Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just a quick one

to say that I've had a most perfect two-for-two theater-and-dinner evening (I know it is frivolous to rank the dinner with the play, a really good play will certainly carry a bad dinner, and yet it is also true that a terrible play can be assuaged by an excellent dinner afterwards--I remember my friend A. in college, one of my many friends A., very seriously explaining why he thought the whole symposium idea distasteful, intellectual conversation should not be sullied by the materiality of food and drink, and while I quite see the point of his youthful belief I think that surely the two things--in this case art rather than philosophy, of course--are compatible). If you're in NY you must see this play while it's still on, the tickets are amazingly only $15: it's August Wilson's Seven Guitars at the Signature Theatre (and you know, I almost said I couldn't go because of work, it is a lesson in not turning down opportunities--fortunately I came to my senses in the nick of time after realizing I had never seen an August Wilson play & that this was ridiculous).

It's a magically good play, it's got that great noir thing going on so that you think a lot about character and free will and determinism (and the counterbalance between the character of Hedley with his fallen mythic legacy and Floyd with his desperately ambitious and continually thwarted upward mobility is totally amazing, that's what makes the whole thing work); and the production is amazing too, beautiful set and amazingly good acting. Lance Reddick is perfect as Floyd; but there is this moment when Roslyn Ruff as Vera, who we have only seen as a wary and almost sullen woman, finally relaxes enough to trust Floyd again and you suddenly see in her what these men who love her have seen and what they also have taken away from her so that the audience has hardly caught a glimpse of her charm as it has been beaten down into suspicion, it is an acting moment of great genius as well as an acutely-well-timed-in-the-arc-of-the-play moment.... Anyway, trust me, it's superb, see it if you can.

And then the also perfect dinner afterwards at Esca, I had an heirloom-tomato-and-arugula salad with some sort of cheese crumbled over and then a small but absolutely delicate sashimi-style mackerel crudo, everything just tastes exquisitely as it should & like what you most want to eat in the world.

(But August Wilson is better than dinner.)


  1. Will never forget seeing both Fences and The Piano Lesson. And this was in Detroit, with local actors. Hope I get a chance to see this one somday. His death is a great loss!

  2. Thanks for the tips--I am a Wilson admirer. But mostly it's nice to see, upon stopping by for the first time this summer, that you are in good form as ever.

    And glad to hear the Messud is so good. I have an earlier one of hers on the strong rec. of a friend--must get to both....

  3. Went to see it tonight and had to comment that I loved it and agree that between the price and the quality of the play & performance (not to mention the unbelievable set!), there's no reason anyone should miss out on this!