Friday, June 03, 2005

"If It Bennnds, It's Funny..."

"...if it breaks, it's not funny!"

Saw Glengarry Glen Ross last night, live on Broadway. Alan Alda as Shelley "The Machine" Levine, Liev Schreiber as Richard Roma, and Jeffrey Tambor as George.

(Tambor rocks, incidentally, not only because of his passing resemblance to Get-Off-My-Train!!! guy Vincent Schiavelli, but because he had a role in the long-forgotten but mind-blowingly ahead-of-its-time Max Headroom pilot back in 1985.)

Spellbinding performaces from the entire cast, worthy of every accolade printed on the big yellow banners hanging outside the theater. Ensemble acting at its lightning-fast, precisely-90-minute finest! The tiniest idosyncracies of Mamet's razor-sharp dialogue were handled so expertly that at times I completely forgot that these were actors on a stage with scripted lines and stage directions, who perform the same hour-and-a-half of blistering shouting-over-each-others'-lines dialogue every night of the week. The only thing missing from this Tony-nomiated "revival" script was the infamous tear-you-a-new-asshole monologue delivered with bone-chilling ruthlessness by the Alec Baldwin character in the first minutes of the movie adaptation.

All things considered, it's actually quite difficult for me to decide whose portrayal of Shelley "The Machine" Levine I like better -- Alda's or Jack Lemmon's (from the movie). Both fine actors, both at the top of their game with their respective performances. I thought I kept hearing Lemmon's screen persona creeping into Alda's performance... but then, I thought, why would Alda need to imitate anyone? He pulled it off spectacularly well, without any indication that he would've needed to watch any crummy movie adaptation to figure out his own character's motivations... but then again, perhaps I was just held too tightly within the hypnotic, spectatorial thrall of being-in-the-same-room-with-a-Famous-Actor to render an honest evaluation... I dunno...

(And by the way, speaking of cynicism towards the cultish reverence we Americans heedlessly and involuntarily pay to Famous Actors, I recently saw Team America:World Police, Parker/Stone's live-action, all-marionette film that features, among other uproariously hilarious (and/or disgusting) segments, a scene in which a whole slew of revered Hollywood actors/activists (Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Janine Gerafolo, Helen Hunt, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, etc.) get freaking blown the hell away with missle launchers, shotguns and automatic machine gun fire because, as Parker/Stone mention in the DVD commentary, "Hollywood actors are idiotic assholes who really suck.")

And on yet another side note, had dinner before the show at one of the nicest Kosher restaurants this side of the Atlantic, Le Marais. Tres magnifique! Nice to see the Kosher world really do it right.

Good Shabbos!


At 3:57 PM, June 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Wopat! Was he Bo or Luke Duke? In any case, it's good to see he's come up in the world.


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