Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Plea From the Unlettered

Last night, the wife and I marked our wedding anniversary with a night out - dinner at Garlic Press, followed by a show at Midland Community Theatre. The boys are at that age where they can keep an eye on themselves, prepare their own dinner and amuse themselves around the house for a few hours, while we enjoy a leisurely evening spent just with each other ..... all in all, a good night.

Now, with that behind me, let me move on to a rant ..... what is it with the programs they hand out to us at MCT? I can't recall a time, ever, when I - as a member of the audience - have been so poorly served by my copy of the Prompter.

It's embarrassing to admit, that it took me some time to figure out what the heck was happening, and who the people were on stage. And we're not talking about some little-known work of an obscure playwright, someone who never got closer to the New York stage than Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

This was
Edward Albee, for crying out loud, and the play, "Three Tall Women," that earned Albee his third Pulitzer Prize. Heck, I even performed Albee in high school, playing the role of Daddy in "The Sandbox" - which, considering the subject matter, should have given me some insight into TTW.

My Prompter was certainly no help ..... no mention of the setting, no mention of who - or what - the characters are (just the names and past roles of the performers), and not even the briefest discussion of what we'll see this evening ..... just an overlong essay by the director about how much this production meant to him and his relationship with his 'Nana.'

Would it be too low-brow of me to offer this plea from We, the Unlettered ..... that we get just a little help to better enjoy the show?

Fortunately, I stuck with it ..... though not everyone did, with several heading out the door during intermission. I say 'fortunately' because, after a very rough first act, the performers finally seemed to find their stride in the second, and the brilliance of Albee's words - sometimes sharp, sometimes poignant - came through.

I'm glad I went, if just for the closing minutes, as A, B and C each deliver their soliloquy, and come together at last for the final heart-rending moment of the show.

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