Monday, May 18, 2009

"I Ought To Be In Pictures" Opens

Posted by Bruce Miller
Neil Simon's I Ought To Be In Pictures opened on Friday, just in time to make up for the fact that Annie and Well were closing on Sunday. Thoroughly Modern Millie begins rehearsal this evening. Ah, the circle of life!

It's been fun working the past four weeks on Pictures. Fun because I was able to spend evening after evening with Audra Honaker, Matt Hackman and Lisa Kotula--three funny, smart and kind-hearted friends. I've said it for years. The greatest blessing of my job is that I get to work with wonderful people.

It's been fun to work with a play written in 1980 and update cultural references (the names of popular movie and television stars, cars, baseball heroes etc.) so that the play continues to be set, as the author has written, "in the present." The one popular movie star who needed no updating after 29 years? Jack Nicholson.

It's fascinating to see how a comedy plays when its 29-year-old bones are all dressed up in 2009 duds. (I'm using "duds" in the context of "clothing," not in the context of "a bomb that fails to explode." Yikes!) Is there some friction when dialogue written three decades in the past rubs up against cultural references from the present? You bet there is. Fun!

In theatre, it can't be only about recreating--or creating in the case of Bo and Steve's wonderful Mona's Arrangements--the comedies and dramas of today (Well, The Clean House). It can't be only about honoring the great plays of the past (Children of a Lesser God, Driving Miss Daisy). Sometimes it's fun to mix the past and present together and see what happens.

I was honored that Celia Wren, a great national theatre writer who happens to live in Richmond, reviewed Pictures for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Here are the quotes we're pulling from her terrific review:

“Funny, Poignant Play!

If America could harness Audra Honaker, the country’s energy problems would be solved!

Super-Competent, Shrewdly Choreographed

Hackman exudes the right kind of world-weary cantankerousness

Smart! Agreeable! Droll!

Kotula displays apt wistfulness

Exactly the Right Place

God is in the Details!”

--Celia Wren, Richmond Times-Dispatch

I hope you'll find the time to come out to Hanover Tavern to check in on this lesser known Neil Simon comedy. It's fun and sweet and I'm proud of it.

See you at the theatre!

--Bruce Miller

1 comment:

pnlkotula said...

It is a pleasure, and an honor! Thanks for all you do, Bruce.