After a painful experience at a college production of Kiss Me, Kate on Friday night, I hoped, but not with much conviction, that the "pay what you will" come-on for a new production at a community theatre might be better. The college production had plenty of enthusiasm and some very bad singing - really murdering Cole Porter's wonderful, witty score. I am not fan of musicals anyway but felt I needed to support one of the cast members, an older student making his first stage appearance.
The community theater has disappointed me several times also but the my most previous visit was a wonderful one-man show that was New York quality. The new production, Red, a play by John Logan that got it's start at the fine Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London, was entirely unknown to me. So I went. Hurray! A fine, fine performance by an actor playing the painter Mark Rothko and his counterpart, a younger man playing a studio assistant. Script, acting, set, even occasional music was all fine, very fine. Theatre can be wonderful -- which is why the not-wonderful attempts are so wrenching to sit through. Oh, I know all about great actors getting their starts somewhere, yes, yes, yes. But those performances are best attended by doting parents and siblings.
Only after painting in other styles did Rothko find his brilliant expression in the mostly red paintings that are so quietly and intensely moving. The play emphasized his aspirations more than his struggles; his intellectuality and self-absorption.
Today's poem is by another GREAT, the late Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish Nobel Prize poet.
Life is the only way
to get covered in leaves,
catch your breath on the sand,
rise on wings;
to be a dog
or stroke its warm fur;
or tell pain
from everything it's not;
to squeee inside events,
dawdle in views,
to seek the least of all possible mistakes.
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