You know a play is written well when you keep recalling snippets of dialogue well into the next day. And you know that a piece is performed well when the actors’ facial expressions and vocal inflections so inform your understanding of the content as to become inseparable in your mind from their soliloquies.
Thursday, October 16, 2008 to Sunday, October 19, 2008The Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
Happy Fathers’ Day! Any father attending The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde at the Guthrie may feel that he has done a wonderful job in comparison to Oscar Wilde. (Who knew the famously gay Irishman had kids? All we talked about in English Lit was his work: The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan….)
A gifted and renowned poet, author and playwright, Oscar Wilde (Matthew Greer) married a lady, as 19th Century gentlemen were expected to do, and then took pouty playboy Lord Alfred Douglas (Brandon Weinbrenner) as his lover. His dalliances with other gay and bisexual men, as well as drinking and indiscriminate spending, earned Wilde an unholy reputation as well as a prison sentence.
Anyone who’s read my blog from the beginning knows that the voice of Thomasina Petrus leaves me breathless, and that I admire her talent and her work ethic as both an actor and a producer. (This view is not at all influenced by the drunken pleasure I derive from her butter-laden home-made cashew brittle.) But of the myriad characters and concerts I’ve seen Thomasina perform, none has touched me more than her title role in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, an end-of-life vignette of jazz singer Billie Holiday, at Park Square Theatre.
I had anticipated a special performance, not because of the profusion of public relations material sent my way, but because I heard Thomasina “try out” this character last year in a show at The Capri Theater. She introduced a Billie Holiday song by saying it was her goal to someday “channel” the troubled and transcendent jazz legend on stage. I recall hearing a distinctly different voice from Thomasina that evening, but it still felt like emulation. In Lady Day, the actor/singer becomes Billie Holiday as she might have appeared at a Philadelphia nightclub four months before her death. read more »
Friday, April 18, 2008 to Sunday, April 27, 2008The Neighborhood House, Paul & Sheila Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul
Thursday, April 17, 2008 to Wednesday, April 30, 2008Ordway Center's McKnight Theatre, 345 Washington St, St Paul
Friday, April 11, 2008 to Sunday, April 27, 2008Illusion Theater and various venues, see below
Friday, March 14, 2008 to Saturday, April 12, 2008
During my weekly radio show days, there were times when I felt woozy with a cold, but I would slog it out for two hours anyway because the listening audience was doing their part, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. Callers said my voice sounded sultry, which is fine. But had I crossed the line into froggy, I would have hired a sub or pieced together a “best of” show.
Vocal chord martyrdom is silly. I once heard a laryngitic colleague croaking out her on-air interviews, and vowed that I would never make listeners suffer like that. I understood her position—when you’re a pro, it’s “on with the show.” But when the malady becomes the performance, a real pro will step aside for the sake of the audience.
Twice in the past few months, I’ve witnessed the machismo of seasoned and talented actors who should have been lying in bed but chose the spotlight instead. They were not doing their fans any favors. read more »