I was having a pretty grim day today, I’ll be honest. I felt terrible, wasn’t getting any of my chores done, and I’m already falling behind of my 211 in 2011 movie viewing goal. Goddamned motherfucking LOST, I had to get sucked in to that NOW? *sigh* Only two seasons to go, only two seasons to go…
At least I had theatre tickets for tonite, said I, and managed to rouse myself out of the house and downtown in advance of the show. A quick stop at Arts Court first, to pick up a ticket for next month’s LITTLE MARTYRS from Evolution theatre. The dude at the counter even reads the blog, which is terribly awesome. Thanks again, and hopefully someone, y’know, actually puts the show information into your computer soon.
Stopped in at HMV then, and was delighted to find Louis CK’s new performance film HILARIOUS for cheap, along with a collection of Krofft Saturday Morning shows (the cultural peak of the 20th century, as everyone knows). Now not only did I have theatre to see, but fun stuff to watch when I got back home. I wonder if Winston digs THE BUGALOOS?
But theatre came first, so with my swag in tow I hotfooted it to the NAC for the preview show of Joan Didion’s autobiographical THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING. A production of Victoria’s Belfry theatre, directed by their own Michael Shamata, and starring Seana McKenna, a veteran actress who has apparently been pretty much owning Stratford for most of her illustrious career. Sounded good. I stepped in to the building, remembering too late as always what a swanky joint the NAC is, and that I was unshaved, wearing a dusty backpack, filthy black hoodie…everyone else was all poshed up for an elegant night at the theatre, I looked like I was there to fucking rob the place. The fact I was not escorted from the premises immediately speaks well to the charitable mindset of NAC security. Thanks, folks.
Tonite was a preview show, which means general admission, which means Yay! I get to dash in and snag a front row seat! And I hope it’s kosher that I’m writing this based on a preview, but that’s what’s gonna happen, because I’m not paying to see it again. Not that it ain’t worth it.
As a play, Didion’s story reminded me an awful lot of THE LIST a few months back at the GCTC. Very much a monologue with few overt theatrics, some interesting set work (although I admit I didn’t quite ‘get’ what they were going for on this one, but I AM notoriously stoopid), extremely methodical women in the lead, and the subject matter…well, let’s just say my morning mood wasn’t the only grim thing in town this day. Based on a year in Didion’s life that she’d likely rather forget, McKenna leads us through the story of death, denial, desperation, and that most impossible of animals, grief. But it’s not a complete weeper, neither…the script is peppered with wonderful humour, and Seana can snatch laughs from the audience pretty much at will. And when the moments of despair eventually do turn up, there’s no break, no discontinuity, just a solid punch to the gut. It’s a play that absolutely would not work without a great actor in the lead. And it works.
Odd that a play about dealing with death and loss would cheer me up, but that’s what good theatre does for me…so thank you, Joan and Seana, for that. Although I won’t be saying no to my Louis CK disc when I’m done with this post…a few good hearty laughs will do me good right about now. And you lot, get out and go see a master at work while we have her in town. It’ll do you good, too. Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)