4/29/06: I was going to go home last night and watch my Netflix copy of Grey Gardens. I was all set to go home, then a pal from the office asked if I wanted to have dinner. His treat. Well, who am I to turn down a free dinner? The pal had one Drama Desk ticket to see a show and didn't want to sit around the office and listen to the annoying new girl blather loudly on the phone all night.
So we had a perfectly pleasant dinner and I walked him to his theater, then I started to plow through the crowds to get to the subway. I'm just getting ready to cross 46th Street, when I feel my cell phone vibrating. I answer it. It's my office pal. The box office gave him two tickets--do I want to join him? Sure, I yell, and run back to the theater. Where, even though I have eaten dinner already, I see Three Days of Rain. For free. Whee!
As I ran over to the theater, I ate four Rolaids. Just in case. You remember my thing about eating before theater. Luckily, our seats were on the aisle, in case I would have to make a speedy exit. Of course, I didn't have to. But if we had been sitting in the middle of a row, I’m sure I would have. It's all psychological. I think.
The show: it's pretty good, all things considered. I really like the script. It's just a delicate elegant play, filled with smart and witty dialogue, and damaged realistic characters. I do think maybe it's been directed too carefully, and too small, in order to help a certain someone. But I don't think it ruined the play, by any means.
I'm not a Julia Roberts fan. Nowhere near. I have scoffed at her deciding to just jump on Broadway. But, I have to say, there could be something there. YES, her voice is flat. YES, she has no idea what to do with her hands. YES, sometimes her reactions are so small that you just know she's playing them to the close-up camera in her mind. BUT she's listening. She's reacting. She knows what she's saying and what the other actors are saying. She has a rapport with the other actors. And she is feeling something. I think that with some coaching and stronger direction she could become a relatively decent stage actress. She has a gravitas and a stillness at her center that is interesting to see, especially in this era of showboat-y acting and directing. Having seen another film actress do Uta Hagen-acting exercises on stage that had NOTHING to do with that Neil Simon play, I was rather pleased to see Julia reacting to Richard Greenberg's words. So, there you have it. I begrudgingly appreciate her doing this show so that people will see it who never would have otherwise. I will criticize, however, her lame Southern accent in the second act. Hello. She's actually from Georgia and that's the best she could do?! Cut it. It's theater. Tell me she's Southern and I'll believe it! But not with that crappy accent!
|photo credit: Joan Marcus|
In a season that has made me sit through Festen, Barefoot in the Park, and The Music Teacher, pretentious twaddle all (in my humble opinion), it was surprising to me to enjoy a Julia Roberts vehicle. But good on her for not playing it as a Julia Roberts vehicle. She's showing us a Richard Greenberg play. Hooray.