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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All in the timing



Tonight, my husband and I rushed to the 59th East 59th theatres tonight, to see, at its Primary Stages location,  to see All in the Timing by David Ives, because of two of its six one-acts, those called “Philip Glass buys a Loaf of Bread” and “Variations on the Death of Trotsky…” The Philip Glass spoof was delightful, with the familiar repetitions and stock-still freezes, and all the play on the loaf of bread, disappearing, reappearing erotically, to say the least, and all of this with the Glass figure surrounded by a chef and two waitresses, all in white and dancing their parts while not repeating mechanically. Yes, it was just like Philip Glass lite. “Variations on The Death of Trotsky “ seemed heavy-handed to me, as did another play on monkeys recreating Milton, Swift, and Kafka. The first monkey gets his reference with a lost paradise, and the last, Kafka, with the sticking letter “k” on his typewriter.. Dreary. Must have gone to sleep for the part about Swift… Lots of coincidences, as often: in “Sure Thing,” the first one-acter, had to do with the heroine reading Faulkner, and there I was, clutching The Unvanquished by the very same Faulkner, to read at intermission. That surprise didn’t help a lot, however, it still seemed weighty comic stuff.

My very favorites were a play on “the Universal Language,” with a startlingly convincing composite bunch of invented words one could all the same understand, and an equally convincing plot, and the hysterically funny “the Philadelphia,” about one’s bad mood simply being a “Philadelphia,” in which you say the opposite of what you want in order to secure it. I found myself laughing aloud, which, I like to think, my husband didn’t mind (he loved all 6 plays, unlike me), and the person on my right was LOUDLY coughing straight ahead – forget this nestling one’s nose into one’s own arm or then covering one’s mouth, or anything like that. No way. Glad we went, but it is 11 degrees outside, and inside is a lot more agreeable.

Ah, we had another reading party: how I enjoy these! Everyone brings something to enthuse about, and what a bunch of interesting stuff! Adam Frank’s About Time, , Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Keats’ “Eve of St. Agnes,” Saramago on the life of Christ, Machado de Assis on writing posthumously, some Janis Joplin writing, some Jorie Graham ( the wonderful “San Sepulchro” about Piero della Francesca, and Robert Hass’s “Meditation atLagunitas,” about loss and finding, and the word being “elegy to what it signifies..” So much of Hass’s poetry is that serious and that joyous: it ends by celebrating “blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.” We shared what we ate and drank some simple red wine, and listened to each other. From my point of view, perfect.  I never joined a book club , but would happily do more reading things…



Tonight, my husband and I rushed to the 59th East 59th theatres tonight, to see, at its Primary Stages location,  to see All in the Timing by David Ives, because of two of its six one-acts, those called “Philip Glass buys a Loaf of Bread” and “Variations on the Death of Trotsky…” The Philip Glass spoof was delightful, with the familiar repetitions and stock-still freezes, and all the play on the loaf of bread, disappearing, reappearing erotically, to say the least, and all of this with the Glass figure surrounded by a chef and two waitresses, all in white and dancing their parts while not repeating mechanically. Yes, it was just like Philip Glass lite. “Variations on The Death of Trotsky “ seemed heavy-handed to me, as did another play on monkeys recreating Milton, Swift, and Kafka. The first monkey gets his reference with a lost paradise, and the last, Kafka, with the sticking letter “k” on his typewriter.. Dreary. Must have gone to sleep for the part about Swift… Lots of coincidences, as often: in “Sure Thing,” the first one-acter, had to do with the heroine reading Faulkner, and there I was, clutching The Unvanquished by the very same Faulkner, to read at intermission. That surprise didn’t help a lot, however, it still seemed weighty comic stuff.

My very favorites were a play on “the Universal Language,” with a startlingly convincing composite bunch of invented words one could all the same understand, and an equally convincing plot, and the hysterically funny “the Philadelphia,” about one’s bad mood simply being a “Philadelphia,” in which you say the opposite of what you want in order to secure it. I found myself laughing aloud, which, I like to think, my husband didn’t mind (he loved all 6 plays, unlike me), and the person on my right was LOUDLY coughing straight ahead – forget this nestling one’s nose into one’s own arm or then covering one’s mouth, or anything like that. No way. Glad we went, but it is 11 degrees outside, and inside is a lot more agreeable.

Ah, we had another reading party: how I enjoy these! Everyone brings something to enthuse about, and what a bunch of interesting stuff! Adam Frank’s About Time, , Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Keats’ “Eve of St. Agnes,” Saramago on the life of Christ, Machado de Assis on writing posthumously, some Janis Joplin writing, some Jorie Graham ( the wonderful “San Sepulchro” about Piero della Francesca, and Robert Hass’s “Meditation atLagunitas,” about loss and finding, and the word being “elegy to what it signifies..” So much of Hass’s poetry is that serious and that joyous: it ends by celebrating “blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.” We shared what we ate and drank some simple red wine, and listened to each other. From my point of view, perfect.  I never joined a book club , but would happily do more reading things
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