Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday: White, blue, Read & seen

Woke up Monday to a Winter Wonderland -- woe is me! Not that I have to grab a snow shovel and do battle-- the Home Front at the moment is allowing me to shirk that duty-- but just looking at all that white stuff and adding up the days and realizing that it is merely MidWinter in New England is depressing enough to make me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. Wake me when it's spring!
Then I read the depressing News. And the depressing Blogs about the News. And the emails from Noble Causes asking me to send them money so that they can defend All That I Hold Dear from the greedy and power-drunk forces bent upon the destruction of the global environment and our constitutional democracy. That's the most depressing of all! Is there some innovative-- or miraculous-- way to use "good" money that doesn't buy into and reinforce the bad "one dollar one vote" system that is the problem??? The Regime currently has 39% approval and 70% of the political contributions. No way to run a representative government.....

Back to My Life in Art. Monday I did a little blogging, and had a lesson from experienced blogger Will Stackman on how to add links to StageBlog. I worked on but didn't complete a couple of monologues for the One Minute Mouth-Off audition pieces I'm posting on Stagepage. I puttered around putting away various items from my rehearsals and prop and costume stuff loaned to FLOWERS OF RED.
Monday night Will and I went to the opening of Bryony Lavery's FROZEN at the New Rep, in their impressive new theatre at the recently opened modernist Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. (Will's review of FROZEN is on his On The Aisle web site. I haven't read Will's review yet, so any comments I make about the play aren't related to his opinion.) I went reluctantly: I'm alternately tender-hearted and strong-minded and a play about a serial killer of children is not something I approach lightly. But the play's history -- it won prizes, and it was attacked as plagiarism because the main character is based on the work and life of a living American psychologist, recognizable to her friends and followers-- as well as its challenging subject-- make it a "must see" for me, and I would guess for any woman playwright. Lavery, who is English, has been writing plays since the 1970s, and although I've read descriptions of her work this is the first opportunity I've had to see any of it. The New Rep's production seems to me to be an excellent one: I can only say "thank you". FROZEN is a three character play about "hot button" issues, and I can imagine it in an up-close-and-personal production that is awash in sensationalism and sentimentality. But director Adam Zahler takes the title seriously. The set is a wide expanse of white, sand standing in for snow and ice. The characters are distant on the dwarfing stage, isolated and frozen, with no warmth flowing between them or to the audience. They are in such pain that they are numb between eruptions. Though the precision of the play's observation does evoke empathetic pain in the audience, and like quite a few other spectators I found myself weeping when Nancy Carroll described her reaction to seeing her murdered daughter's bones, the appeal of Lavery's script is almost entirely to intelligence: this is how the animals we call humans function, and this how damage happens, and what damage may do. Given what we are, and what we know, how can we live? The answers implied are not comfortable, but Lavery's lines have the ring of truth to them.


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