Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oscar: 'whets one's appetite for Harris'

  • Oscar and the Pink Lady continues to elicit similarly mixed responses, with Paul Hodgins of The Orange County Register describing Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's play as 'too slight a vehicle' for Ms Harris' 'impressive suite of talents'.

Also like some reviewers before him, he fails to find the character of Oscar entirely convincing for his age:

[...] Oscar is simply too precocious and conveniently wordsmith-y to be plausible. He talks like a literary conceit, not a little boy. [...]

He is alone however in meting out the first explicit criticism of Ms Harris, saying she 'doesn't always do a crystal-clear job of delineating character', although the positive comments far outweigh the negative in regard to the actress. Hodgins praises her overall performance as 'spontaneous, natural and completely unforced', describing that as 'a treat to see in such an intimate environment.'

  • Secondly, we say 'Bereg Utopii!' as the third version of The Coast of Utopia opens in Russia. John Freedman, in a pre-publication review for The Moscow Times on October 12th, describes the long run-up to this point:
[...] Two years in the making, the "Utopia" project has enjoyed hands-on participation from Stoppard, who has visited Russia frequently to meet the troupe of the National Youth Theater and who was prominently present at third-row center for the 10-hour opening night last Saturday. To my knowledge there has never been a more thorough collaboration between a Russian theater and a major western playwright. This association has included readings, rehearsals, trips to the Russian countryside, an educational program run through several Moscow institutes and even a trip to Sparrow Hills to clean off a monument to Herzen and his friend Nikolai Ogaryov... [...]

In case you happen to be in Moscow, Freedman gives performance details - 'Bereg Utopii plays October 20 and 27 at the National Youth Theater, located at 2 Teatralnaya Ploshchad. MetroTeatralnaya. Tel. 692-0069, 692-1879, 692-6572.' And in case you can read Russian, here are two (possibly?!) relevant websites: and

  • Thirdly, Sir Tom has written a fascinating piece for Vanity Fair about Pink Floydian Syd Barrett's relation to his play Rock 'n' Roll. Mr Stoppard also makes an interesting revelation about his working habits:
[...] With each play, I tend to become fixated on one particular track and live with it for months, during the writing—my drug of choice, just to get my brain sorted. Then I'd turn off the music and start work. I wrote most of "The Coast of Utopia" between listening to "Comfortably Numb" on repeat. [...]
  • Fourthly, if there are any collectors among you, eBay has a number of items relating to Rosemary Harris, including a 1976 Playbill for The Royal Family and a copy of Life magazine from 1966 (with cover girl Jackie Kennedy!)

  • Fifthly, regarding release dates for Ms Ehle's latest projects, IMDb is now giving the USA date for The Russell Girl as February 2008, meaning it will be out prior to Pride and Glory, which is currently set for 14 March 2008 (UK and USA).

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