilarious tartness and aplomb. Playing the character in a ” serious manner,” he confidently never telegraphs, or cajoles the humor, but rather lets the lines resonate on their own, “trippingly on the tongue”. Perfect!
As far as the play itself, it is easily one of the Greats in modern English drama. The famous Lady Bracknell interview with the suitor, John (Jack) Worthing, for Gwendolen Fairfax’s hand in marriage is brilliant:
Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack: I must admit I smoke.
LB: I’m glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are
far too many idle men in London as it is.
LB: I have always had the opinion that a man who desires to be married should know everything or nothing. Which do you know?
Jack: I know nothing, Lady Bracknell
LB: I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance.
Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit, touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory
of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education
produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper
classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
LB: Are your parents living?
Jack: I have lost both my parents.
LB: Both? To loose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both
looks like carelessness.
When Jack reveals that, as a child , he was found in a hang-bag in Victoria Station, Lady Bracknell delivers her famous “In a hang-bag?” response in a voice so low and aspirated with chagrin and disbelief, that the air fills the entire theater, reaching the usher at the rear in Row ZZZ.
As for the play itself, Wilde’s clever work cuts in many farcical directions; essentially, a humorous look at the desiccated, starchy manners of English high culture during the Victorian Age, where people don’t say exactly what they mean, have secret agendas, small larcenies, and hidden pasts. For love, both Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing assume the name of Earnest, while Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew, will marry no one but a man called Earnest, creating hilarious entrapments.
But for all the comedic repartee, verbal badinage, and witty aphorisms, it amounts to nothing but a tempest in a teapot–earnestly pure entertainment, without any real moral or social significance. One leaves the theater refreshed and delighted. And bringing this all together, along with Bedford, was a fine assemblage of actors–notably Sarah Topham (Gwendolen) and David Furr (Jack Worthing), who were very good, and of course, the reliable Dana Ivey as Miss Prism and Paxton Whitehead as Chasuble.
I once saw this play done in Killarney,Ireland, in a small pub over pints of Guinness; perhaps twelve people drinking and watching. One of my partners, not a fan of drama of any sort, had a huge grim on his face throughout. Afterwards, he grabbed my arm and asked again the name of the play, if it wasn’t already obvious, then bought rounds for everyone.
It would be looked upon as carelessness if you missed this play.
Lane Paul O”Brian
Algernon Moncrieff Santino Fontana
John Worthing David Furr
Lady Bracknell Brian Bedford
Gwendolen Fairfax Sara Topham
Cecily Cardew Charlotte Parry
Miss Prism Dana Ivey
Rev. Chasuble Paxton Whitehead
Merriman Tim MacDonald
Servant Amanda Leigh Cobb
Starting way back when at the Academy of Arts in Champagne IL under the direction of Petrus Bosman then on to Ballet Met fine tuned by Russian legend Violetta Boft (Bovt), and dancing with and for well knowns like James Kudelka, David Parsons, Alonzo King amongst others, appearing in the Dance Magazine two page spread, on to HBO as a celebrated writer and comedian and now directing and choreographing ballets – Dark Matter and music videos – Live My Life (Rukus Juice) and Celebrate (Mode), with long time partner, financial backer and executive producer Departed actress Tracey Paleo and now teaching Ballet 101 along with the Align Ballet Method, Michael Cornell is changing the idea of commerical media. Be sure to listen in.
Reading the debate this morning of an article covered by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 regarding is Twitter journalism. It’s an interesting topic especially when you consider a recent article posted on NPR. According to the NPR story, major news outlets will eventually not be the suppliers of news in the future. They will merely be endorsers, and open channels that funnel news – a lot like online aggregators. The people, bloggers, tweeters, facebookers, etc. will be the “curators” of news because more and more followers of social media, coincidentally consumers of media are following those voices they trust. NPR’s article questioned, are we tapped out by news? Are we tuning out? Partly yes, which is why more and more, audiences are tuning into entertainment. Also, there are less and less opportunities to get really accurate news and of course non of them un-slanted. Perhaps that is why ScribbleLive CEO Michael De Monte, for instance, offered little more than snide sentiment over the idea. But isn’t it funny how large corporations continue to try to tap into the news worthy side of social media in order to mask plain old product marketing in order to increase sales.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Does this article make me a journalist too?
You can read Brian’s article here: Twitter Isn’t Journalism, Or Is It? It’s The Wrong Question to Ask.
Now that is an attention getter — and a half.
From the creator of the television shows, DIRTY, SEXY, MONEY and SIX FEET UNDER, Craig Wright,his play, THE PAVILLIONS, will be mounting this April (2011) at The Little Theater LA under the artistic guidance of director, Christopher Comeau and producer, Adam Rex.
Finally a show with depth. Hailed by critics as an “Our Town for our time,” this play is by turns poetic and comic, romantic and philosophical. Peter returns to his twenty-year high-school reunion with dreams of winning back Kari, the girl he left behind after an unexpected pregnancy ended their relationship. Standing in Peter’s way is Kari’s bitter-as-ever resentment, her husband and the fact that Peter still hasn’t grown up. As the night progresses, both Peter and Kari are led, through their interactions with a host of characters all played by a virtuosic Narrator, to face the consequences of choices made long ago and start back into life with newfound strength and bittersweet resolve.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Just a post or two ago, I remorsefully wrote how I failed my clients and that I wanted to do better. It really has been a disappointing outcome, or so I thought when to my chagrin, the oh so coveted review for my super talented gang of music artists did not get the kudos they deserved. And they really did deserve on this very special night.
So ok, two seconds later, I get an email and a link and a hell of a review, 7 paragraphs long to be exact of their live performance.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Campus Circle Magazine article which appeared online and in print last week. It is awesome. And so isn’t being wrong!
You can also go to Campus Circle online and view this, tweet and facebook at: http://www.campuscircle.com/review.cfm?r=12490&h=Sad-Robot-Jan-The-Roxy
(Credit: Mike Matusiewicz)
It’s not often that a person in the midst of a severe seasonal cold can drag themselves out of their house, let alone attend a live show in Hollywood at the Roxy. That is what happened this past Friday.
While sitting (and coughing) through the usual lineup of opening bands, I found myself wishing I were at home and in bed nursing myself back to health. That thought immediately changed the moment Sad Robot took to the stage and began what would turn out to be a very impressive show.
The instant the curtains went up, Sad Robot and their incredibly gorgeous and captivating Katherine Pawlak (vocalist and keys) had the crowd at the Roxy on their feet and competing to get to the front of the stage.
Opening with the song entitled “You’ll See in Time,” Pawlak’s soulful yet powerful and commanding voice instantly worked the audience into an indie-rock-induced frenzy. Throughout the night, Pawlak’s vocals were complimented by a solid performance from fellow band members Nick Perez (guitar), Chris Razze (drums) and Michael Marigliano (bass).
Pawlak definitely knows how to entertain a crowd. She constantly engaged the audience members during her songs and spoke to them directly in between. By doing so, she made the audience members feel as if they were more like close friends than just fans. Those lucky enough to be up front were treated to an eyeful of Pawlak’s unique and seductive stage moves that continued to draw enthusiastic screams from the crowd throughout the night.
Judging from the audience’s reaction, every song played that night was a hit. Not once throughout the entire show was there a drop in the decibel level being generated by the cheers and screaming coming from the audience.
Enough cannot be said about Sad Robot’s rock solid performance and Pawlak’s mesmerizing vocals and stage presence. This band was without a doubt born to perform and bring audiences to their feet. Not to mention they also seem to be a cure for the common cold.