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So That You May Bear Witness - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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November 13th, 2008


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12:38 am - So That You May Bear Witness
Hey guys, I propose an outing to see Quality of Life next week. Here are the details:

[details]

Again, I enjoyed the play more because I didn't know anything about it going in, so I don't really want to put a capsule description here, but I compare the experience of watching it to the experience of watching American Beauty for the first time: it's heavy, and moving, but also entertaining, and funny, and uplifting for reasons that are hard to put my finger on. And the acting is phenomenal.

And so Dan got us all to see The Quality of Life by Jane Anderson tonight. It's about two couples dealing with loss and grief, a Ohioan couple having lost their only daughter and a Californian couple having lost their home in a forest fire. It does what good plays do, which is have a bunch of different characters talk and see what happens. It felt almost voyeuristic because the conversation was so natural. The play is about life and death and living and dying and liberals and conservatives and grief and loss and God and Jesus and marijuana. It's depressing and uplifting at the same time. I recommend it; it's much better than Rock 'n' Roll, which I paid three times as much to see.

Dan said he enjoyed it not knowing anything, so I didn't look anything up. When we got to A.C.T., I saw the poster, and some of the names looked familiar. Steven Culp was ringing a bell for some reason. Laurie Metcalf was a famous name, I thought. And why did I know the name JoBeth Williams? Reading the program gave me the answers:

Steven Culp was in Traveler!! I had just been thinking about how I liked that show. He played Agent Chambers, the one heading the investigation looking for our heroes.

Laurie Metcalf I don't think I'd actually seen, but her name was famous because she was in Roseanne, and I had just read an article about the show in Entertainment Weekly.

JoBeth Williams was in...Poltergeist? Hm, that wasn't it. I turned the page. She had a recurring role in Dexter last season? Holy crap, she was Rita's mom!!

I had no idea the show had such a star-studded cast! Okay, I think the flier I got in the mail probably mentioned the "star-studded cast," but I tossed it into the recycle bin almost immediately, not recognizing the play or playwright. But I love when you go to a show and discover something like that. Like seeing Avenue Q at the Orpheum and reading that one of the swings is the voice of Suki from Avatar. Or my personal favorite, seeing Art at the Alley Theatre in Houston—which double-cast the show and rotated actors in and out every night so that you could go five nights in a row and never see the same cast—and getting to see K. Todd Freeman, who played Mr. Trick on Buffy.

What unexpectedly cool cast members have you been blessed with? I don't mean when you go specifically to see David Tennant in Hamlet, but when you obliviously go see Hamlet and discover that it stars David Tennant.
Current Mood: indescribabledepressed yet uplifted
Current Music: Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye

(25 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:incidentist
Date:November 13th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
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Also one of the reasons I didn't say what it was about was, I couldn't think of how to describe it in a way that does justice to it. Yours was good. Might I suggest that it was sad without being depressing.

Also: Aww, I count as a real life friend now!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 08:47 am (UTC)
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Also one of the reasons I didn't say what it was about was, I couldn't think of how to describe it in a way that does justice to it. Yours was good.
Ha. Who's the writer NOW?

Might I suggest that it was sad without being depressing.
You might, and you would be right. I use the term "depressing" rather loosely.

Also: Aww, I count as a real life friend now!
You've counted for ages, buddy.
[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:November 13th, 2008 08:45 am (UTC)
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Like seeing Avenue Q at the Orpheum and reading that one of the swings is the voice of Suki from Avatar.
Hahahaha, amazing.

Talking of John Lithgow, I saw him in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ages ago in a kind of unplanned way - I didn't know he was going to be in it when we went to see it, but the person who had bought the tickets did. It was exciting for me! That's the only one I can think of off the top of my head.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
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Ha, how coincidental to our very conversation! We are in tune tonight, my friend.

I didn't know that was a play.
[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:November 13th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
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Apparently!

I didn't either! I think they adapted it from the movie, plus songs.
[User Picture]
From:lynevere
Date:November 14th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
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It's a great play!
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[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Random VM person + Sondheim = win!

Was the new Sondheim good?
[User Picture]
From:twenty8penguin
Date:November 13th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
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I've had several moments like that - but all in London. I think they have more cross-overs with stage and tv and movie actors.

The most memorable was when I saw "The Night Season" in '04. David Bradley came out onto stage and I start whispering to my dad, "Argus Filch! Argus Filch!" My dad has neither seen nor read Harry Potter so he had no idea whom I was talking about. Bradley was excellent in the play too - makes me think that the Potter producers need to use him as more than just comic relief.

My favorite Alley production has to be when they did House & Garden. The shows run concurrently, share a cast, and the dialogue that happens in "House" is referenced when the characters are in the "Garden" and vice versa. Not only is it a cool concept for the plays, the Alley actors executed it beautifully. They never missed a cue, despite the fact that the were running back and forth between the big stage and the one downstairs. (Obviously the audience stays in one theater - you either buy a ticket for "House" or for "Garden".)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
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David Bradley came out onto stage and I start whispering to my dad, "Argus Filch! Argus Filch!" My dad has neither seen nor read Harry Potter so he had no idea whom I was talking about.
Hee!! Was he hard to recognize? I wouldn't recognize him, but I imagine he doesn't usually look so Filch-y.

My favorite Alley production has to be when they did House & Garden.
I WANTED TO SEE THAT SO MUCH AND I NEVER GOT AROUND TO GOING BECAUSE YES IT SOUNDED SO DAMN COOL AAAARGH. WHERE THE HELL ELSE CAN YOU EVEN DO THAT?
[User Picture]
From:twenty8penguin
Date:November 13th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
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He looks Filch-y... but not nearly as demented. No twisted smile, not hunched over with fake teeth. Just sort of like a nice old man. I recognized him from some of the HP cast interviews.

I WANTED TO SEE THAT SO MUCH AND I NEVER GOT AROUND TO GOING BECAUSE YES IT SOUNDED SO DAMN COOL AAAARGH. WHERE THE HELL ELSE CAN YOU EVEN DO THAT?
Yeah, it was SWEET! You definitely need the right venue to stage it, but more importantly you need a director and cast with an acute sense of timing. I also just love that style of narration - where the audience can only see one side of the story at a time.

[User Picture]
From:electricmonk
Date:November 13th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
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Once I went to a play with my mom in New York, and Parker Posey turned out to be in it. And I saw Kevin Kline play Falstaff, but I think I knew that going in.

Sorry we dragged you to Rock & Roll. :(
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Ha ha ha, don't feel bad! It was worth it to hang out with you guys. Plus, come on, for a guy who likes everything, it's nice to have something to complain about once in a while.

Parker Posey! She just turned 40 the other day, and she still looks good.
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From:homegoddess
Date:November 13th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I saw George Wendt from Cheers (Noooorrrrm) in Art about ten years ago in London. I also saw K. Todd Freeman. He played Dr. Dillamond in Wicked in Chicago a couple of years ago. My daughter, Sarah, and I were really excited about that one. Glad he seems to be busy.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:November 13th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
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I think I heard about his run as Dr. Dillamond! Very cool.
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[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 14th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
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That's totally almost the same thing in a backwards way! Neat! I didn't know he sang. How amusing.
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[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 14th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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A) OH MY GOD JASON STREET WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.

B) Aww.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 14th, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)
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(There was a song with the chorus, "I am going to make like a nail and press on" -- you get the idea.)
Hee.

I check the program, and it's Marty from Gilmore Girls, Wayne Wilcox.
Naked Guy?? Hee, cool.

I was pretty proud of my recall of obscurities for that one!
Ha, awesome.
[User Picture]
From:lynevere
Date:November 14th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
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What unexpectedly cool cast members have you been blessed with?

I unexpectedly saw Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables miniseries) in the touring production of The Drowsy Chaperone. None of my friends were as excited as I was (I guess they don't have a crush on Gilbert?), but he was fabulous.
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From:thetheatremouse
Date:November 15th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
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Saw Ben's daughter's boyfriend (Lost) in Spring Awakening. Saw Erin Chambers in...some play that wasn't executed well enough for me to remember what it was...

the voice of Suki from Avatar.
I met her last year (gosh was it last year or the year before?) right before the Avenue Q tour started and she mentioned being a voice on Avatar and half the people in the room were all "Aw, really! Yay!" googly-eyed about it and the other half had no idea what that meant. I thought of you. Can't remember if I told you that happened at the time...at that point I'd never seen the show, just heard about it via you and another dude friend.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:November 15th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
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Saw Erin Chambers in...some play that wasn't executed well enough for me to remember what it was...
Yay Erin Chambers! Boo random bad play. (But yay random play, what what.)

I met her last year (gosh was it last year or the year before?) right before the Avenue Q tour started and she mentioned being a voice on Avatar and half the people in the room were all "Aw, really! Yay!" googly-eyed about it and the other half had no idea what that meant. I thought of you. Can't remember if I told you that happened at the time...at that point I'd never seen the show, just heard about it via you and another dude friend.
You did not tell me that! That's great! Aw.
[User Picture]
From:missquita
Date:November 15th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
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Ohio and California, my kind of play. I wish I lived closer to you guys.

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