“Act Two” / Memorable Fancies #514

    At 7:30 the play begins. Actors come on stage and say their lines. A plot emerges, subplots. The dialog is lively and portentous, but it gradually becomes apparent that the great thing, the event that moves the plot, is never mentioned, only inferred by gaps in dialog, sidelong looks, alarm and despair.      By the middle of Act II it becomes obvious that the plot actually concerns those in the audience; all and each of them. They have been hand-picked, call that self-selected if one … [Read more...]

“A Problem with Outdoor Matinees and 84-Word Sentences” / Memorable Fancies #470

     As any Athenian, I am partial to the theatre, especially to those final scenes where a god saves the day and resolves all those knotty plot problems. Any of the multitude of gods may appear, but for only one do we post a warning in advance of the show: Phoebus Apollo. If we were to look directly at him we would be blinded. At least, some people think so. That is why in our dramas the custom is to look away and hear only his voice. Ah, but this is surely just some old superstition from long … [Read more...]

“The Re-Enactment” / A Memorable Fancy #418

[“...re-enactments. With actors recreating the postures, sounds, and ensuing mayhem ...” – Pil & Galia Kollectiv]      The producer wishes to re-enact the famous play where there was a riot, with many injured and a few dead.      “How realistic do you want this to be?” the director asks. “If we advertise it as a re-enactment, then ticket-holders will know that some of them, at least, may die. The original production wasn’t that way, of course; the catastrophe was a complete surprise. … [Read more...]

“Tragedy” / A Memorable Fancy #379

It is an ancient time, the first time actors pretend that there is no audience. This is new. Always before, in all those past centuries, the actors declaimed toward the audience, addressed us. This new way of acting is both revolutionary and insulting. Audiences boo at it. After all, those actors are ignoring us, are saying their best lines to each other, not to us. We paid admission, so we should be acknowledged, spoken to. We are the ones, after all, who are expected to applaud. But the … [Read more...]

“The Tip” / A Memorable Fancy #377

[Scene in a diner in the manner of David Mamet. Characters are: A, an unsuccessful criminal; B, a successful criminal; and Waiter.] (A enters and sits down across a table from B) A: Fries any good here? B: Thought about our deal? A: Yeah, or I wouldn’t be here – right?                Waiter: Who had the chili? B: Maybe for the chili? A: Cut the crap. “Inside tip,” you said. B: Inside tip. Six figures. At least. A: Quite a deal.                 Waiter: Ketchup you … [Read more...]

“The Playgoer’s Dream” / A Memorable Fancy #059

     There is a prop or two on stage: perhaps a stool turned backward. Mist rises from under-stage machines. Experts have assured the theatre manager that no toxic chemicals are involved, or at least that none will, under normal circumstances, reach the audience. Nonetheless, physicians are in attendance.     At last the house is full. The audience shifts uneasily in its seats. Coughs ring out from those who suppose, vainly, that by coughing at this permitted time no coughs will issue from them … [Read more...]

“The Actor Dreams – II / A Memorable Fancy #064

The actor dreams: All the others on stage know what to say, how to move. Only the others know what to say, how to move. Perhaps he has rehearsed the wrong play. Perhaps he has come onstage at the wrong cue, or through the wrong door. Perhaps he has rehearsed a character meant for someone else. Perhaps it is not only actors who have fears such as these.     … [Read more...]