This past weekend, Ms. M and I attended preview performances of two very good, very different productions.
Camp David at the Old Globe is about the 1978 Camp David Accords.
The characters take us through the roller coaster ride that was the negotiations. The writing is spectacular. Somehow the playwright managed to give some much-needed, incredibly funny lines to reduce the tension. Characters were given added depth by holding back on some crucial information until the perfect moment. Richard Thomas (John Boy from the Waltons) plays Jimmy Carter, and the actor who plays Prime Minister Begin (Ned Eisenberg) looks eerily like Begin.
After the acted portion of the play, it is revealed what happened to the key players. I knew the history, but the ramifications of those two weeks were really brought home.
Sunday was a very different kind of play: Stupid F*ing Bird.
It was described as an “irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull.” I’ve read The Seagull, and it was very angst-filled. This play at Cygnet Theatre definitely had its fair share of angst, but there is also humor, philosophizing, and three of the performers took off their tops. Bird has its meta moments – it talks about being a play and what difference a play can make in modern society. It asks the question of whether we really feel the emotions we express. Haven’t we all felt like that we are playing a role in real life?
Since I’d read The Seagull, I knew the basic structure that this performance followed, but that knowledge definitely isn’t necessary to enjoy the performance. Also, while there is no warning, the title gives a big hint to the audience that expletives are used liberally. Not an issue for me, but I know it bothers some people.
I’m so happy to live in a city with such spectacular live theatre. I strongly recommend both productions to anyone with a chance to see them.
What was the last play you attended? or Audience participation: Love it, hate it, or meh?