Monday, April 27, 2015

That Theatergoer Life

Tis the season to take in theater performances. Since seeing Constellations back in March I've been lucky enough to secure seats for On the 20th Century and Fish in the Dark.

My dad had recommended "On the 20th Century" and I was sold once I learned that Kristin Chenoweth, of my favorite TV show ever, was a lead. Chenoweth and her cast members, including Peter Gallagher, were phenomenal. They had so much energy onstage and their performances were so impressive. Thespians are the ultimate brave souls. The actors in "20th Century" sang their hearts out, danced in well-done choreographies and generally hammed it up. Taking in their talent was a real treat. I didn't love the storyline, but the play was still suburb.

Louis C.K. spoke about his appreciation for stage actors in a recent Hollywood Reporter article:

Every time I go to a Broadway play of any kind — good or bad — as soon as the lights go out and people come onstage and start to speak, I start to cry. I can't help it. The first minute of any play feels really stupid — they're pretending the audience isn't there, and they're having this loud dialogue, and you're like, "What the f— are these people doing?" — but it's so vulnerable. It's such an effort, and it's such a generous thing to do, and so I always get all choked up.

I agree with Louis C.K. completely. I have so much empathy and love for live actors, even Larry David :)

Larry David didn't get me choked up during his performance in "Fish in the Dark," although I did verge on being teary-eyed from laughter. "Fish in the Dark" was hysterically funny. The acting was good (no singing or choreography required) and the storyline was witty. The dialogue was so smart and, in true Larry David fashion, at times uncomfortable. Of course, Larry David has made a lucrative career out of creating characters who say socially unacceptable things. A New York Magazine article by Benjamin Wallace explains:

The Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm is a curmudgeon and misanthrope unconcerned with niceties. David himself conceives of the character as the person he’d like to be, if he weren’t impeded by social constraints. 

Wallace goes on to explain that these misanthrope characters David creates are dissimilar to Larry David himself:

[H]is friends are used to having to explain that he’s not really the guy on the TV screen. They’ll describe him using shockingly off-brand words like “tremendously sweet” (Jason Alexander) and “kind” (Jeff Garlin) and “so generous in every way” (Steve Adams). [Anna] Shapiro (director of Fish in the Dark) says she was initially wary. “I thought he would be neurotic in a not-amusing way. I thought I would encounter the darkness behind his humor. And I just haven’t had that. I find him to be incredibly warm, very friendly, really nice, and in the relationship really respectful, really generous. I can’t say enough about him as a person.”

David may be a sweetheart himself, but his characters are outrageous in ways we all wish we could be. And that's what makes his work so enjoyable.


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