Friday, September 5, 2014

A simile from A.R. Gurney's notes for #The Waysside Motor Inn

In its own way reading a play can be as interesting   as seeing it,  especially if  the playwright hasn't abandoned   notes as so many modern  ones have.   This was not the case  with  A. R. Gurney's  1977  play  The Wayside Motor Inn, the first of the three  presented as part of his  2014  Residency One  at the  Signature Theater Center.    The playwright undertook   a complicated   concept  in that  he  assembled   five  vignettes  and  five  pairs of   characters for  a  ight in a motel outside of Boston.  Since  the rooms all look exactly alike,   all ten actors  commingle their  stories on one set.  

Mr. Gurney's   script notes    detail  exactly  how he wants to have the audience see the first character on stage,  a traveling salesman,  settle into his room:  "From his inside pocket, he takes his address book and ballpoint pen and places them by his briefcase. Then he opens his suitcase, takes out a partially used bottle of bourbon, and places it by the ice. Then he puts his suitcase on the rack over the closet.    He then  sums  "these instruction   up with  this simile: 

He is like a hunter staking down his campsite at the end of the day.
 For more about the play,  read  my review

Monday, July 21, 2014

A simile from #Renee Fleming's stage debut at WTF

Tony winning playwright Joe Di Pietro has adapted  Garson Kanin's  last play (a flop) to serve  as  opera star Renee Fleming's  stage debut.   She does just fine,  and Di Pietro and director  Katherine Marshall have   permeated  this new version  with  lots  of  musical  snippets for Fleming,  as well  as  Douglas Sills her director husband. Not having seen  the original,  I don't know  if this simile  in which  the  middle aged diva  retorts to her  philandering husband's  complaint about spending too much money on clothes as follows:

Your public stares at the back of your head.
        Mine drinks all this in, like a fine burgundy

To read my detailed overview with  images from the premiere production at Williamstown Theatre Festival, click this link:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

She wore her intelligence like an apron

  wore her intelligence like an apron, and her creativity like a pair of work shoes.
--Harvey Fierstein  on hearing about the  poet/playwright/performer's  death

Monday, May 19, 2014

Linda Lavin's latest monster mom arrives like some terrible hurricane

The  world premiere  of Nicky Silver's  play Too Much Sun  was written especially for Linda Lavin.    Like   Rita Lyons  of   Silver's last play for  Lavin,   Audrey Langham of Too Much Sun is a flamboyant, razor-tongued survivor  who is  as needy as she is   funny.
Audrey,  unlike  the once married Rita,  is  a much married, successful actress.  However, she is no more  content and, in fact, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, having lost her passion for acting as well as  all her money She therefore walks out  on the play she's to star in and  arrives  unannounced at her estranged  daughter's  house.

The  daughter's  reacts to  her mother's    sudden  visit and  shocking revelation about  her  financial status with this simile for  the mother's  unexpected  arrival:       
And then you show up, without warning, like some terrible
hurricane, and drop this bomb on me.
 Here's a link to my review of the play:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life is a cabaret. . .

Cabaret  is  as close to perfection as  musical theater can get  and currently  Alan Cumming is back at  Studio 54-cum-Kit Kat Klub in his career-making  role  as the  androgynous, serpentine Emcee.

One of  the  non-stop hit songs is, of course, a metaphor:   Life  is a cabaret.

The  title of  the  non-musical  adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's  wonderful  Berlin Stories,  was inspired by this metaphoric line: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking."
Here's a link to my review of the current revival:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

some similes gone missing from Act One the play

Moss Hart's  Act One  is one of  the best and most successful   memoirs by a theatrical   legend  ever written.   It  worked as  an inspirational guide for  future  theater professional,  but Hart's personal  rags-to-riches  story   was not limited  to theater aficionados.   Hart  wrote  touchingly and with enormous  psychological insight.   While James Lapine is   also  a noted  man of  the theater,  his  stage adaptation of  the  book is  an  enjoyable but flawed  entertainment.   It  retains much of  Hart's text  but some  of   the  most pungent   imagery (especially similes)   have  gotten lost in  translation.  To cite just a few of  these misplaced gems:

Aunt Kate sailed down the aisle like a great ship  coming into port. . .

The enormity of what I had done settled over me like a suit of mail.

optimism was again flowing through the theatre like May  wine. . .

I've  seen them   (plays  in previews)  go all kinds of  ways, but this was like spraying ether.

He waved me away as though I were an insect buzzing about his head. . .

With each new play the playwright is a Columbus sailing uncharted seas

Here too is a link to my review of the play:

Hedwig's Angry inch is "like a sideways grimace/on an eyeless face

No contest:  The smartest,  most exhilarating   transfer of a  downtown  show to Broadway  is  Hedwig and the Angry Inch --  and  the  most  amazing performance is  Neil Patrick Harris's   performance as the  transgendered title   character.   Here's a link to my review:

And for you fans of  figures of speech--  here a few lines with a simile from the  show-stopping title song. . .

  A One Inch Mound Of Flesh
 With A Scar Running Down It
 like A Sideways Grimace
On An Eyeless Face.