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Some dubious accomplishments since we last spoke

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My 40th high school reunion is approaching at the speed of a Presidential error in judgement. I have compiled a list of recent accomplishments to remind myself, and everyone else, that I am not a failure. I am the best. I am the greatest.

Just today, no lie, I won the pie eating contest at work! At 57 years old you might think I would have been outclassed by the many young folks competing but I have a very large mouth and really like vanilla pudding.  Never choose the chocolate pie, the flavor is too distracting. I was a bit distracted myself when the judge noted that my boss was pulling ahead. I then decided that breathing was not that important to me.

Also a few weeks ago I completed a theatrical performance where I had to shoot someone in the head on stage. Previously I have drugged children or cut them down with a wooden sword but this was my first time pulling a trigger. In real life, I am a notorious peacenik who  left a very lucrative employment situation at a military installation because I made myself sick. It is more difficult in real life to swallow one’s morals than it is on stage.

I am not a fan of guns and was the only one in the production to actually drop mine on the floor in rehearsal. But I managed to pull off this role because I was not myself, but a character. Even though  people call me a “character” there is a slight difference between being a character actor and a character. I am what they call a “double threat” when it comes to theatre. I would be a “triple threat” if I could dance without resembling a praying mantis doing an Irish jig.

Other grand accomplishments – I have now sung  “At the Cross, At the Cross, Where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away…” more times than I have heard the song “We are the World” played on the radio. My previous record for singing the same song over and over would be  “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” which I sang twice a day for a whole summer. Before that I believe I sang the role of Miss Mazeppa in “The Strippers song” from Gypsy nightly for a couple of summers in my backyard.

Last year I managed to get into an elevator wearing stilts.  This year I became addicted to the show “Victorian Slum House.” It is still a bit cold for stilts in Alaska but never too cold to watch people eating eels and trotters or trying to sleep in the doss house.

Oh I also slid into a telephone pole this winter in the company van, ripping off the handle to the wheelchair lift, effectively stranding a number of disabled people. Luckily, I have very nice co-workers who coordinated a rescue and mending of the handle. Did I mention that I did not have to take a drug test after this accident but did have to take a drug test after I got run over by a wheelchair?  I think this has to do with the idea of workman’s comp but still, what a waste of a drug test.

I tried frozen Russian cream cheese bars this year. Yummy! I have managed to avoid all flavors of Oreo cookies over the last few decades even though there are more of them springing up each month.

Mostly I am proud of having kept my sense of humor and my appetite, at least on most days.  Now time to break into my prize for winning the pie eating contest – a banana cream pie!

pie

This is what a winner looks like! Note the use of hairnet and plastic garbage bag vest. Napkin is placed in lap. Mouth appears to be full but plate is decidedly empty.

 

 

 

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Anxiety woman survives another Anchorage “winter”

I use the term “winter” quite loosely as it has been an unheard of 40 degrees F most everyday this week.  The Fur Rondy sled dog races were abbreviated from 30 miles to 3 as the dogs are mushing through slush brought in from the local snow dump. I biked to the fireworks tonight. I have done this before bundled up like a blimp but today I wore fingerless gloves and a light jacket. Note the lack of hats on these festival goers.

hats

You would think we Alaskans would rejoice in the warmth and lack of snow but instead we are MISERABLE!  It is darker when there is no snow to reflect the small amount of light we get. Also there is no skiing of any sort and now the skating is also impossible. Biking with studs and running with cleats are my fallbacks.

So here is how I got through this pseudo winter.

  1.  I paid no attention to the presidential campaign.  Sure, I laughed at some Trump memes on facebook. Especially the one my friend Luke posted of the entire library staff wearing a familiar hairdo.

2.    I didn’t force myself to blog, as I would have bored you to death with my petty problems and horrible anxiety about my new job. It is a pretty good job by the way but like most people I feel I am doing a horrible job when I start something new. Unlike most people, my mind exaggerates it to a life and death struggle and I accumulate as many stress related diseases I can manage to contract at one time.

3.   I did a play. It was an awesome opportunity as I only was onstage for two minutes so I had plenty of time to either be anxious or remind myself that I was having fun. One way I have fun is trying on hats. There’s no better place than a theater for outrageous hats.

fluff

Is this not one of the best hats ever? My costume was pretty cool too. I was playing a dead alcoholic in heaven. The play was Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June. You can’t find it on the internet because he hated the film but the play is hysterical.  Here’s another winning hat:

viking

I realize this is not for everyday wear but Easter is coming up.

By the way, this particular theater, Cyrano’s in Anchorage, has a lovely anti-anxiety poster backstage.

nix

When I catch myself thinking just how bad I could screw up, I remind myself that Richard Nixon just made things worse for himself by being all tense. Must have been very difficult to deal with getting impeached. If I lost my job or got kicked out of a show at least it wouldn’t be the biggest story of its day.

Here is some lovely headgear I wore today.

hairn

I am working at a nursing home. My costume was a 60’s waitress uniform. Our African American history celebration fell to me as the sole activity staff working on Saturdays. I came up with a successful theme – The Integration Cafe ( like a much nicer place than the Woolworth’s where the black students were not served.) Since we had already used up our entire budget for the month, all we needed were pies and a bit of ingenuity.  Everyone was encouraged to sit by someone they didn’t know well, I served pie and ice cream shakes ( we already had the ice cream and the milk!). We watched an excellent film on the music of the civil rights movement, followed by  someone who had prepared a solo and a spontaneous sing-a-long of songs from the movement. I had library books on The Harlem Renaissance, The Tuskegee Airmen and such on the cafe tables and photocopies of famous and not so famous African American pioneers.  Can you tell I am proud! I’ve come a long way from hating myself completely! The singing helps. Also the family members and friends of the residents who helped out. I feel like I am part of a team now.

So I have to remind myself that I can always try on a hat. There are many people to help out if I only ask. There is always chocolate and I don’t have to beat myself up for eating it when I’m anxious and depressed because very soon I will have A DENTAL PLAN!!!!

 

 

Life Backstage

Behind the stagelights lurks a dark room with half clothed women.

Behind the stage lights lurks a dark room with half clothed women.

Back stage lurks a shadow life of what you see from the audience.The crazy antics you see on stage don’t spring from nowhere. They’re fueled with real life wackiness.  Actors are collectively a bundle of nerves, and intestines, which can explode under pressure.

On occasion, I have been strongly advised to light a match after I finished my business in the toilet despite the fact that most theaters are fire traps. Just like nervous sweat smells different than regular sweat, nervous poop has a certain tang to it.

I tend to fart and swear when I get nervous. Because I have grey hair, it is pretty humorous when I say the word M*F*er.  After I emerge from the light booth, where I can surreptitiously check out the audience,  I might comment, “Ooh, there’s quite a few M*F*er’s out there tonight!”  It’s not about you. It’s about me. I want to make the other actors laugh.

It’s fun to make people laugh onstage and a challenge I relish backstage. Actors take themselves very seriously before and during a show.. No one wants to forget their lines or look bad.  Messing up lines is expected on my part.  I know myself. I’m never going to be perfect. Modeling failure gives other people a chance to shine and to not feel like they’re alone when they blow it. I have seen a great correlation between people who get every word right and a lack of humanity but perhaps that’s just my jealous rage speaking.

At the end of the first act I found myself getting warped and woofing in a quick costume change.Then I realized I could go on stage in disarray and continue to dress while there.  By trying to control the outcome backstage I had deprived myself of business onstage. It is never good to be slave to perfection. Theatre is about making clay look like marble, but even realistic marble needs a few cracks.

One of the ways we obsessively control our nerves backstage is through food.

Shove this food in your mouth before you scare the other actors

Shove this food in your mouth before you scare the other actors

I got into my character, (the crazy mom), by making the food for the dinner in the first scene. It was always pasta but i changed it up each night with the sauces and spices. One night about two tablespoons of garlic powder fell into the pasta. It was too late to make more so I scraped off what I could and hoofed it down to the show. My odoriferous entrance was noted and concerns were voiced about the effects on at least one of the kisses in the second act. I countered with the overwhelming benefit of smell-o-rama making our dinner scene all the more believable. It certainly cleared out the sinuses. There was none left over at the end of the show.

My biggest success was with cleaning up backstage before our last show. I was picking up empty water bottles, peppered figs and other assorted and sordid trash from the floor when I spied a plastic grocery bag under the couch.  In it was a box of unopened “Gourmet chocolates from Canada” with a thank you note.  Since none of our actors or crew was named “Rachel” we opened up the note to find out that Rachel had done a fine job supporting the children in some long ended production for which Henry’s parents wanted to thank her with this gift. So thank you Henry’s parents for the nice gift. I’m sure Rachel did not forget these delicious chocolates. She was probably just allergic to them. For about a hundred and ten seconds, people acted like the chocolate was too old to eat and that it would be tacky to devour it, until they did. It was gone by intermission.

So besides being a 55 year old woman with cellulite having to take off her pants and shirt in front of a bunch of twenty somethings in the blue light of pretty tight quarters, life was not that bad backstage. When I feel my real life is sad and useless I think of how badly I had to go to the bathroom each night right when we were supposed to start and  how I would forget about it while I was onstage trying to look relaxed and get the words out of my mouth. The mind and the body can be fools and they can fool others. It’s called acting.

shirts

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My life as a snob

Yes, I am lonely at times but I will die with my unspoken standards held high.  We all have unreasonable expectations, some of us are just more unreasonable than others.  Let us speak of our discerning palate before we die of emotional hunger.

Humor

I would love to be a humor omnivore but alas I am not. I have been known to laugh at talking animals but that is an unhealthy weakness. Here is an example of the level of humor I would like my friends and I to share, were it possible, on a daily basis.

I will never be so funny.  Maybe I would if I were undead, or surrounded by like minded people or undead people. It is a shame to have such high standards. I don’t know what I would do if a person did not find this film funny. I might shed a tear at their shallow sensitivities and allow for their simple delight in Transformers. I might have to move very far away from them before I barfed.

I also find comedy that addresses racial and political issues funny as long as it is not on a fake news show. Please stop this trite setup. I know it is a money maker which is loved by millions as was Mad Magazine and The Three Stooges. I confess that this dislike might arise because I would prefer anyone but a white man to deliver my comedy. Now my prejudices are revealed and my advice will be discredited and discarded. Oops, it almost always is anyway.

Dessert

I hate boxed brownie mix. It’s the Pringles of dessert.  I have met brownies that were overpriced, salty, gritty, hard and then there are the unfathomable “cake like” brownies.  No one loves a hybrid. Eat cake if you want cake!  There are many good brownies in Anchorage. George and Deb at Side Street Café have a good gluten free one. If you want to be sure of quality I instruct you to look for The Illusions label. Illusions is a wholesale bakery in Spenard which sells the highest quality of moist brownie-ness to retailers in the Anchorage area.

So you don’t live in Anchorage? How about this?

It was enormous!

It was enormous!

This I had in Paris. I shared it with my sister but just barely.  Giant raspberry macarons have not hit Alaska yet but there are many ripe berries poking out in the alley up the street from me. They are fair game as far as I am concerned. Raspberries look like little crowns because they are the king of berries. Strawberries and blueberries are so weirdly large and bland when cultivated. I suppose fresh home grown ones are okay. Even a frozen raspberry is a gift from God. If you doubt what I say, visit The Holocaust Memorial in Boston where you will find this.

A tribute to love and to life

A tribute to love and to life

and to a raspberry.

I don’t care for dark chocolate. I am not that kind of a snob. I am a shaky snob and the higher the cacao content, the more I shake and the less I sleep. I don’t like coffee for the same reason. Drink whatever beer you want. I do not judge as it means nothing to me.

Writing

I enjoy the occasional Viking in Ireland novel or Icelandic murder mystery but really one can not beat existential or post-apocalyptic fiction. I can not fathom why The Road was an Oprah’s book club choice. Was she high? I don’t believe Oprah and I read the same books.  She may have some choices that were not necessarily mass marketed. We may actually have more in common than our love of bright colors and lack of desire for matrimony.

I do not like fancy decorative writing about birds or the desert. I want something that is less fine and detailed, something that has character not bouquet.  I may have a mediocre mind but I want to see some angst sans literary musings on anything less than the suffering of humanity. Do not try to uplift me with your American Sniper or your Unbroken heroes.  They are just that, heroes. I want to hear about you and me and the other broken snobs of the world.  That should be my new name for a book club.

Theatre 

I get lonelier by the minute. I like theatre, but I can’t see plays for which I auditioned  and did not get cast. Sorry, I am an actor and I am insane.  I have given up on  ever seeing Wicked but still embrace the possibility of seeing Hamilton. As a mediocre actor, I am accepting of mediocre acting. I can not stand poor direction.  I figure a good cook should be able to produce a good meal even If they have slightly withered produce or a tough piece of meat. If you put yourself in charge then don’t blame the vegetables! I do not care to see Arsenic and Old Lace again or even hear its name spoken, please.

Music

I prefer popular music that is not about love. I despise love unless it is broken. I am single. I like broken people. I don’t trust unbroken ones. But I repeat myself. I like happy songs as long as the people aren’t in love. If you like love songs, I look down on you. You believe in magic and probably have visited Disneyland. I will not. I am a vampire who can not tolerate the sun and has many roommates. We have turned away from and are turned away from Disneyland.  These people I live with are men. They  force me at times to listen to their musical choices which I can not fathom without a shot of testosterone to ease the translation. They let their musical tastes define them. I let my distaste for all define me. I embrace diversity of taste only because I find it  so entertaining and challenging. I like real drag queens but I can not enjoy The Rocky Horror Picture Show no matter how hard I try. Its sad. They have auditions so often.

I’m sure you’re a snob about something if not about everything like I am. Let me know in the comments so I can laugh with/at you.

The dreams of the mothers

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I am not this person, I am playing this person

I am not this person, I am playing this person

I was in a short film today. This was a dream I inherited from my mother.  She might have enjoyed it more than I did but perhaps not. I  love the idea of  being in films but I would rather not be paid because I act better when I am playing than when I am performing. Today we attacked the issue of power and bullying in University faculties. When performing this live, my sense of play was activated by the effort to involve a live audience. Today, I had no audience or perhaps I had just my invisible one, my mother. After thirteen takes, I could feel tears building. I reminded myself that tears are important messengers whether they rise from sadness, shame or frustration. They are however, incredibly inconvenient when one is playing a professional scholar who is supposed to be in control. I shoved them down, cursing my sensitivity. I longed for the gift of play. My mother was always playing, even when she worked. Some days I can get there. Today was not one of them.  I was tired. When I was alone I wept and that is how I came to write this.

My mother liked people to think of her as “ballsy.” She actually was sensitive and easily discouraged.  She didn’t have enough cheerleaders for her team.  Most people want to be seen as confident and competent but there are a few of us clowns who  challenge this idea because of the damage it does to our humanity. My mother never hid the fact that she stayed back a grade and was not considered college material. She was an avid reader and forward thinker.  She seemed only allowed to be proud of her children, her singing and her good looks.

I notice on the set that much of this thinking is still with us. The women get extensive color makeup, the men just a base.  In the 1980’s I wore just as much eye shadow and lipstick as any other woman or man but I wear much less now. I’m older. The creases show. I live in Alaska, a state which produces red cheeks even on the warmest of our summer days. I still rise above the wearing of fleece anywhere outside a campground. I think a lot. I read a lot. I dress up just as oddly as I ever did. I never grew out of my David Bowie phase. I admit to purposefully trying to confuse people about my gender over the years and have embraced not fitting in. My mother tried her best to protect me from this choice. She enrolled me in a beauty contest because she participated in them and enjoyed them, but I could not tolerate it. She saw me closing in on myself and attempted to pull me out through theatre. I enjoyed theatre the most when I could clown or challenge the status quo. That is the part of her I carry off best.

Today, one of the actors introduced himself as an attorney who is currently engaged in three theatre projects. I introduced myself as a comedian with little experience in film and asked for the patience of the crew.  He chose high status and I chose low. He talked on and on throughout the shoot probably as a way to tame his own anxiety. I stayed quiet. At one point, the director noted that I didn’t seem relaxed. “Be less stiff”, “Have you ever tried yoga?” This is about as kind as film directors get but I still felt like punching her. She was probably just as frustrated as I was. As my eyes threatened to drain down my airbrushed cheeks I focused in on the other actor in order to ground myself. He looked away.  Honesty is frightening . This made me laugh because I thought – he might be feeling superior now but he would fail a class in Meisner Technique! Afterwards the sound technician told me he appreciated my performance because he could hear compassion in my voice. That was the inside part of me I could bring to the role even if I could not impersonate a person in complete control.

Living in a wealthy community, working as a housecleaner and an aide to the elderly, I think my mother gave up trying to wear the middle class mask. She could be herself and fall to pieces around her friends Grace Walsh , Lillian Theriault and Pat O’Leary Steech, Chukki Mains. We all need a place to play and a place to fall apart. Then we have the energy to try something new. My mother learned to drive at age forty.  She was at her best in the moment, playing with the neighborhood kids, dressing up for a date and singing as she hung out the clothes. I am at my best when I remember that film is not a dream. It’s a “cool medium” which inspires not through the perfection of its actors but through the humanity of its stories.

My mother’s story, the story of one woman and many women, has moved forward incrementally  through my life.  Just because I  don’t have children, her dreams do not die. They live in each honest tear and each dream approached,  however hesitantly. Keep the faith.

My mother goofing around with her sister Audrey

My mother goofing around with her sister Audrey

If you have lived a dream of your mother’s, one she had for you, or for herself, feel free to share it in the comments!

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When expectations kill… auditioning for the theatre!

 

 And I don’t mean kill like in stand up comedy!

I went to an audition yesterday with high expectations. I had an email from the artistic director of the theatre, not the director of the play, but still pretty flattering.  The artistic director did improv in the 1960’s. The director of the play  is a classically trained actor. The director of the play announced that although there were women who were at the audition she couldn’t see using them in any part but one, even though it was an improv based play.  Some of the humor in the play was  based on cross dressing but I could easily see my way around that. Cross dressing is so Benny Hill anyway. Theatre is supposed to open and welcoming to people of all races and folks in wheelchairs etc but at least she read us for all the parts if we asked.

  After all these years I still hesitate to call myself an actor. I’m more a comedian and an improvisor.  I don’t have a degree in theatre, I am an attention magnet because of my height.  When I’m onstage you don’t know what is going to happen and that isn’t what most directors want.  I am also political so this can be dicey for people who just want to have fun or play it safe. One of the reasons I like to write my own shows and do improv is that I can challenge the status quo.  But just being known for that is not a good thing either. I try to find a balance. Sometimes I fall from a great height. That’s usually because my expectations took me there.

I thought I was going to have fun doing an improv audition but I got real nervous.  My hands shook harder than usual, like I was at sea and it seemed so dark in the theatre that I couldn’t read the script.  I forgot I had been sick and hadn’t slept the last few nights. My expectations of my own performance and of how I would be received were dragging me down.  After a couple hours I had used up all my  nervous energy. I hadn’t paced myself. As a young person I never had to, but being over 50, with no sleep, makes pacing imperative unless you are using cocaine or something a la Michael Jackson ( same age as me and dead due to pacing errors). 

At the end,  we had to improvise a book in 30 seconds.  Some of the improvs  seemed longer than the books themselves.  I couldn’t think of what to do. Everyone was trying so hard to be smart and funny.  I gave up on trying to impress people with my acting. I used my last twenty seconds to kill my chances. I  got up and told them that I read too many serious books. I thought about doing the white characters in 12 years a Slave at which point there was a sick silence. Instead I took the last 15 seconds to act out Yossarian reacting to the face of the tail gunner in Catch 22. I told them what Catch 22 was. I didn’t tell them that I feel that being an artist is like Catch 22. You have to be crazy to be one and you have to be crazy like me to be excluded. 

I feel like that about being a therapist. Most people know that therapists and social workers have their own mental health issues which may have consciously or unconsciously brought them into the field.  At my job I am a peer provider, meaning that I share my own mental health challenges with the people I serve so that they can travel the road together with all of us in recovery.  When I went public about my mental health challenges I didn’t think I had much to lose. I don’t hide my anxiety or depression very well. I can be seen as passionate or damn angry, thoughtful or negative, goofy or unhinged, funny or scary.  I did not think that I might want to foster a child or house an exchange student one day  when my mental health recovery would be looked upon as a failing.   Apparently this is something to be considered.

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Angry actress

 

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goofy actress

 

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Unpredictable actress given a powerful weapon – a microphone!

The good thing about the audition is that I see more where I fit in. I can focus on doing political improv, even feminist improv. It will be difficult to find people who want to do this in Alaska but then maybe I need a change of venue.  I need to take an inventory before I go into the theatre. If I’m run down, I can try to have fun but not expect miracles. I can appreciate that every audition is a performance for an audience.  I can remember back to the time when I had good auditions and didn’t get the part  and auditions where I was so depressed I hardly got through the lines and yet I got the part because they were looking for someone who could play depressed! I can also remember that I’m brought to the theatre for my own illness (wanting others to accept me and laugh) as well as for my own healing( to claim the stage authentically.)

May you enjoy and learn from all of life’s auditions. I felt pretty bad yesterday but I feel better today.  And may the odds forever be in your favor. 

 

 

Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein

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Left: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Creature)
Jonny Lee Miller (Victor Frankenstein)
Right: Jonny Lee Miller (The Creature)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Victor Frankenstein)
Photos by Catherine Ashmore http://www.londontheatre.co.uk/londontheatre/reviews/frankenstein2011.htm

Adapted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, The National Theatre in London was savvy enough to film this production for the balconies in America and the rest of the world.  If you’re a fan of the BBC series Sherlock, invest the time and money to see the film or rent the dvd when it’s available. Why?  The story, the acting, the theatrical setting, it’s all great. It’s a straight theatre show so might actually bore some folks but it’s fun to see Mr. Cumberbatch play one of those roles which Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder cautioned  Ben Stiller about playing. That would be the “special person”, the handicapped one with the odds against him. Not every actor can pull it off but some get awards for it. These guys did.

The creature appeared to me to be like a man who was damaged, not just by his lack of parents but through the unlikely survival of his birth.  I was reminded of  the folks like me, and possibly you, who might have been dead a hundred years ago if not for modern medications and procedures. I particularly thought of how many war veterans may return to a society who is so obsessed with conventional beauty  and “normal” parameters of behavior that they are considered monsters of sorts.

I read a few things about the show online  which made me think. Cumberbatch says the show is about bad parenting.  This is too simplistic for me unless we want to get all Universal and label God a bad parent.  I’m guessing Cumberbatch didn’t have bad parents because being abandoned by your father and being nurtured by a blind man doesn’t seem so harsh to me. I really don’t know what it would be like to be the only one in the world without a biological mother but I bet someone will as soon as science gets around to it. I will admit that my view is skewed as I have been in therapy of one kind or another for decades and have become a therapist so I have heard a number of more dramatic tales than this. Blaming the bad parent is common but  makes little sense since the monster might have just as easily absorbed the emotional lessons the blind man gave him as he did the intellectual ones. Everyone thinks that they are the only one of their kind, with the saddest fate possible. I think this is nearer to the crux of the story than bad parenting. It reminds me that Cumberbatch is a fine actor but I’m not sure if he’s a good psychologist. Although, that said, many people, myself included, chase after the parent who has abandoned us in various ways all of our lives. Some of us eventually find that parent within ourselves. Scary!  Aversion itself is an intense form of attachment which is certainly at play between the two leads in this production.

The next point I would like to differ on is that Doctor Frankenstein and The Monster are polar opposites of one another or mirror images. I would say, like father and son, they are very similar. They both appear to be intellectually gifted but emotionally stunted. There is a line where The Doctor’s father says Frankenstein was such a lively young boy which reminded me of Cumberbatch’s first moments as the monster, learning to walk like a toddler, feeling the rain, the grass. But when The Monster can’t control the feelings of others he needs to change them by destroying them. The Doctor would also like to create a human he can control. At first the chaos of the world is enticing to them and then as the chaos turns on them as it will, they attempt to control it with violence and mechanisation.

I thought the major difference between The Monster and The Doctor was that The Monster acted as if his temper were the result of a severe brain injury as might be expected in having an entire head transplant! The Doctor has no such excuse so his violence, though less physical and more emotional, is also less forgivable. It appears as though Viktor’s desire to question and break rules is a reaction to his father being a magistrate. Has that relationship then wrought the fate of the entire family down to The Creature? Doubtful.

One review said that Cumberbatch was not as effective in the role of The Monster as Mr. Miller was.I can imagine this might be true. I found Cumberbatch very interesting to watch but only sympathetic on an intellectual level.  It was the situation, the missed connections and longing for love from those who could not give it which I found sad.  The film was long and depressing, as it should be, so I could not convince myself to buy a ticket for the next night to see Miller as The Monster. I’m sure Cumberbatch would be a great Viktor as he plays a nasty intellectual so well on Sherlock.

As far as theatre goes,  I can see why it still thrives in Britain while we Americans have favored films. Theatre requires  the kind of work that most audiences here are not used to doing. I was exhausted after watching this film. Yet it works because the actors are working a hundred times harder than we are and you can smell their sweat. No matter what film actors tell you, it’s not the same. When the train ploughed onto the stage I was wondrous, when the fire was lit I was mesmerized. The light piece, which is the feature of several scenes, is at once lovely and frightening. When I watch special effects in most films they leave me cold as they are trying too hard to convince me. It takes much trust but few materials to do this.Perhaps  theatre is too expensive for the majority of people in the U.S. and can’t be mass produced like most of our products. Or maybe, as Mr. Cumberbatch says, it’s just a result of bad parenting.

I have been a mediocre actor, but a good comedian for years. I’ve seen many plays and know that this is a piece that feels epic in scope. I remember an acting class where we were told that all good theatre is about  sex, death and God. This one is. Don’t miss it. Let me leave you with one last image “KHAAAAAANNNNNN!”