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Monday, December 10, 2012
I Am 2 for 2
The truth is, I received an invitation (in the mail!) from one of the cast members with whom I had worked this past summer in another show. Since he shelled out the shekels for a stamp, I figured I owed him one, the cost of stamps being what they are today.
I, in turn, invited my friend Winston to come with me. I like going to plays with Winston. He and I are of the same generation, once removed (Winston is much, much older than I), and we share many of the same ideas about how theatre ought to be done. We weren't disappointed.
The play we went to see was a production of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, produced and directed by Frederick Mead. (Full disclosure: I discovered Frederick Mead in 2006, and all his subsequent success is entirely due to the lessons I imparted to him. Okay, so I'm trying to steal a little of his limelight. His success belongs to him.)
Well, Frederick did me proud last night. In fact, he humbled me. He mounted a production of a very good play, and his production was clear and lucid and worthy of being the crowd-pleaser that last night's audience found it be. I always like to say to a company of actors before a performance, "Astonish me!" That might be considered a hard thing to ask, but it is what I want theatre to do.
And M. Butterfly did it.
Unless you've seen the general run of New Orleans theatre, you cannot imagine the simple pleasure of having a troupe of actors performing to the assembled people in the room rather than to some imaginary camera with a close-up lens only inches from their faces. These actors were grown-ups, armed with technique and experience, and the simple pleasure they took in their performances was infectious. They hit their marks, they said their lines, they made their points and moved on, all with a sense of delight in being there with all of us.
I applaud each of them: Michael Cahill, Joshua Smith, Doug Mundy (my friend, a real pro), Nancy Hartman, Suzaune Yee McKamey (I'm in love), Mary Pauley, George Patterson, Natasha Lowery, and Olivia Purcell. Winston applauds you, too.
The only negative thing I will say about the show was that last night's was the closing performance.
I really need to start catching these things at the beginning of a run.