Friday, June 26, 2009

Lucky Pozzo

Last year when I was in the Un-Scripted Theater Company’s production of Theater: The Musical, I had something of an epiphany regarding the works of Samuel Beckett. I finally “got” them in a way I never had before. It was thrilling.

And, yes, I don’t know that I ever would have had the epiphany if I hadn’t had to study him with an eye towards improvising in his style and turning that style into a musical. Then actually performing Beckett long-form musicals both in rehearsal and for an audience forced me to not only experience something of Beckett from inside as a performer but also inside a tiny sliver of his brain by putting myself in his position as the playwright. (You might even remember me blogging here about how much fun it was.) Behold the power of improv.

Since then I’ve been fascinated by the idea of directing a Beckett play myself, though I don’t know which one it would be, how, or where I would do it. It’s just gone on my “list of things to do in life”. The idea of trying to create an entertaining and understandable production just gives me so much energy.

I’d also like to see more Beckett plays, or at least more done well. Yesterday I stumbled across an article in the NYTimes about celebrities performing in plays in London right now (Gillian Anderson in the Doll’s House? And getting good reviews? Go Scully) and discovered that old X-Men enemies and pals from their RSC days in the 60’s Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are headlining a production of Godot! If I could, I’d get on a plane right now and go. It’s almost enough to make me wish I’d arranged to propose to Diana in London instead of Paris so we could’ve gone.

Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin are also in a production of Godot in New York. While I respect them both as performers, and they’re probably a closer match to the seminal duo of Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith, that’s just not nearly as appealing as seeing Magneto and Professor X battle it out existentially for the fate of the human soul.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.