Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

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Industry produces wealth,

January 3, 2009

God speed the plow.

after being told that All My Sons was sold out, we decided on Speed-the-Plow, David Mamet’s play about 1980s Hollywood. It’s been in the news recently because its apparent star, The Pivster, dropped out due to mercury poisoning. He was turning into a thermometer? so no Ari Gold, but there was plenty of Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) and some dude who has bright blue eyes and is a Broadway regular (Raul Esparza).

Taking the Piv’s place is none other than the original Fiyero (Norbert Leo Butz). His voice is so distinct, I had Dancing Through Life running through my head for the entire 80 minutes of the production.

It felt like I was watching an episode of Entourage or something, since it deals with the head of production of a film studio, his best friend, and the temp. secretary. The dialogue was extremely David Mamet, which reminds me a lot of my good buddy Aaron Sorkin. lots of fast paced banter and repeated lines.

The play itself is quite short with three acts and no intermission. just the way i like it. nothing is worse than something that drags on and on when it doesn’t need to do so. It boasts a cast of three players, so there is little to focus on but their performances and the tacky but strangely appropriate 80s decor.

The acting was stunning. Stunning as in the first 5-ish minutes are non stop banter between Butz and Esparza. I felt the need to breathe for the both of them as they captivated and confused the audience right into their palms, securing our interest straight away. I was a little nervous to see my girl Pegs act because I’m never that convinced she’s any good when I watch Mad Men, but during Act II I was convinced that she’s got the goods. too bad she’s a Scientologist. Butz is wonderful, his voice carries so much emotion and having only taken the role at the tail end of December, he fit right into the cast as if it was his role from the beginning. After the stage faded to black and the curtain rose again, Esparza and Butz were in the midst of a bear hug, laughing and congratulating each other on a job well done. I bet the Piv never got that kind of reception at the end of the show from his castmates… and speaking of Esparza, I think he was my favorite of the bunch. His character was the one I identified with most, which is funny because he’s completely ruthless but sticks to his values and loyalties. Acting wise, I believed every sigh and pause for the lighting of a cigarette because his character was so defined. For a good portion of the show, I felt like I was watching a real piece of Hollywood business instead of a play on 47th St. to top it off, we had 7th row center seats, which was absolute perfection. it was the best place to sit to really see the wrinkles of the forehead and the shaking legs but not too close to where your neck needs a pillow.

i was also quite taken with the 80s fashion. it wasn’t over the top, but it was the small touches that made me chuckle and appreciate whoever did the job.

well played, show, well played.

i’ll close with the tag line on the poster because it sums up the show so well:

film is a collaborative business– bend over.

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