It’s been a long day’s night.

I knew Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night was long. I supervised wardrobe on it in college and sat through it (backstage) about a dozen times. That was the longest week ever. But I’d studied it in multiple classes in college and John Gallagher Jr. was in the cast (alongside the amazing Jessica Lange) so I wanted to see it. 

I remembered it was 3h15m, maybe 3.5hr. But when I found out it was 3.45, I was a little nervous. And when I found out there was only one intermission, I was totally scared.

Let me just start by saying that it is certifiably insane to only have one intermission. Two one-hour-and-forty-five-minute acts with only a 15 minute break is criminal. 

This show has comedic relief, sometimes, but overall it’s four hours of a depressing day for the Tyrone family. Jessica Lange carries this show effortlessly as the morphine addicted Mary Tyrone. I can’t imagine how tired she is at the end of this show. Gabriel Byrne gives a brilliant performance as the short-tempered and stingy James Tyrone. John Gallagher Jr. and Michael Shannon as Edmond Tyrone and James Tyrone Jr. (respectively) put their hearts entirely into their performances.

I won’t lie: I was maybe falling asleep during the last 45 minutes. It had already been a long day and the show was the longest day that I’d ever endured. 

I’m glad I saw it but I have to say that you should drink at least a triple espresso before you take your seat.

Trigger Warning

I finally broke down and bought a ticket on TDF for Blackbird last week. I’d heard a lot of mixed things to downright “it’s just not worth it.” I knew Michelle Williams would be using her “serious stage lady” voice, but I would try to get past it because it was 85 minutes long and I love Jeff Daniels.

The basic premise of the show: a girl, now a woman, who, at 12, was sexually abused for 3 months by a neighbor who was 40, tracks down her abuser 15 years later, ready to make him uncomfortable at his office.

First: Williams’ Serious Stage Lady voice is annoying but I kind of felt like it worked. If you’d been abused as a child and then was still fucked up enough to go track that person down after he’s moved and changed his name, you’re probably very affected and there’s a chance there’s something strange in your voice.

The whole play just felt a little unnecessary. Daniels’ knew he’d done something horrible and now he was being tortured in person. I also seriously feel for Williams’ character, for sure, but I was really confused as to why she would want to go track her abuser down instead of moving forward with her life. But maybe I don’t understand what goes through someone’s mind who’s gone through that (spoiler alert: I definitely don’t).

The ending was contrived. I didn’t agree with that choice the playwright made. It was a quick 85 minutes and although it was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt in a theatre, I’m glad I saw it. Would I recommend it to anyone though? Hell no.

Theatre Date With Myself, Part Two

On Tuesday night I took myself to see Ivan van Hove’s revival of The Crucible (again via TDF). I had never seen The Crucible onstage and I was super excited. Seeing Ciaran Hinds (Gov. Danforth) and Tavi Gevinson (Mary Warren) was just the icing on the cake. I remembered the basic plot – McCarthism masquerading as the Salem Witch Trials – but once the action started, all of the dialogue started flooding back into my memory.

The production is flawless. A very minimal set. Beautiful lighting. It was truly mind blowing how 70+ people were accused of witch craft by five girls who were faking it and they turn Salem upside down. 

Gevinson was excellent – a total 180* from This Is Our Youth. Sophie Okonedo (Elizabeth Proctor) and Ben Whishaw (John Proctor) had great chemistry together. Jim Norton (Giles Corey) was subtly funny and heart breaking as always. It was really a treat to see Jim Norton and Ciaran Hinds onstage together again – I was such a big fan of The Seafarer in 2008. I could list the rest of the cast because they were all excellent, but I won’t. You can check them out here if you’re interested. 

Like I said, I have nothing to compare this production to but this three hour production never dragged and it didn’t feel long for one minute. If you have three hours to kill, get thee to the Walter Kerr. 

Lazy

You know how I stopped working in theatre a year and a half ago? (Maybe longer? I’ve lost track.) Well, I sure don’t miss it (save for the free tickets) but my theatre-going has slowed a bit. Oftentimes afterwork, I’m just all, “I just want to go home,” or, “I’m just going to go to yoga.” Trying to get a super cheap back-of-the-theatre or rush ticket just doesn’t sound appealing. 

I know, I’m so whiny – I’d have to take the train 3 stops, then get off and check, and then possibly get back on. The horror. I guess, technically, I also want to hang out with my cat while she’s still getting used to living with me. (Secretly I think she counts down the minutes until I leave in the morning but I could be wrong.)

But I’m slowly rectifying that. I purchased a ticket yesterday for Saturday’s matinee to Tuck Everlasting for starters. I really think it sounds 100% boring, but it has a great cast and it was the only show that had a Saturday matinee on TDF, so why not

Secondly, while I contemplated going to see a show last night, specifically Waitress (because @endotique says it was great), I decided against it and bought a ticket for May 18th instead. Afterwards I picked up tickets for an irreverent musical for J’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I’m not saying what it is here incase he reads here, but he’ll love it. 

What else do I need to see? Blackbird, Bright Star, Fiddler on the Roof, possibly Fully Committed, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (amazing cast), The Father (why not?), She Loves Me, The Color Purple (I’d have no interest after seeing the original production but I hear this one is fantastic), The Crucible (I’ve never seen it live and who doesn’t love a 3-hour play about McCarthyism?) and, oh yes, Hamilton. I guess. (I’ll do the cancellation line sooner or later before Lin leaves.)

I’m pretty sure that’s about it. Ten shows. It’s a play-heavy list, that’s for sure. I want to see American Psycho again soon but hopefully that’ll be around for a little while.

Writing it out in a list like that makes it not seem so insurmountable. One show every week? Every two weeks? Done in no time. Except for Hamilton. I’ll have to take a Monday or Tuesday off from work to sit in the cancellation line to get tickets for my dude and I to that fucker. Goddamn you, Lin-Manuel. 

Noises Off

I knew Noises Off was a comedy. I remembered when Peter Gallagher was in the last revival in the early 2000′s, but I had no idea how slap-stick it was. I was excited to see this revival because: Tracee Chimo, Rob McClure, and even Megan Hilty. 

The set rotated and was pretty remarkable. Megan Hilty has become an amazing actress since her Wicked days. Rob McClure is better than ever. Tracee Chimo is frumpy and entertaining. The entire cast is ace: you have to be to perform such a cheesy, comedic script.

I started the first act thinking it was going to be one long night of stupidity, but by the end of act 3 (yes, act 3), I could’ve laughed myself to an early death. (Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but you get it.)

The expertly choreographed physical comedy alone is enough of a reason to buy a ticket. 

Two Saturdays ago I was able to score extremely-cheap-practically-free tickets to The Gin Game. I thought it was a great primer before seeing the new Star Wars movie – it was the voice of Darth Vadar! On stage! I made the cheesy request to go to Bourbon Street on Restaurant Row beforehand and my dude obliged. I had very little idea what The Gin Game was about – though I assumed it was probably about gin rummy – but it didn’t matter. It was James Earl Jones and Cecily Tyson onstage! Two of the oldest people still acting, I think. (Probably not, but let’s just go with it.) And they’re both still amazing. You know what else was amazing? Our seats. Fifth row, orchestra, dead center. I could’ve touched James Earl Jones with my lightsaber (if i owned one). 

About a pair of senior citizens living in a rather depressing retirement home in the south, the script is essentially just the two of them playing game after game of gin rummy. Tyson wins every single time, after two or three plays – sometimes five, if Jones is lucky. My boyfriend had semi-jokingly said beforehand, “I just want to see Darth Vadar swear for an hour and a half.” Well, he got what he wanted. His character had quite the temper and he swore and threw things around, a lot. 

It gets really dark and I ended up really feeling badly for the both of them. They’re both fantastic – duh. It was an odd and unexpected play, but highly entertaining. 

Last month I landed a ticket to Manhattan Theatre Club’s Airline Highway at the Samuel Friedman Theatre after learning that Julie White (!) was in it so how could I not see it?!

The play takes place in the Hummingbird Motel on the Airline Highway outside of New Orleans and is a pretty depressing place to live. The residents are throwing a “living funeral” for one of their favorite inhabitants, a former dancer named Miss Ruby. The other residents have pretty much not done a whole lot with their lives but they at least had a good time not doing anything. A resident who’s gotten out and done well for himself is coming back which is a problem for Krista, who was in a relationship (of sorts) with him for six years, still loves him, and is still in the same spot where he deserted her.

Bait Boy brings his girlfriend’s daughter with him to the party where she asks the residents questions for her high school sociology project and is filled with life from the fun and good times that these people are having while having not a care in the world.

Things get messy and I think the overall message of the show is that we spend our life running from ourselves and our feelings instead of actually, you know, feeling them. 

It’s dark, and depressing, but it felt relevant.