Re-Views, Theater Farts, Unsolicited Solicitations

Not So “Delicate Dis-Balance” of SirGay’s Salty Balls

Last weekend I had quite an event. My friends took me to see a show on Broadway. Oh my goodness, I thought, I am going to see a Broadway show. Like a good boy (in my case a man, I am not trying to kid anyone anymore) I put my fancy pants and went.

Damn it, I knew I needed to have a drink beforehand…

I sensed that there was something wrong with the show as soon as it started. After twenty minutes into the “action,” for some reason, I wanted to storm onto the stage and scream at everyone, like, and what is wrong with all of you people here? But then I realized, I was surrounded by rich white people and the exit was way too far.

Well, darlings, even though I had only thirty five cents in my pocket, I remembered that I am white too, so I blended in. My whiteness saved me from being looked at, like, and what the f*ck are you doing here watching white people talk on a couch for three hours and… oh my gog… they were drinking too.

As soon as I saw by whom I was surrounded, I put my tailbone on my seat, sat on it and patiently watched the whole damn show. I just kept thinking, my friends spent their two day’s paycheck just to have me with them, so I better behave or the next time… well there would be no next time for my tailbone on any Broadway theater’s cushioned seat if I don’t behave.

Being a true (emphasis on “true”) theater artist I kept thinking, is this what you need to put on stage if you want to be on Broadway? I thought that you need to sleep with somebody there to get a part, or… or, wait, is this what you do to get a part in Hollywood? I always mix these two. The feeling that grabbed me by my balls was not the most pleasant. (Disclaimer: SirGay’s more detailed descriptions of events involving his balls, Broadway theater seats and what not were edited out, we decided not to dilute real problems with such descriptions) I just kept thinking, what is it I am watching now? Watching a show that had a bunch of rich white people drinking around a couch and having all these drunk conversations about their, so called, “problems” was kinda… I don’t know… I just don’t know. I kept looking at the audience and the huge chandelier on the stage which probably cost more than five or six shows to mount Off-Broadway, an amount which could pay full salaries to everyone involved with these Off-Broadway shows and still have some leftovers for some Off-Off-Broadway performance to make. The chandelier mesmerized me and then something else happened… (The description about SirGay’s salty sweat dripping down his crotch was edited out. Yes, it involved his balls.)

There is a reason why I want to avoid naming actors involved in the production. Yep, like a real Broadway show there were big names attached to this show. Why have they agreed to be in this production? I don’t know. I didn’t have time to ask them that. I was too busy with my own important busyness of being appalled. I just kept thinking, would the show have the same amount of people sitting in the audience if the show would have been made with less known actors? I asked my friends, if they would see the same show if not for these stars? My friends almost in unison said, no. I knew it. It was another conspiracy against me and my art. (Where do I put my smiley face?)

What bothered me in this show was the absence of enlightenment and inspiration. Pff, no. What bothered me was that the show was built by the rich, for the rich, with the rich actors. And it was, of course, about rich people’s “problems,” like, why can’t I sleep in my room while there are at least fifteen other rooms available in the house? God damn it, I’d take any of them, as long as I don’t pay the rent. Absurd? Ummm… I don’t think they (meaning rich) thought it was absurd. You might say, maybe that was the point of the show, to show how absurd it is to be rich and not to be able to sleep in your room. Ummm… that can’t be true, but then you see the audience of predominantly white and no doubt rich and then you go, and who the f*ck if not white and rich can afford to buy tickets to Broadway shows today? Damn it. How the heck was I excluded from this VIP club? (I think I want to hug my pillow and cry myself to sleep now.)

When you see the audience of old white people in a Broadway theater, that nobody can afford to rent, with the stars, who have as much money as these people in the audience, talk and talk and talk about nothing, you might start thinking that you were abducted and were made to sit and listen how “bad” these rich people have. How absolutely terrifying it is not to know where the coffee beans are in the house, because you’ve never made a cup of coffee yourself before. I kept thinking, maybe at some point actors were going to go into a song or into something more absurd and the set would suddenly change into… well, more exciting than this piece of rich people’s house full of expensive chandeliers and furniture. I kept thinking and why the f*ck am I watching these white rich people drink expensive drinks in their expensive house when I, ze Plastikoff himself, cannot afford the cheapest Port anymore, why? And then it donned on me, I was there to see how Broadway really works. If you are not in the club of these one percent people who own everything, don’t even think to dream to have anything on Broadway. But if that is the supposed dream, I want to wake up. This terrified me more than the last year’s ass contest started by Kim Kay, yes, that’s how you supposed to say, Kim Kay.

Somewhere by the end of act two I started feeling nauseous. I could not take it anymore. The status quo of a poor artist “surviving” in the city was so obvious to me that I… wait, what did I do? Oh, I went to see act three. I understood that my nausea was also provoked by my (description about the state of sweaty balls was edited out).

Suddenly I saw Mr. Albee sitting on his couch and getting drunk to the point of oblivion and saying (maybe to himself), oh you want a play about rich people for rich people? Okay, I am going to give you that. Let me write something while I am still drunk. The play would make no sense to most of poor (who needs them on Broadway anyway?), but would absolutely tickle rich people’s egos. You see, they would say, there is a show on Broadway about us. See how important our problems are. These other (meaning poor) people will never understand what it means to be this filthy rich when you literally can start drinking whenever you like and just keep drinking, because there is nothing else more dramatic to do. And why don’t they (meaning poor) understand how hard our lives are? Thankfully we know how to squeeze fresh orange juice for an early morning drink. Screw you all, I am having a screwdriver now…

I am afraid my dear darlings that after this review I might be banned from all Broadway theaters, because how do I dare to say anything bad about rich people’s entertainment and even more, about white rich people’s entertainment, which only they are entitled to enjoy. You know what, my darlings, there is nothing for me to lose. I am going to sacrifice myself for the humanity. See how selfless and heroic Serge Plastikoff is? You haven’t heard from him for such a long time and now he is ready to put his well white being on the chopping block for you. You might want to ask me, what was happening with you our dearest SirGay? Why weren’t you sharing your wisdom with us for such a long time? Darlings, I was on a break, on a break from all these things that matter to you. I went to Broadway to find that it is so broad, this so called Broadway, that there is no place for anybody who is not rich there.

I feel like I need to put some lemon juice on my balls and spray it with pepper spray now. But talking about spraying my (edited)… so tha-dha for tonight. There is nothing else I want to tell you today.

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Temperamental "T" Battles, Theater

“Period of Adjustment” vs. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

Play reading is challenging for some people. It happens so that I enjoy reading them. Of course it has something to do with me being a theater director, actor, playwright and what not. That’s right, Plastikoff is a very important theater artist, so you always should listen to what, he, ze Plasikoff himself, has to say to you about one or another play. Yes, of course, he has something to say about cats and Port drinking too, but today’s entry is not about that, unless you find a connection between Tennessee Williams and his cats.

If you are in theater arts, you most likely heard questions like, “so what play would you recommend?” Or “what’s in theaters right now?” Most of the people who ask these questions want to take a short cut. I don’t know if I should blame them for that and throw some paint into their faces? Maybe I should just break some vases instead? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be Plastikoff if I would not find some fun in those questions and my play reading.

These dialogs, monologues and short descriptions might get you when you read theater plays. You might say: “how the duck should I imagine how big actress’ boobs are when I read a description like this:

“ISABEL appears before the house, small and white-faced with fatigue, eyes dark-circled, manner dazed and uncertain. She wears a cheap navy-blue cloth coat, caries a shiny new patent-leather purse, has on red wool mittens.”

A fun fact about those boobs: apparently Jane Fonda had to wear fake titties while performing in a film version of Tennessee Williams’ play “Period of Adjustment.” I don’t know if that’s true, but her titties looked pretty real to me.

There are many things directors, actors, composers, stage and costume designers have to imagine while reading those, sometimes never ending, dialogs. I am here to enhance their and your imagination, my darlings. Considering all this challenge you might face reading a play, I want to present to you “The Temperamental “T” Battles” between two plays.

I would like to share with you the insights of how I read plays. To make it more interesting for myself and maybe for you, I am going to compare one play with another and see which one is stronger, which themes and characters are developed better and so on and so forth.

To put a play on the stage requires a lot of time and energy, so you want to find that perfect play which includes everything what you are looking for. My “very important notes” might make you read those plays and, who knows, this might become a reason why you have chosen one or another play for your theater. Yes, you can thank me in your play bills later, just don’t forget to send me some Port after you do that (I think that’s a good place to insert a smiley face, no?).

Here are the rules of the battle. I am going to take two in a way similar plays and playwrights and am going to compare them as if they are break dancing on the street or something. Somebody or something has to win. In no way I want to put down one or another play or playwright. They all are one way or another great, but, just it happens so, I might find one play more appealing to me than another. It could be that by points one play might be loosing the battle, but that would not necessary mean that I am less fond of the loosing play and am dismissing the “weaker” one and not considering it for a possible production. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you will find the same attraction to the plays I find exciting. First of all you are not Plastikoff to find dead things exciting and second of all… well there is no second of all, you are just not Plastikoff and that’s that (smiley face).

Here are the categories I am going to rate the plays in the fight:

  1. Which play has a more appealing/intriguing name?
  2. Are these plays race friendly?
  3. Could they be produced in other countries considering where they were originally written and produced?
  4. What are the weakest points and parts of the fighting plays?
  5. What are the strongest points and parts of the fighting plays?
  6. Was there anything that was censored in the plays?
  7. Is there anything that should be censored now?
  8. What type of plays are they?

a) A Director’s play
b) An Actor’s play (character driven play)
c) Are these plays giving more freedom for visual interpretations for stage designers, choreographers and composers?

And, of course, are there enough of “flying” sentences in the fighting plays to satisfy some similar situations you might find yourself in? You never know when you might need to make some lemonade and borrow some money for the lemons. I am here to do some research for you and help you with that, because we all know that most artist “have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Two points for you if you know where this sentence came from.

I am pretty sure more things will come up later, but for now I am inviting two great American playwrights Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee for the battle of temperamentals. The fight is going to be between “Period of Adjustment” by T. Williams and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” by E. Albee. Let the fight begin.

First, let me tell you in short what these plays are all about.

“Period of Adjustment” is a play about two couples dealing with their marriages. Two men in the play are long time friends. They know each other from the times when they were soldiers during Korean War. One of them, the older one, Ralph, is on the verge of divorcing his wife Dorothea. He married her for her money. Another one, George, just got married. There is something he is hiding from his wife Isabel and the world. There are plenty of hints to suggest that George has some homosexual tendencies. Well, darlings, it wouldn’t be a Tennessee Williams play if you would not have at least something which suggests “the secret.” George has a “performance anxiety.” This might be a code that he doesn’t really like ladies, but is forced to get married to make the town stop talking. His secret is subtly revealed by his placement of his hands on Ralph’s shoulders, his talk about a possibility of buying a ranch together and overly excitement of meeting Ralph again after some years. Considering that he got married to a stunning beauty, the suspicion about his “tendencies” intensifies.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is also about two couples who deal with their relationships. There is an older married couple and a young couple. The young couple gets invited by the older couple to their home for more drinking and debauchery. Constant (drunk) fights between the older couple reveal to us a lot about their relationship.

I don’t want to go deeper into plot details of those two plays, because that would add another four hundred words. You can find the plots on the Internet easily, so I am going to skip on that part and concentrate more on the “fight” and juicy details instead, revealing to you which play gets more points from me and which one is more likely to be produced right now.

First of all, the names of the plays:

Definitely, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a better title than “Period of Adjustment” which is surprising to me because Tennessee Williams is way better than Edward Albee with names for his plays. Who can compete with names like “A Streetcar Named Desire” or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?” Nobody. “Period of Adjustment” is not a successful name for this particular play. It could be that because of the name this play is less known than any of Tennessee Williams plays, which is a shame, because I find this play to be a very strong play. I give Albee 5 stars for the name while Williams gets only 2 stars.

Next, are these plays race friendly?

This is going to hit Tennessee Williams into the balls hard, because his play is not race friendly. I understand that the play takes place in the south and that at that time African Americans played servants only, but… I don’t see this play being performed with actors whose skin color is other than white. Also I hardly see this play being successful in other countries like, let’s say, China, Philippines or Nigeria. The play is about white people’s problems in the south of the U.S. of A. and that is quite a shame, because the way characters are written by Mr. Williams is absolutely gorgeous.

On another hand, even though “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” original cast was all white, I can see this play being adapted in other countries and played by actors of different races.

I am giving Tennessee Williams 2 stars and Edward Albee 4 stars for race friendliness.

Now what are the weak points/parts of each of these plays?

“Period of Adjustment” weak points are:

a) The name – Mr. Williams could have found a better name.
b) The overuse of “Period of Adjustment” in dialog between      characters.
c) The use of “colored,” “negro” in the text and African Americans as servants.
d) Too “happy” of an ending considering the undertones explored in the play.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” weak points are:

None.

“POA” strong points are:

a) Strong characters and small cast.
b) Strong and mysterious undertones in the play. There is a very subtle way Williams tells about a possible homosexual attraction between two friends Ralph and George. The subtle arm placement on each other’s shoulders and overly excitement when they see each other for the first time, give me an impression that Ralph and George enjoy each other’s company more than the company of their wives. Mr. Williams uses very strong text to express Ralph’s feelings towards homosexuals. Ralph tells several times how he is not happy about his son being turned into a sissy by his wife. There is a “Brokeback Mountain” moment in the play when Ralph and George are talking about leaving their wives and buying a ranch together somewhere in Texas to grow cattle. Isabel who is married to George feels that there is something wrong with him, because of how he behaved on the first night after the wedding. Latter on Ralph discloses that George didn’t really have sex while in Korea during the Korean War which again suggests that George might be leaning towards homosexual love. A little detail about the car George drives gives us an understanding that his marriage is his coffin.
c) Everything happens during one day, no time lapse.

“WAOVW” strong points are:

a) Strong characters and small cast.
b) Relationship undertones reveal to us in a very peculiar way that the older couple is without children even though they talk a lot about their son. The way the madness between characters progresses during the play is genius.
c) Everything happens during one night, no time lapse either.
d) Also the names of the three acts definitely add to the enjoyment of the play. They are: 1st act “Fun and Games,” 2nd act “Walpurgisnacht” and 3rd act “The Exorcism.”

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” definitely wins this battle, but “Period of Adjustment” with a few edits could become one of the strongest Tennessee Williams plays. Because of the themes in “POA” I tend to choose this play for my future production.

Regarding the censorship, both plays had some censorship happen to them when they were first produced. As almost always as it was with Tennessee Williams’ plays which had homosexual undertones, suggested leanings towards love between two men were removed from productions, be it in film or theater.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” had a few cuts too, but it suffered less than “POA.” The replacements were minor. The word “screw” was completely removed from the film. “Hump the hostess” was retained, but had some headaches happen to a few “good” people involved with censorship of profanity and sexual innuendos.

Both plays are character driven, actor plays, which means that they could be directed by actors and playwrights alike. There is not much for a director to do just to make sure that actors are following the script and character development.

On the ending note, even though “Period of Adjustment” lost this round by points, I should say that this play is as great as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and should be produced more often, maybe just with a few edits.

And now the juicy “flying” sentences for you.

“Period of Adjustment”

Ralph Baitz: The human heart could never pass the drunk test. Take a human heart out of a human body, put legs on it and tell it to walk a straight line, and it couldn’t. The heart could never pass a drunk test.

Ralph Baitz: Who remembers the last war? They’re too busy on the next one.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

[George takes a corner far too fast, tossing everyone in the car from side to side. Pause]
Martha: Aren’t you going to apologize?
George: Not my fault, the road should’ve been straight.
Martha: No, aren’t you going to apologize for making Honey throw up?
George: I didn’t make her throw up.
Martha: What, you think it was sexy back there? You think he made his own wife sick?
George: Well, you make me sick.
Martha: That’s different.

Martha: I swear, if you existed, I’d divorce you.

George: Martha, in my mind you’re buried in cement right up to the neck. No, up to the nose, it’s much quieter.

George: Martha is 108… years old. She weighs somewhat more than that.

George: Martha, will you show her where we keep the, uh, euphemism?

Nick: Who did the painting?
George: Some Greek with a mustache Martha attacked one night.
Nick: It’s got a…
George: Quiet intensity?
Nick: Well, no, a…
George: Well then, a certain noisy relaxed quality maybe?
Nick: No, what I meant was…
George: How about a quietly noisy relaxed intensity?

George: You can sit around with the gin running out of your mouth; you can humiliate me; you can tear me to pieces all night, that’s perfectly okay, that’s all right.
Martha: You can stand it!
George: I cannot stand it!
Martha: You can stand it, you married me for it!

Nick: May I use the… uh… bar?
George: Oh, yes… yes… by all means. Drink away… you’ll need it as the years go on.

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