Two Out of Three Ain’t Good

Tonight we went to go see Speed the Plow. When I saw that it was part of the 2007 season I was excited. I really enjoy Mamet and the first reviews of the show were solid. I wanted to go see it, but it was running for 3 months and I was busy and picking the night that I would have enough time to see it seemed like too much work. Then on Tuesday I realized that it was closing this weekend. That was it. I was out of time, and we have people in town this weekend that would not want to go see it with us. That left us with only a couple of days left. I got tickets for tonight, even though we were so busy it was difficult to imagine going.

I really like both of the men cast in the play (Greg Germann and Jon Tenney). Alicia Silverstone is also in it, and even though I did not instinctively think she’d be a great stage actress, most of the reviews said that she was the reason to see it. That she really did a good job and was the best performance in the cast.

We arrived and rapidly discovered that out of the huge cast of three, two of the roles were being played by understudies. I was so disappointed. Plus in this day and age, they could really be updating the website on a daily basis with casting changes. I bought the tickets the day of the show. I was at the site. I could have seen and made a choice about whether I still wanted to go. In general I don’t mind seeing understudies. I often times find they are wonderful and talented and throwing themselves even more into the part because they are getting a big break when the regular can’t be on stage. Still, in such a small cast… Especially considering that the cast was part of the reasons I was looking forward to it. The man who took Jon Tenney’s place to a large extent seemed to be doing a Tenney impression, and doing it well. The woman… Well, frankly I just did not enjoy her at all. She was not *anything* enough. Now admittedly Mamet does not always write his female characters quite as well as I would like, but this was not about the dialog. I also don’t know what the director asked for, so to blame it all on the actress would not be fair. However, if she is playing a part that is getting mentioned in the reviews as the key performance from another actress, it makes me suspect that the something that went wrong here could not be squarely blamed on the direction.

The character is rather pivotal, so that was definitely a let down. I did enjoy the play though. Greg Germann and Rob Kahn were both quite watchable.

The seats were angled somewhat uncomfortably, and just completely wrong for the kid’s back. She was in pain throughout the show. I was cold, but when I leaned over to whisper that to the husband, he thought I said I was bored, so it didn’t occur to him to offer me his jacket. During the intermission I saw he had a jacket and borrowed it, but I only got to use it for a few minutes before we put it behind kfz to try to provide more support to her lower back.

This was my first time seeing Speed the Plow, but I know Mamet, so we did discuss whether or not to bring kfz along, but we decided that taking her with us to see something by a playwright that I really like had enough value. As expected ,it was full of vast amounts of swearing and people hanging out somewhere between morally questionable and full on reprehensible. It will give us something to talk about tomorrow.

We went out for dinner after the show, and the husband was putting his leftovers in a togo box as the waitress brought him a refill of iced tea. She suddenly grabbed her eye and went rapidly away from the table, with his iced tea still in hand. It turned out he had managed to splash spicy mustard directly into her eye. That hasn’t happened to us before.  Seems worth a few points.

The rest of the day was busy and exhausting. I am amazed I could even stay away through the show. We had fourth row seats, so loud snoring probably would have been quite distracting to the actors. Now I just want to go to bed, but I still need to take care of some things. I am just going to power through the bare minimum.

I am not a social caterpillar.
Long haired cats = Eew

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