After a precarious week, I am back online and rarin’ to go. On Wednesday evening, my computer shut down in some sort of fatal error that froze the system and begat the ruination of my week. Upon my restart, instead of a general start-up, I was face to face with the nefarious Blue Screen of Death. The BSD, which isn’t anyone’s friend, continued to pop up as the system refused to access Windows and start-up. My laptop is relatively new, so needless to say, I was bitchy, twitchy and manic. Enough, anyway, to contact tech support at 3 in the morning (which proved useless as she never called me back – I decided to pass out and try again, thankfully receiving an individual of actual competence who was very helpful and decidedly sympathetic. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say there was the obligatory wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garment.
So I got a new hard drive to install and I’ve been building myself back up. Many of you know that I have an enormous collection of music; theatre and otherwise. Fortunately I had about 80% of it backed up. I’ve also been working toward getting back the other items that were lost along the way. Needless to say this has taken an impact into my blogging time…
In happier news, I returned to the revival of A Man for All Seasons on Tuesday night as part of my Roundabout subscription. I’ve gotta give it to them, everyone at Roundabout is nothing short of wonderful (especially my dear old friend Tova Heller, with whom I went to high school) and were very accomodating in switching my ticket. (I was supposed to see this on November 23, but shows were canceled because, presumably, Frank Langella had to fulfill press obligations for the upcoming Frost/Nixon film. My only complaint with the relatively intimate American Airlines Theatre is with the desing of its mezzanine. I have no issues with the sightlines or the seating (I was in the center front mezz, not bad all things considered), but the lack of any center aisles does leave things wanting, especially since it’s practically inconvenient to everyone. Those in the middle go on safari through a sea of limbs to get to their seats while those on the aisle find themselves sitting and standing like they were at Mass.
The show onstage is considerably stronger than it was when I saw it on the fourth preview in September. Langella is magnanimous, and the supporting cast is, for the most part, doing strong work (though the inconsistency with the accents is still a sticking point). The audience this time around was a remarkably more responsive crowd, appreciating the understatedly dry wit and humor of More and finding themselves incredibly moved during the more devastating parts of the second act, as we watch the man’s physical decline in his imprisonment. (Langella’s physical transformation, within a span of seconds, is stunning).
As someone who has always been fascinated by the Tudor period of English history (all those wives! all those outcomes!), it’s satisfying to see historical figures dramatized. When I was ten, I went to England for the first time and was able to visit the Tower of London and Hever Castle (where Anne Boleyn’s family resided), reading about the different figures, wanting to divest myself in their history and know as much as I could about them and their incredibly melodramatic existence. (Of course, we still have such sensational figures in our society, but on a more laughable level; they’ve sure cut back on the beheadings). Court intrigue, conflicts, heightened emotional intensities, etc etc. It has to be said that our entertainment world has a great fascination with the era on stage, on screen and on television: Anne of the Thousand Days, Mary of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Elizabeth I, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Young Bess, The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth R, The Tudors, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Private Life of Henry VII, Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, A Man for All Seasons, The Other Boleyn Girl, Rex, etc. The actors who have played these noted figures: Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Katharine Hepburn, Charles Laughton, Bette Davis, Florence Eldridge, Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Penny Fuller, Nicol Williamson, Richard Burton, Charlton Heston, John Gielgud, Genevieve Bujold, Paul Scofield, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Jean Simmons, Rex Harrison, Judith Anderson, et al. There will be many more adaptations and incarnations of these same stories to come, though I have to say, why not something about Sir Richard Rich, considered one of the top historical villains of all-time and the man who betrayed Sir Thomas to his ultimate death. I think there’s an interesting story waiting to be told.
Seasons ends its extended limited run next Sunday, so if you haven’t had the chance, run to the American Airlines to see one of America’s finest stage actors giving a superlative star turn. Trust me, he’s worth it.
I shall now resume a more regular blogging schedule… Gee, but it’s good to be here!!