Monday, May 07, 2007


What surely must be a record number of famous faces attended the final Utopia marathon, according to Lawson Taitte of Over The Top Blog. A few All That Chatters also present spotted Tony voters and more VIPs. Another final-marathon runner, Heather, sez:
...I will just say - it is surely one the most beautiful things I have ever seen a group of human beings do together. I hope wherever you are there is something to cause you to ruminate on beauty, art, and love. [...]
And more marathon reportage from Wendell Brock of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
[...] A very long journey, indeed, but a starry, satisfying and wholly opulent one.

"Starry" as in the constellation of Ethan Hawke, Billy Crudup and Brian F. O'Byrne.

"Opulent" as in sets by Bob Crowley ("Aida," "The History Boys") and Scott Pask ("The Pillowman"). I'm talking about images that got applause before a single word was spoken. I'm talking about an enormous crystal onion dome hanging from the ceiling like some Dale Chihuly chandelier. I'm talking about a tableau vivant representing what looked like hundreds and hundreds of serfs. (Call it the magic of theater.) [...]

Jere-Rigged, who liveblogged from the marathon earlier, posts this summary:
The Coast of Utopia - This was the very definition of epic in every way...huge cast, huge sets and costumes, huge running time. I saw all three of the plays that comprise this work in a single day and it was a bit overwhelming. Cast was terrific, especially Ethan Hawke, Brian F. O'Bryne (terrific in everything and New York's most reliable character actor), and Jennifer Ehle. It about a group of real-life Russian philosphers/rabble rousers and follows the group from their student days in St. Petersburg through their lives for 40 or 50 years. It's like Chekov by way of Stoppard. You just sort of have to go with it and let the whole thing wash over you. Go, if you have a chance. We don't get big theatrical epics like this very often and this is a chance to catch something the likes of which you probably won't see again.
rm on Shipwreck and curtain calls:
[...] The staging of the revolutionary stuff in France was particularly compelling, especially with the singing, and it really gave me chills and moved me to tears just for the sheer scale of it -- it put me in mind of the awe, but in a much darker way, that I felt at the end of Act II of Luhrmann's staging of Bohemme with that damn streamer cannon.
One of the stranger things that's stuck with me from both parts 1 and 2 were the curtain calls. Part of it is how exceptionally well choreographed they are (curtain calls always feel like last minute disasters to me when I'm in them), but it's also a sense of how between fact and fiction I find them -- with the thematic music and the victorious, almost martial, staging of them -- is this the heroes of the play celebrating? or the actors? There's a real gleaming pride in these curtain calls and a ferociousness to the body language from all the actors and it interests me, both as a glance into the nature of performing something as insane as this piece, but also as a glance into the characters in a way that's out of Time (even more than the plays themselves) and into the authorial and directorial mindsets of the presentation. [...]
At a thaumaturgical compendium, the Utopia marathon prompts interesting musings on contempory technological utopias - sorta reads like an essay in the LCT Review. Here's his wrapup of the show, but click through for the thinky bits.
[...] I won’t review, because I am rarely very good at that. It was, however, an excellent production. The plays were well written, though the third seemed a bit more harried than the first two. The acting was generally excellent. Ethan Hawke got on my nerves—I am sure that was why he was cast in the role—and tripped on the lines at one point, but I’m sure it has to be a bit harrowing to do three different shows in a day. Tom Stoppard was in the audience (as were some familiar faces, including Bill Bradley, Nathan Lane, and Jane Krakowski), and was dragged on stage to take a bow at the curtain call. The staging was breathtaking, and director Jack O’Brian deserves special credit for making this an astoundingly engaging performance, making use of lighting, a stage turntable, sets, sounds, and odors to draw the audience into the dialogue. In all, a great experience. [...]
There's a fascinating comparison of Turgenev translations at Steamboats Are Ruining Everything. Only tenuously linked to the premise of this blog but that's never stopped us before. Finally, on the awards-tipping front, Modern Fabulosity's Tony predictions are up, with nods to Utopia and a number of cast members. Ditto at BroadwayWorld.

Less than one week til Utopia closes! If you haven't seen the show yet...get out from under that rock!

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