The Pillowman at Berkeley Repertory Theatre
To avoid repetition that could fast become tiresome, I had specifically intended not to blog about the play I just saw. After all, how boring would it be if all I wrote about on this space was music and theatre. And music and theatre. Oh, and exercise. But then some more music and theatre. Yes, I love music and theatre, but I have other interests, too.
Then I actually saw The Pillowman, and... Oh. My. God. This play is amazing. It's so good; it's so good; it's so good. Did I mention it's really good?
Be warned, The Pillowman is not for the faint of heart. To call it a dark comedy would be a decided understatement. It is more like a back hole of a comedy. But as disturbing the subject matter is, and it is disturbing, this well written, brilliantly acted piece elicits some very sincere laughs. In fact, it elicits quite a few of them. It's also rather long, but it is so engaging, you really don't notice the length. Plus, The Pillowman features an actor whom I recognized from... wait for it... Jersey Girl. Yes, that Kevin Smith movie that no one saw. But I saw it on cable, and it wasn't nearly as bad as the critics claimed. Besides, it's not Kevin Smith's fault Bennifer was grossly over-exposed. Anyway, the actor in question, Matthew Maher, is really good. As are all the Pillowman performers.
A guy sitting right in front of me did have some kind of medical emergency in the middle of the first act (I think it was a mild heart attack), but really, I don't think that was any reflection on the caliber of the play.
My evening of culture actually began about an hour and a half before the curtain when Carolyn and I arrived in Berkeley. As we exited the BART station, we noticed a woman busking near the escalator. Was she singing Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan or even The Beatles as she played her guitar? Oh, no. This very bold chanteuse was treating us to an eyes-closed, no holds barred version of "Like A Virgin" by Madonna. I'm no Madonna fan, but anyone with the guts to wail "Like A Virgin" anywhere outside the shower certainly deserves a dollar.
After making our donation to the arts, Carolyn and I found ourselves at Jupiter where we indulged in pizza and beer. And Caesar salad. And garlic cheese bread. It was all delicious. Once at the theatre, we proceeded to run into approximately 1000 people we know. I have a feeling that between the two of us, Carolyn and I know everyone in the Bay Area. Or at least everyone who might be at Berkeley Rep for opening night. And I think they all enjoyed the play, too.
Go see The Pillowman. I won't lie, it could give you a nightmare or two, but it will be well worth it.
Okay, evil confession/dirty old woman update: The other day, I ran into the 23-year old I've been semi-crushing on. He is just so pretty. So very pretty. Is it wrong that I really like it when he hugs me? Don't bother responding to that question; I already know the answer. What am I thinking? He is a man-child, not to mention an unavailable man-child (I imagine his girlfriend would be thrilled to read this). I am so wrong.