Pictured: Garth Petal, Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez in "Mud". Photo Rob Melrose
January 13, 2009
By Lee Hartgrave
MUD IS A SHOW YOU WILL REMEMBER!
THE INDUSTRIAL MUSICAL SOUNDS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SHOW SET THE TONE OF THE PLAY. AS THE CRANKING HORRIFIC MUSIC WAFTS AROUND THE THEATER, YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE TRAPPED IN SOME SERIOUS UNPLEASANT MOMENTS.
The first scene: There is an ironing board. Men’s white shirts are hanging to dry. Behind the ironing board is an Iron Pot sitting on a beat up Hot Plate. Mae enters the room and starts to Iron shirts that she is pulling from a basket.
Mae lives with Lloyd, who is not the brightest bulb in this neck of the woods. Mae’s father brought Lloyd, who was an abandoned child home. He was raised with Mae. They live in rural parts in the middle of nowhere. They are completely broke. It’s doubtful that they have two quarters to rub together. Mae Irons shirts just to keep her and Lloyd in bread and soup. The room itself is enough to keep you in constant depression. Neither one of the them can read, although Mae does a little better then Lloyd, who is totally illerate. Also Lloyd in not well and he won’t go the clinic to find out what’s wrong with him. He argues with Mae goes to school when she can to learn to read and write. Lloyd just sits around and rots.
They have had an affair, although they are not married. But, now Mae is tired of him just laying around and doing nothing. “I work”, Mae says. I Iron clothes so that I can buy the things that we need to live, and I go to school.” Lloyd comes onto Mae. “I can still get it up Mae” – he says. “No you can’t get it up. You’re sick Lloyd, and you can’t get it up. You stink. Nobody wants to be near you. The dogs will puke when they get near you.”
“F%ck you Mae – I can get it up, you whore.” – says Lloyd as he rubs himself down there.
There is a “Tennessee Williams” feeling to this play. It’s real, it’s brash and hits you like a steamroller. But, as bad as things are – they get worse as a man with no home comes to visit. His name is Henry. Mae hopes that he can read a medical brochure to see if she can find out what is wrong with Lloyd. Henry is not all that helpful, even though he can read a little better. The answer is still that Lloyd needs to go to the clinic. Finally Lloyd goes to the clinic. “They want me to take some pills and they want me to buy them” – he tells Lloyd. Henry avoids offering any help, except to tell Lloyd that he needs to do what they tell him. Lloyd does get his pills, but I won’t tell you how he got them.
Henry moves in, replacing Lloyd in Mae’s bed. Then an accident happens and Henry becomes partially paralyzed. Now Mae has two imperfect men to take care off. She wants to get on with her life. Mae wants to go to school to learn things. When she walks out the door, Lloyd is destroyed. He completely falls apart as he blends into the Mud and dirt on the floor. His torn socks are like a statement of his life. The ending is heartbreaking, and indescribably moving! Prepare to be riveted. This play shows you the thin line between love and hate. The acting is absolutely brilliant by these masterly actors: Alan Kaiser (Lloyd), Marilet Martinez (Mae) and Garth Petal (Henry). The spectacular directing is by Paige Rogers. The fascinating, complex play is by Maria Irene Fornes. Liliana Duque designed a perfect set, and Cliff Caruthers sound design chilled me to the bone. Bessie Delucchi’s Costume designs were right on target. Clear your calendar to see “Mud” – a heartbreaking story of resilience, hope, and how far people will go to get it.
PLAYING AT THE ‘CUTTING BALL THEATRE’ (At Exit Theatre) on Taylor Street.
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (Highest Rating) –trademarked-
AIRWAVES EXCHANGE (Hot Stuff)
MOVIE STAR ARLENE DAHL will be interviewed on the Castro Stage on Sat. January 24, between screenings of two of her films – favorites that she made back-to-back in 1956: Slightly Scarlet and the rarely screened femme-fatale classic ‘Wicked as The Come.’ The theme of this years Noir City is ‘newspaper noir,’ with many of the films set in the world of newspapers, or, in some cases, publishing or radio. You can expect a lot of quick and tart dialogue. Just the kind that I like. Producer-host is Mr. Noir himself, Eddie Muller and co-programmer Anita Monga. Together they have made a special effort to have Noir City’s daily double bills reflect actual 1940’s-era theater programming. With that in mind, they have sought out rare, legitimate B films -- shorter movies that were intentionally made to fill out the second half of a program. Muller told me: “I think this will probably be as close as you’re going to get to actually going to the movies in 1948.” The Noir City festival is produced under the auspices of the Film Noir foundation, a nonprofit Corporation dedicated to rescuing and restoring America’s noir heritage. All proceeds from the festival directly support the foundation’s mission of finding preserving, and restoring films.
The Festival runs at the Castro Theater Jan. 23 through Feb. 1, 2009. Muller says: “Two movies for 10 bucks. The best deal in town. San Francisco fans deserve nothing less. Also available is a Festival Passport to all the movies ($100). These films are a tribute to the legacy of America’s fourth estate, in all its flawed and fabulous glory.” Info: www.noircity.com.
HOT GOOD NEWS…The New Conservatory Theatre has extended the run of “Zanna Don’t” a gay High School musical fairy tale. Dates added – Jan 18 – February 1st. Get out your wand and get ready to click your heels together as you visit a Gay High School. Info: www.nctcsf.org.
INDIE FEST is coming Feb. 5-22, but you don’t have to wait to go the Benefit/Launch Party on Jan 23 at the Elbo room, Valencia at 17th with” Shotgun Wedding Quintet, Ex-Boyfriends (the best kind), Polio del Mar and exciting festival previews. The party is 21up; cover is $10 bucks, and all proceeds benefit the 11th SF IndieFest. CARTOON DUMP with Frank Conniff (Mystery Science theater 3000 will be at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, SF, 8pm $20. Whazit that? Cartoon Dump combines sketches, songs puppets, stand-up comedy and crappy cartoons (the worst Cartoons…EVER!) -- TO CREATE A UNIQUELY DISTURBING AND HILARIOUS EXPERIENCE. Buzzin likes disturbing! Info: www.cartoondump.com. P.S. The Eighth Annual SF Sketchfest features appearances by ‘The State, Tim and Eric and Martin Mull.’
SF SKETCH COMEDIANS ‘KILLING MY LOBSTER’ RETURN TO FULL LENGTH PLAY TERRITORY WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF MATT PELFREY’S COMIC HOLLYWOOD SATIRE ‘PURE SHOCK VALUE’
(PSV). THE PLAY WILL BLAST THROUGH THE DOORS OF THE EXIT THEATER FEB. 26 THROUGH MARCH 22 2009. You remember the KML group, don’t you? They are the group who brought us the absolutely and crazy “Hunter Gatherers”, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Pure Shock Value centers on three-film industry bottom-feeders on the brink of abandoning their Hollywood Ambitions. This is surreal comedic journey through the underbelly of Hollywood, far from Beverly Hills three-picture deal and multi-million dollar profits. The author Matt Pelfrey is the resident playwright at the award-winning Furious Theatre Co. in Pasadena. Here are a couple of his plays that have been produced around the world. “Honkies with Attitude”, and ‘Jerry Springer is God.’ Tix and Info: www.killmylobster.com and nightly at the door.
THEATREWORKS will present the “Twentieth Century” that had a long ride on Broadway and has played almost continuously around the world. In the movies Gloria Swanson played the role of the Diva. Charles Bruce Milholland bases the stage play by Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur in a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig. In this nutty comedy, Broadway and Hollywood collide in the 1930’s. Opens Jan 17th (Saturday) at 8PM. Info: www.theatreworks.org. Or 650-903-6000.
Lily Garland stars as the Silver Screen Starlet who is on the fast moving ‘Twentieth Century Train.’
PHANTOM: LOVE NEVER DIES. Well, not as long as Andrew Lloyd Webber is around it won’t. Phantom: Love Never Dies is the sequel to the long running Phantom of the Opera, and it has planned openings soon in five U.S cities, and China. Lloyd Webber says: “The one which really interests me would be china…I think to open Love Never Dies in Shanghai would be an enormous thing.” The sequel will be set around ten years after the first Phantom. The Phantom has relocated from the Paris Opera of Gaston Leroux’s original novel to Coney Island in Brooklyn, the beachside amusement walk for New Jersey and New York. Lloyd Webber told the Times: “it was the place. Even Freud went because it was so extraordinary…people who were freaks and oddities were drawn towards it because it was a place where they could be themselves.” O.K. from that I get that the Phantom did not die in the Opera House. And since there is a shortage of creepy places to live – why not Coney Island? Who will play the Phantom this time on stage? Here are some names being bantered around: Gerard Butler, who played the role in Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film adaptation, and Hugh Jackman, who is now starring in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia. Jackman -- has appeared in “Sunset Boulevard, Oklahoma! And The Boy from Oz.
TENNESSEE IN THE SUMMER is a play that I saw many years ago at the Surf Theatre near Ocean Beach. ‘Tennessee’, is written by Joe Besecker, a legend playwright, who has written at least 25 plays, if not more. The play will open at the New Conservatory Theatre on Jan 22 through Mar. 1st. It’s a fascinating probe into the psyche of playwright Tennessee Williams. Besecker has put together a powerful and insightful look into the private life of Tennessee Williams. Box Office: 861-8972. Recommended.
RITA MORENO, WILSON CRUZ (Broadway – Rent-, T.V. – Noah’s Arc, and film star; SPENCER DAY, LORETTA DEVINE, TUCK & PATTI, TERESE GENECCO, TIM HOCKENBERRY, SHARON MC NIGHT, SHAWN RYAN, BURN THE FLOOR (cast members for the hit Latin Ballroom dance show.) What do all the above talents have in common? Well, here’s the scoop. They are all going to be in ‘ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE’ at the POST STREET THEATRE – ON NIGHT ONLY. Presented by the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, this ‘Help in on the Way’ show is a Valentine Benefit Concert that will Benefit 3 Bay Area AIDS Service Organizations. Mark your Calendar for a wonderful evening of singing and fun on Feb. 9 2009.You’ve got some love in you – so lets all get together and pass it around at this all-star Valentine themed benefit concert. Tix: www.helpisontheway.org.
YOU KNOW YOUR WAY TO SAN JOSE – NOW FIND YOUR WAY TO SOME GOOD THEATRE IN ROSS. WARNING: Adult Language. The Ross Valley Players present, David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s about a small-time real estate salesman trying to make a living by any means necessary by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers. Mamet got inspiration for the play on his experiences in a Chicago Real E$tate office. I injected the $ sign. Of course, even though the name ‘Ross’appears in the play, I’m sure that the realtors in Ross are nothing like the ones in Glengarry Glen Ross. Jan. 16 through Feb. 22. www.rossvalleyplayers.org.
SHE’S BACK!: THE GREEN WITCH WILL BE FLYING THE SPACE OVER THE ORPHEUM THEATRE BEGINNING ON FEB. 6TH. She’s Green, you know. Witches are hard to get rid of – especially when they are this popular.
FLICKER BITS: IT’S THEIR’S TO HAVE: BEST PICTURE: ACADEMY WINNER’S? – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. ASTOUNDING! WINNER: BEST ACTOR – MICKEY ROURKE (Wrestler). GREAT, BELIEVABLE ACTING. WINNER – BEST ACTRESS, ANGELINA JOLIE FOR “The Changeling’. EMOTIONAL TRIUMPH! These are my picks and I’m sticking to it.
You can also read Lee Hartgrave at: www.beyondchron.org.
AND THAT’S A WRAP!