Wit without the Vitriol, Please

I got to see the revival (and Broadway premiere) of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band, the benchmark play with the all-gay cast from 50 years ago.
I saw the play in revival in a Toronto production in the 1980’s. I recalled a play of great wit and pain.
The night I went to the Broadway production, the main character (portrayed effectively by Jim Parsons), Michael, descending into his drunken tirade against his party guests, hurling racial and homophobic insults, got empathy for his neediness but not for his drunken slurs. Were they meant to be funny in 1968? Did they amuse in the 1980’s Toronto version? I can hardly print them here- the “N” word; “Coon”, and more. In 2018, they seemed to wound the audience, as well as the characters.
Times are changing. The sarcasm of plays like Boys and its influence- Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – might be out of reach for today’s sensitized audience.
The wit is still appreciated. Maybe not the vitriol?


Quote Me By Your Name

Just finished the novel Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman. I’ve already seen the film. It’s a beautiful adaptation.
The book contains more than one meeting between Oliver and Elio after Oliver’s departure (as depicted in the movie). Beyond that, the story is mostly inside Elio’s head, so the novel is probably better suited to tell it.

There are too many quotable lines, so I’ll just choose this:
Towards the end, when Elio visits Oliver years later, Oliver invites him to meet his wife and children. Elio finds a way to tell him why he can’t.
“The ‘can’t’ did not mean I wasn’t free to visit him but that I couldn’t bring myself to do it…
And then it came out of me: ‘The truth is I’m not sure I can feel nothing. And if I am to meet your family, I don’t want to feel anything.'”

I won’t quote the final paragraph of the story, but I don’t remember the last time, reading a novel on the bus, I had to contain tears as I closed the book.

#Writing in front of the #TV

Does anyone else write in front of the TV? I don’t watch a show for plot inspiration, but I do get inspiration from the emotion of the scene. It kind of plays in the background while my own dialogue, or story, comes to life.

Or, my budding idea forms the background to the emotion I see being played out on the screen in front of me.

Get Out

If there was a genre I never expected to find social commentary tucked inside, it’s Grand Guignol. Those seemingly opposing genres work together quite nicely, along with humour and suspense, all neatly laid out in Jordan Peele’s  #film Get Out. Get out and see it.

#Oscar Bets 2017

Okay- I’ll commit to some predictions. What do I win? A rise in stats on my blog, I guess. Predictions are based on my own set of facts- movies I saw, and award nods I feel are most deserved. Movies I missed do not count.

Best Picture- Moonlight (something worth saying, with poetry. Yes, I liked La La Land (see previous post)

Best Actor- Denzel Washington (Fences)- (Though Casey Affleck is favoured…)

Best Actress-Isabelle Huppert (Elle) (Okay, entirely based on buzz), though Meryl’s off-key singing is a stand-out. And I would love to hear her speech…

Best Supporting Actor- Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)  (only one I saw of the bunch. Maybe Dev Patel, for an incredible role in Lion.)

Best Supporting Actress-  Viola Davis (Fences) or Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

My only other comment is it would be something to see Lin Manuel Miranda complete his EGOT.

And I hope for plenty of on target political speeches….

La La La

I liked La La Land. Not everyone I know did, and that even proved to be fodder for SNL.

I like musicals. Love many. Cabaret. A Chorus Line (only on stage). But I’m allergic to bad movie musicals (A Chorus Line) as much as the next person.

I loved the opening of the movie- knew it was a musical but still found it unexpected. Not just the musical number itself, but its unabashed, (un)ironic, ever increasing, joy.

The joy continued with the Umbrellas of Cherbourg colour palette.

Some friends found the plot – well, not high enough character stakes. I did. As an actor/teacher/writer, author of a one man show ( Monologues ), it wasn’t hard for me to relate to it all. To many, the main characters’ artistic, and romantic struggles, seemed small.

I didn’t. If anything, I found the ending satisfying. Without spoiling, between love and career, one works out, and the other does not (for both hero and heroine).

In my experience, artistic lives exist very often in a gray area between success and failure. Some succeed for a while, but not consistent enough to reliably pay the bills. Some careers completely fade and morph into something else. The rare ones shoot for the stratosphere and make it- and continue to do so.

But gray is not the palette of La La Land. It’s purple and turquoise and cotton candy. I’d rather have that at the #movies than gray any time.

I wish it well at the Oscar nods tomorrow.