Chris, you stun me, as usual. You know I know my music. How inspired to whip out Merle's classic "The Running Kind" and tie it onto 'The Fugitive Kind' and 'Orpheus Descending's' ratty ass tail (tale :) ). I've worked with just about everyone in that cast, and you're right about them. Props to you. And props to the cast and director.
Nice article Chris. I saw this odd film many years ago in college as part of our film club. It's definitely worth seeing again, magnificent failure that it was. Its bastard cinematic stepchild has to be Coppola's "One From the Heart". Another magnificent failure.
I have not seen the production and probably won't have the opportunity. I just want to mention that using music in theater productions not musicals or musical revues is often a dicey and difficult proposition. Straight stage plays by excellent playwrights rarely need such devices. Perhaps, in the modern era for a waning audience it's thought that bringing in that element might help the entertainment value of the piece and thereby increasing the audience. But, I really don't buy into that.
I recently watched online a filmed version of a play I saw on Broadway back in the day when I lived and acted in NYC. It was 1980. The play was The Gin Game with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. The taped stage piece had no music during the play itself. Though it did use music in the opening and closing credits. The play was brilliantly acted and wonderfully written. And was a delight to watch. With the right material, a talented cast, and a director who understands how to work with actors and stage a production, you have all the elements you typically to offer up a compelling performance. When one of those elements is missing or sub-par, then the results can often be spotty.
Bad, or even good music will not help if another element is lacking or sub-par. In a situation where space is a problem in the staging, and the writing is not suitable for a modern audience, during a modern theatrical stage experience, then music, good or bad, will not enhance the experience. Some plays I've seen performed in town were poor choices from a script standpoint, because the text is dated and out of place in a modern context. Obviously, some classics work using older language, in example, a Eugene O'Neill play. Or Moliere, Pinter, etc. Or Shakespeare, which many directors, sometimes poorly, often with genius, switch suit to patter for a modern audience.
Watching The Miracle Worker as a film with Patty Duke and Ann Bancroft will always be a stirring, bravura experience because we are celebrating the performances of stellar actors in a given era, regardless of the story. Doing it live, in the modern era, may evoke some of the accidental images and "tittering" Chris wrote about. In a very sensitive and empathetic manner, I might add. Props to you for the tenor and sensitivity of your review, Chris.
Love ya, Ron. Love Endgame. Did it many years ago. Going to try and see you in it.
By Toby Sells
download this issue
click here to see more »