4/30/07: Last Friday night, I saw Charles Busch’s Our Leading Lady at Manhattan Theatre Club. I really enjoyed it. Charles’ evident love of the theater and the people who give their lives to it is just joyful. And even though the tone of each act is different, I didn’t mind, because that’s how life is! I thought he did a grand job of capturing the highs and lows of a theatrical company, magnified by the expectation of President Lincoln attending their show and the ramifications of his assassination at their show. Really well done. It was delightful to see fact and faction rolled into one.
Kate Mulgrew is a pip, truly. I would love to see her onstage more often. To my untrained ear, sometimes, her line readings sounded just like Charles! That could have just been my mind playing tricks on me. I would, in fact, love to hear him do a reading of this play some time. The entire cast is spot-on, it could be one of the best acting ensembles I've seen in a long time. I’m especially sorry I didn’t see it earlier in the run so I could’ve told everyone to go. Oops! But it was fun to see it with a beautiful gal pal!
And then on Saturday, I went to see a production of Macbeth at the New Victory. In my quest to see every version of Macbeth ever done, I went to see this one because it was being performed by marionettes. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater teamed with an Italian troupe to perform this Macbeth and it was terrific. Probably one of the best I’ve seen! I would venture to say the acting was fabulous because they were concentrating on telling the story. The actors sat in front of the stage, facing the stage, with their scripts on music stands, acting out the play, while the marionette company had whole sets and stuff onstage. I can’t tell you how expressive the marionettes were. At one point, the Lady Macbeth took the daggers from Macbeth! It was incredible! There was also original music played underneath the scene changes that was quite good. They pared it down to about 90 minutes or so, with an intermission. The kids in the audience were also enraptured! Well, the 12-year-old boy next to me was bored, but at least he was polite and sat still. The maybe 7- and 9-year olds on the other side of me, however, loved it!
Oh, and the witches have to be my favorite witches ever. The actors’ interpretation combined with what the marionettes looked like was amazing. And what they had Lady Macbeth do at the end of her sleepwalking scene was terrific! I’d like to see a live actor-performance try that interpretation! Plus, the ending was a surprise as well. I’m not sure I liked the VERY end, but what the director did after the soldiers left the stage was fab. Thumbs WAY up for the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla e Figli. Who I may have to look for when we’re in Italy. They had some marionettes on display in the lower lobby of the New Victory. I took some pictures - too bad they don't really show how fantastic these marionettes were! I need to go to the New Victory more often, they really do some fantastic stuff...