Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Thoughts on a Second Viewing of "The Twentieth Century Way"

Back from my second viewing of The Twentieth-Century Way at Boston Court and it was incredible.

Since many of you seem to like pictures of me holding stuff and looking dorky, here's another for your collection. :P These are the sweet postcards and program from the show.

Read my first thoughts on the play here

I will admit openly, that the first time I saw this play, I was suffering from a bizarre neck ache, stomach troubles, and really had to pee through most of it, so I couldn't fully enjoy nor appreciate nor concentrate on its inner workings. This time, I made sure to take some Pepto, watched what I ate, and peed thoroughly beforehand.

I was ready.

As I watched the play, I started forming a sort of diagram in my head to keep track of everything going on:

Picture the play like the concentric circles of an eye - the innermost part is the closest "circle" to the truth, in which the actors call themselves by their real names near the end of the play. Although within the context of the play "Will Bradley" and "Robert Mammana" are still characters, not true representations of the actors themselves. The second, or "iris circle" (the colored part of the eye) is the main phase in which the actors work as Brown and Warren, where reality and fiction begin to blur. On the outermost "circle", or the outer rim of the eye lie the myriad of characters both actors portrayed during the course of the play. They were the farthest from the "inner truth," but all three circles blurred and overlapped during different parts of the play's progression.

Confused yet? I guess you had to be inside my brain. It all made sense to me.

With this handy diagram fixed in my mind, it was easy to follow the play's dizzying progression from circle to circle, then back again.

Anyway, this second viewing was bloody brilliant. After several more weeks of performances (I saw the first show after opening night), Will and Robert were even more "in tune" with each other and the balance was absolutely perfect. The first time I saw it, sometimes one would overreach and another would underreach, trying to find a harmony. It was the same teeter-totter thing I saw happening at the beginning of Nevermore's run that finally got smoothed out after a half-dozen or so performances. I absolutely loved seeing how the two actors were even more synched with each other now, and since I didn't have the general malaise I did upon first viewing (and I had most of my half of the row to myself!), it was an absolute treat to see it again. I sat third row this time, and I think this is my new favorite spot. Second was a little too close and I missed some of the action that I could plainly see in the third row. So make a note, future Boston Court Theatre-goers - the third row is ideal.

After the performance, there was a Q&A. Boston Court Brian suggested I attend this certain show, since I was too shy to ask my excruciatingly dorky question the first time I saw the show. Honestly, I hadn't fully formulated the question in my head yet upon first viewing, so this was my opportunity. Since I am a pretty shy person at (most) times, I carefully typed out my question and had it at the ready. At this Q&A, we were honored by the playwright, Tom Jacobson's presence as well as director Michael Michetti, and I wish I would've been able to think of something intelligent to say to Mr. Jacobson besides, "Your play was amazing," but I didn't, so I kept quiet. The boys (Will and Robert) were backstage changing into street clothes, and the audience was kind of shy until they came onstage.

They arrived to loud applause, and, much like when I met Tommy Kirk at the Hollywood Show in April, I knew that in my case, she who hesitates becomes too shy, so the moment Michael asked if there were any questions, I raised my hand.

"Will and Robert, you were amazing," I said, "Will, I noticed that you uttered the name of the dreaded Scottish play three times onstage."
(Will gave me this cute faux shocked look and grinned. I attempted not to swoon.)
"Did you have any superstitious feelings towards saying that onstage?"
Alas, I did not have the foresight to record Will's answer to my (pointlessly stupid) question, so I shall paraphrase by saying that he said since it was within the context of the play, he didn't feel it was unlucky to say onstage...although he did joke about going outside to turn around a few times after saying it. Heh.

So YAY! My dorky question is now answered! I felt badly, because I meant the question to both Will and Robert, and I felt he was sorta left out of the answer.

The Twentieth-Century Way is one of those plays I would love to own a copy of, since it's so dialogue-heavy, and one would glean even more of its meaning from reading the words directly. Some of the lines are so amazingly brilliant and so true about actors and their craft, my mouth gaped open a few times. I'm no actor myself, but I've read up on their "calling" enough to know that the playwright has them down to an utter tee.

Ooh, there's a question for Mr. Jacobson - does he secretly wish to be an actor and is he getting his frustrations out by discussing the craft and actors themselves through his writing of this play? Does he act at all himself? Which does he prefer - puppetmaster or puppet? (And I use my "actor as puppet" theory/metaphor very loosely and in an affectionate way, as I know they're the ones who interpret what the writer has written.) Durned. I always think of this stuff after I get home. Ah well.

So there! I've done it! I've gotten my burning question answered. I earned my ticket tonight and had an absolute blast doing it! Hoorah! :D

All in all, a fantastic night. :)

The Twentieth-Century Way has (no surprise) been extended by two weeks and will now close on June 20th. Anyone who's in the L.A./Pasadena area reading this, you can get tickets here. Don't miss your chance to see this amazing play! :)

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