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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

I wear black for St. Paddy's day
for it marks the passing of
my Grand Daddy

I never got to say hello
let alone goodbye
as he left us some three years
and a few months
before I was born

a small granite stone on Staten Island
marks his final spot

I miss my father now so much more than ever,
as he missed his father,
now they are together

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov

What a gem. We love CSC, we love the space, and the other night the space was filled with theatrical heavy hitters from Tony Kushner, to Lyn Redgrave…and that was just the audience! I will not pretend to be erudite enough to explore all the layers of meaning I witnessed, suffice to say I learned quite a bit about Chekov, Vanya and theatre in general from such an intimate and powerful portrayal. One of my favorite revelations, the three stages of relationship between man and woman: “Acquaintance, lover, friend.”

It was a long play, yet we were riveted and hung on every word. Good theatre compresses time, and this was a jam packed evening of work which inspires us and never tires us. Nights like this are why we love theatre, why our passion depends on it. What my wife and I share we share through this medium like making love.

Dennis O’Hare was masterful as Vanya, his was an un-assuming portrait of the middle-aged, cynical, yet responsible bachelor exploding with a fury of the quietly desperate. Peter Sarsgaard as the pathetically idealistic and obsessed doctor exposed the tireless physician as overworked, oversexed and completely self absorbed despite his noble causes for saving humankind from itself. Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of our favorite live actresses. We saw here a few years back in Kushner’s “Homebody Kabul” and were thoroughly impressed with her chops. She does not disappoint here and plays a realistic Yelena, brutally honest and totally sympathetic. Over-all I would liken this performance, directed artfully by Austin Pendleton, to a hot night of Jazz music playing blues chords and torch songs with a mute Miles Davis trumpet reaching inside and working at your guts. You marvel at the work, the technique, the craft, but also cannot help but be swept into another dimension be the visceral quality, the absolute spontaneity of every word, every note. We stayed up until one discussing it, and we left before the talk-back began. Bravo.