Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 4

The Glass Menagerie at Berkeley Rep

Really I should say that the second act of The Glass Menagerie made me happy, as I was a little preoccupied through the first act. You see, Terry and I arrived about 10 minutes late, as we had gotten stuck in hideous traffic approaching the bridge. Now, I have both attended and acted in enough plays to understand that it is really distracting when late-comers grope for their seats in the dark. However, when we arrived, a woman I assume was the house manager instructed an usher that we were with the press, so we needed to be seated immediately, despite our tardiness. The usher griped as he lead us to the appropriate door, but once we walked through that door, he told us we would have to stand in the aisle for the entire first act. And then he walked away.

At first Terry and I just shot each other stunned looks, but then I found the usher again and asked him if he was serious when he told us we would have to stand for an hour and fifteen minutes instead of finding our seats between scenes. He said we could wait for the late seating opportunity, but we would have to sit in the back, and then we could move to our assigned seats at intermission. We took that option. And when the late seating opportunity arrived, he took us, along with six other curtain-missing delinquents, outside into the rain, up some stairs, through the staff break room to a back door. When he opened the back door and let us into the very back of the audience he merely said, "Find any open seat," and, again, walked away. No instructions as to where any open seats may be. I'm sure eight people fumbling for seats as our eyes adjusted to the light was not distracting at all.

So I was still digesting that experience through most of the first act. Not to mention that Tennessee Williams seems to spend the majority of act one establishing the relationships between the characters. But the pay off for all that set up definitely comes in act two, which absolutely sings. If you have ever felt shy, insecure, unworthy or otherwise less than fabulous (and I know you have), you will not be able to help but be affected by the second act of The Glass Menagerie. Rita Moreno stars in Berkeley Rep's production, but the amazing Emily Donahoe, who plays Laura, absolutely owns the show. She is that good.

And if our late seating experience wasn't surreal enough, after the performance a 70-year man flagrantly hit on me at the opening night reception. Welcome to my life.

That was last night, and in just a few minutes I am going to meet Ann Marie for a zinfandel tasting. Fine theatre, fine wine. These are good times, my friends.

1 comment:

Dan Wilson said...

Wow. I may just have to try and see this. Normally, I am NOT a fan of Glass Menagerie, but that's because the times I've seen it, it's been a blatant, moment by moment replica of the film version. I.e., nothing remotely original or interesting.

But Rita Moreno? Oh my.... and if the Laura is that good....