Suzanne sent me this NYT interview with Ned Beatty, who is playing Big Daddy in the current Broadway run of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Mr. Beatty has always been an amazing stage actor, and the reviews appear to bear that out--his costars, Ashley Judd and Jason Patric, are not receiving anywhere near as good notices. SImply put, they don't have the chops to be on live stage. Most TV and film stars don't--why would they? Learning how to make things work in a film is entirely different than the moment-to-moment high-wire of theater. There are always exceptions--Beatty mentions Brendan Fraser, who actually trained as a stage actor years ago at Cornish with friends of mine, and apparently can make things work on stage. Beatty is candid, but condemns the necessity of casting these stars who simply can't do their jobs.
Speaking of the NYT, there's a great Talk of The Town piece in The New Yorker about a man who reads every day's issue of the New York Times. He's seventy-nine, and because it takes upward of two and a half hours a day to get through it he's actually behind--so every day he's reading news that happened over a year ago. It's a nicely observed portrait of a non-destructive obsession.
We sold out the theater on Saturday, for the closing of 21DY, and then again on Sunday for The Ugly American...from what the ticket office can tell they think they turned away as many folks as came to see the Sunday show, which means about 1,000 people wanted to see my work that night--I am still wrapping my head around that, but I have to say that I couldn't have received a more splendid gift for the end of this run at Intiman.
We did the show with the theater half-converted over to Black Nativity, and it actually gave us a "set" that was incredibly beautiful--a lot of the wood was still a warm, unpainted color, and the blacks (curtains) were tied aloft so you could see the forest of ropes in many colors that support the fly system. Down center they put a great looking oak table from the conference room, and I set there, on a stool, with my outline, a cup of water and a handkerchief. It was so wonderfully composed...I have the funniest feeling I am going to be returning to this image again and again when it comes time to look for sets for this show.
It was a birth, like it always is when I do the show the first time, and it seems that when you are having your fourth child you have either learned lamaze, have gotten drugs...or maybe having 500 eager midwives makes the whole thing easier, because it was a joy. The words leapt out of me, and most importantly so did the silences--I took the time that was needed, which is usually a pacing problem in the first telling, because I'm scared and don't know what comes at each turn and so have a tendency to overdrive and punch through things. Instead the pace was varied, had nice flow and form, and many of the moments I knew were risks acquitted themselves honorably and didn't explode.
It feels so good to have another show up and alive. I have so much work to do, and I'm so ready to do it.