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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Full Karenina

Haven't posted much on theater lately, but there has been some theater going on my part. A new friend of mine, Melanie, got a part in a new production of Anna Karenina. To encourage her, last month, some friends and I got together last night to watch her toy with Tolstoy.
Now everyone knows, Anna Karenina is a total tome, which I haven't read, but I've seen the movie... you shut up! You haven't read every great novel either. Where was I? Oh, yes, I've been told Karenina's devilishly difficult to put into production because it has more characters than your comrade Russian mutt has fleas. So the production challenge is to cull characters without killing the story. This production managed that Volga boatman heavy task, getting all the right stuff on stage, and in a v. clever fashion. Example; I remember, from a recent movie production, Anna's forbidden lover rode in a fateful horse race, essential to the story line. Now really; no one expects a horse race in a stage play and neigh-ther did I. Yet, surprisingly, there was a horse race in this production. No horses, and surely no pantomime horses, yet, I swear to you, unless some audience members wore blinders, I swear, we all saw the full field of horses foaming as they raced around the track in our brains. I kid you not - talk about your clever production values. In all, it was a great little play; surprising, touching bits of emotion and yes, for me it also had that oh-so-necessary ingredient: humor.
Melanie on the Marquee

After the play we hit the Spanish restaurant, Tapa the World for some midnight dining with Melanie. She filled us in on the horrors and joys of producing such a sterling stage production. Bravo y'all. Bravo. Oh, and did I mention, Melanie was not surprisingly funny, and clever in the play. A double Bravo to Melanie!

That brings me to this yesterday. Mommy Nancy and I trekked down to her sister's house in Monterey. I haven't seen Nancy's sister Julie in ages, and it's been quite a while longer since I saw her now grown up daughter Claire, but that's another story for another day. We were delightfully HQ'd at Julies' Christmas packed home, and Saturday night we attended The Full Monty at the Golden Bough Playhouse.

Early on, both Nancy and I were only medium-enthralled with the musical. That was, until the bit where the bashful men auditioned - within the play - for roles in a male stripper act. When the character Noah tried out for a spot on the strip-team he really totally pumped up the energy levels on stage. The entire play was viagra'd (is that too rude a metaphor, she asked, as if it being so would stop her using the reference?) the production up to a b'jillion degrees of fun and happily the remainder of musical remained at that level for the rest of the night. My word, where is my desk fan? 

The Full Monty; show stopper Noah (played by uh... a nice man) is second from the left).
Oh, and least I forget, my other favorite in the show was Jeannette (played by uh... a lady), who played piano for the guy's rehearsals. She had a bag-full-of-gravel voice, and lungs full of smoke & sass, but fun ruled whenever she was on stage. I found this bit of her kickn' up her ancient stage aged heels on youTube. Yeah, she has a point; things could be better round here.

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