Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Absurd theatre is current again in NYC

Final NYC theatre totals:

2 experimental opera pieces
2 plays by my two favorite playwrights.

This post will focus on the plays.

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett was playing at Studio 54 with an all star cast: Nathan Lane as Estragon and Bill Irwin as Vladimir. John Goodman as Pozzo and John Glover as Lucky. The most startling thing about the show was the set. Lots of realistic fake rocks stacked up around a diagonal playing lane. Big theatre, so the void had to be filled with more than a black stage floor with a scrawny tree growing out of it. We were in the mid mezzanine seats, pretty high up. Could not hear every word, alas. This just started in previews, so hopefully they'll get the audio levels up.

Bonus points for anyone who can post a link to the definitive, authoritative pronunciation of "Godot."

Had much better seats for Exit the King at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, a charming place to see a play. Fourth row center for this one, and what a treat it was! An Ionesco classic that I have never seen performed before. This production originated in Australia with Geoffrey Rush as King Berringer in a new translation/adaptation by the director Neil Armfield. and Mr Rush. The set was amazing and inventive, as were the costumes. The royals all had long heavy velvet capes that stretched out at least ten feet that became obstacles and twisted burdens that the actors pulled about the stage with them while the king refused to prepare to make his final exit. The acting was brilliantly physical, the concept and design and direction of it -- everybody involved with this production deserves great applause. Hope it gets a national tour.

More on the operas in the next post.

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