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10/04/2004 Archived Entry: "Theatre for 2004 is over"

Humor Break: The Onion reports "Documents Reveal Gaps in Bush's Service as President!" and "Say Hello to the Password Police."

My "theatre year" has officially ended, with no more live theatre waiting in the queue for 2004.

Last Wednesday, Brad and I drove to the Stratford Festival to attend a matinee performance of the musical "Guys and Dolls" by Frank Loesser; the movie version is a favorite of ours and I had pre-concluded that no one could be as satisfying a Sky Masterson as Marlon Brando...but I was wrong. It helped that Sky was played by a superlative actor, Scott Wentworth (about whom I've blogged previously) and that Wentworth had a few rather nice song segments that had been expunged from the movie due to Brando's inability to sing. The staged version was also far heavier on the choreography than the movie and I found myself wondering whether this was due to Brando's inability to dance. Happily, a song I dislike in the movie -- Adelaide's first number at the Hotbox through which I habitually fast-forward -- seems to have been added specially, perhaps to compensate for the time lost in axing the Sky numbers. The stage ending was significantly different -- with Sky joining the Save-a-Soul-Mission due to his love for Sister Sarah. (I much prefer the movie ending with Sky apparently unreformed -- at least, Brando's "street" versus mission clothing at the end implied he was still a "street" guy, and that was *so* much of the character's charm.) I suppose now I will have to read the Damon Runyan story -- "The Idylls of Miss Sarah Brown" -- from which "Guys and Dolls" derives to see what fate it deals to the Sky character.

On Friday, a friend accompanied us to two plays that were utter froth and great fun: "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn and "Anything Goes" by Cole Porter. With "Noises Off," once again, we were introduced to the play through the movie version which is brilliant and quite simply one of the funniest productions I've ever seen. (Two friends who had worked at Stratford for a few years and are theatre "pros" -- one is in lighting, the other is now a co-producer in TV -- bought the movie for us years ago.) It didn't matter that all three of us have most of the script memorized...the lines still made us laugh so hard that our sides hurt. The differences between the movie and stage version were interesting but not significant and the performances were comparable. Like I said just froth and fun. "Anything Goes" had similar bounce and bubble but it was the first time I'd seen a Cole Porter piece staged and -- although I am quite familiar with many songs from the musical -- I had never seen a movie version or listened to a cast performance. The energy that poured off the stage was amazing...and much needed because the three of us had been up and running since early morning. I was particularly tired by the evening performance as I had been up since 2 a.m. trying to get enough work done in order to justify the "day off." Oh well...I slept all the way home, curled up in the back seat.

I wonder what productions 2005 will bring?

Best to all,

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