Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Marvel To Witness!

Firstly, there have been more opinions aired regarding Rosemary Harris' current project, Oscar and the Pink Lady. All new reviews continue the pattern of mixed thoughts on the play combined with strong praise for Ms Harris' efforts in it.

  • Theatermania's Rob Stevens considers the play 'a little lengthy' but is only critical of the written material:
[...] Fortunately, the one saving grace of this production is the chance to see theatrical legend Rosemary Harris up close. At age 80, Harris is a wonder as she breathes life not only into Granny Pink, an elderly candy striper, but also into the 10-year-old Oscar and his friends. Her joy of performing is infectious and her acting technique is a marvel to witness. One just wishes the material was worth her time and effort. [...]

Mr Stevens describes the play meanwhile as:

[...] a syrupy-sweet meditation on life and death, the innocence of children, and one's belief in God. ... Frank Dunlop's syrupy direction further oversweetens this light confection. [...]

Also see this article for a lovely picture of the Pink Lady in action!

  • Similarly, Variety's Bob Verini gives the thumbs up to the 'mesmerizing' Pink Lady herself despite administering a thumbs down to the play:
[...] Rosemary Harris brings focus and commitment to a parable too much of which sounds as if culled from scented greeting cards. [...]

He also describes Frank Dunlop's direction in similar terms to Rob Stevens' 'syrupy':

[...] Frank Dunlop could have done more to combat a wearisome sameness that starts to verge on the treacly. [...]

He does however praise Dunlop in some respects whilst considering Harris' achievement to be admirable:
[...] Otherwise [Frank Dunlop] has nicely shaped Harris's command of pace and space (she uses every inch of, and object in, Michael Vaughn Sims' detailed hospital ward-in-the-round), and her accomplishment is prodigious by any standard: it's not every thespian who could carry a two-hour show without showing signs of strain, let alone a star just turned 80. [...]

He also interestingly compares Oscar and the Pink Lady with another one-person show currently playing in San Diego, Matt Sax's Clay:
[...] While Matt Sax employs voice, movement and costume adjustments to precisely differentiate each character in "Clay," Harris is much less fastidious. She does two voices for dialogues -- upper and lower register -- but lets emotional context, rather than consistency, determine which character gets the higher pitch in any given scene. Also, she physically characterizes everyone in the same tippy-toe style, one befitting both puckish old lady and young scamp. [...]

  • Also worth a quick read is San Diego Arts' review, which joins its predecessors in its praise of Ms Harris, which begins in no uncertain terms, with the statement, "If Rosemary Harris wishes to perform a one-woman show about a child dying of cancer, then a way must be found for this to happen". Well, quite!
  • The Coast of Utopia meanwhile have swept the nominees board for the American Theatre Wing's Henry Hewes Design Awards for 2006-7.

Theatermania announce that a total of 66 artists have been nominated for their work in 51 productions, with Utopia earning eight - more than any other show. Utopians mentioned as receiving multiple nominations are Scott Pask (3), Catherine Zuber (2), Brian MacDevitt (6!), with Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Mark Bennett receiving one each. Also nominated from Utopia are the lesser-mentioned Angelina Avallone (makeup), Paul Huntley (wig design), Tom Watson (wigs) and William Cusick (projections).

The awards will be given on November 15. See Playbill's article for lists of the award categories and the nominees in each. Удачи to all! ('Good luck' in Russian)

  • In other news, Starpulse give a little more detail on the plot of The Russell Girl:

[...] Sarah Russell's rare visit from Chicago to her small hometown is a welcome surprise to her parents (Mastrantonio and DeKay), her 21-year-old brother, Daniel (Daniel Clark), and her former boyfriend, Evan (Paul Wesley). Sarah decides to withhold the true reason for her homecoming after an old conflict resurfaces during an uncomfortable encounter with Lorraine Morrisey (Ehle), who lives across the street from the Russells with her husband, Howard (Czerny), and two teen-aged boys (Ben Lewis, Max Morrow).

Sarah's sudden presence has a debilitating effect on Lorraine, who rebuffs Sarah's attempts to make amends. However, Sarah musters the courage to keep trying, knowing that she must finally deal with her past as a means of being able to face her future. It takes time for Lorraine to put the past behind her and to grasp that forgiving Sarah will not only ease Sarah's burden but also her own. [...]

In loosely-related news, The Globe and Mail have an interesting article about a deal being made by Sunshine producer Robert Lantos's company that significantly will henceforth guarantee U.S. independent filmmakers their fair share of box office generated by their movies in Canada. Before the Rains is briefly mentioned as one of the new projects of the company, called Maximum Films:

[...] Lantos recently launched Maximum Film Distribution, whose initial Canadian release slate includes Fugitive Pieces, Jelly Fish, The Magic Flute, Adoration, Before the Rains and Cold Souls. It has cut deals to distribute movies from Magnolia Pictures, IFC and Fortissimo Films. [...]

See Variety's version of the story for quotage from Lantos.

  • The BBC have a small article about Alison Steadman praising Andrew Davies as a 'brilliant screenwriter'. They are working together again for the first time since Pride and Prejudice in 1995.

  • The Los Angeles Times meanwhile has a piece about another time-consuming project being tackled by The Coast of Utopia's musical genius Mark Bennett - a musical examining the modern celebrity culture by looking at the story of Andrew Cunanan, who killed Gianni Versace. According to the publication, the idea "just popped into Bennett's shaven cranium". Judging by the Utopia score, that shaven cranium seems to be filled with a lot of good ideas!

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