As I noticed that google translate isn't always correct, and as I have a lot of readers from other countries, I've decided to translate some om my chronicles into English. This is my second language, so please excuse me if my English is inaccurate, and please contact me with corrections.
JUST DESERTOn the top shelf, in the back, in the hatcheck at the Playhouse Theatre, lies my Bop It. Left behind. Don't you know what a Bop-It is? A Bop-It is a kind of electric toy, a sort of handle with four buttons where you have to imitate the sound the machine makes. A kind of reaction and concentration game, you might say. It sounds silly, but there was a time when I and my colleagues did nothing else. Besides worked, of course. Someone at a party at someone's country place, I remember, for more than ten years ago, had a toy like this, and it went round and round, all weekend. It was so bad that you finally dreamed about it, when you went to bed, and all the time, somewhere in the big house, you heard the recorded voice call on some one to "Bop It!" Or "Twist it!", Or "Spin it!" or "Pull it!" Remember Debenhams on Queen Street(Drottninggatan)? There I found some months later my game, and had fun with it until it was forgotten somewhere. We were in all cases quite finished with it, it felt like, for it took a while before I realized it was lost.
The game on a shelf inside the Playhouse, I had bought that day at the City Mission at Maria Square (Mariatorget), for just 40 kronor. I left it in the closet because I didn't dare to trust that it would not start to urge people to "Bop It!", "Twist it!", "Spin it!" Or "Pull it!"
The reason I after the show idn't have a thought of picking up my little toy was that I and my buddy Malvolio Whisker were discussing Kristina Rådström's absolutely phenomenally delivered monologue from the time we walked out of the theater until we came up to Fridhemsplan. Not all the time, we discussed other parts of the show, but we all the time got back to her monologue.
You know how in the context of a musical, one sometimes talks of The Eleven O'Clock Number? The expression comes from the days when performances began half past eight, and around eleven o'clock it was time for that showstopping number that energized the audience, gave them something to hum when they went out and made them perk up until the end. Famous Eleven O'Clock Numbers are Memory from Cats, Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat from Guys and Dolls, and the Brotherhood of Man from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Kristina Rådström's monologue about her encounter with a man on a late night in the ice cream bar, is the show's Eleven O'Clock Number.
The play's original title is Rantoul and Die. Rantoul is a dying city in eastern Illinois, once full of soldiers, but now, since they closed the Chanute Air Force Base, the only activity that kept the place alive, quite eliminated. I guess the title is a play on the phrase See Naples and then die. Playwright Mark Roberts, a former stand-up comedian, best known as the writer and producer of Two and a Half Men and Mike and Molly, was born not far from there, and found that the place would fit as setting and title of the piece. It premiered in 2009, and has since been played both in Chicago and Off-Broadway.
Playhouse Theatre has impeccable aim to present the best award winning and newly written pieces directly from the stages in New York, and present them in Swedish. It has been around for 14 years, and has managed to provide 20 plays of 16 new playwrights.
Isn't it tough when you almost remember something, are almost sure, have it sort of on the tip of your tongue, or can almost, almost see it in front of you, in the corner of the eye, or nearly in front of you, when you close your eyes, as a sort of ghostpicture? I've been here at the theater before, most recently in the spring when I saw Young Guillotine with a special perfomance of It's a shame about fathers, and before that a few years ago for a kind musical evening, also a guest appearance. But I do not remember if I've seen any of Playhouses own productions. I have a feeling, but it is weak. It's like when you almost remember a melody; if everyone could just be silent you could almost hear it.
"I think I've seen somthing of the Playhouse here, before," I say to Malvolio Whisker, where we sit and wait for it to start. We are at the front. Not in the center, for there are two spots reserved for two people who have not yet arrived.
"Oh," says Malvolio, for there is not much else he could say. I've just been out to the hatcheck, bought a program and made the fateful decision to leave my Bop It.
Before that we had had a coffee break, talked about Chicago in KulSta, and I had called the police. A drunk manin the middle of Sibyllegatan, screaming and throwing bottles. I was not the first caller, the police said. Then you should already be here, I thought to answer. This is in all cases Östermalm, where important, real people live.
Malvolio Whisker, who has several one-man shows he usually does at smaller venues around the town, says he is thinking about reviving his "My Favorite Flops", and when I say that it would be perfect for the Regina Theatre, where he did the other shows, he says that he has heard that the Regina apparently is about to close. He has heard. Or read somewhere. He is not sure.
Just before the show starts, two men comes in and sits down in the reserved seats. They're wearing suits, are tall as basketball players, and does not seem to be the types that have seats reserved at theatical venues. I wonder if maybe they are financiers, or perhaps representatives of the playwright? Now afterwards, I regret that I did not talk to them, like some people do in the theater. Start with something innocent, like: "This will be interesting," and then quickly: "What the hell are you doing here, son of a bitch, you do not fool me!"
A woman comes on stage, asking us turn off our cell phones or put them on airplane mode, because if only put on mute they can interfere with the theater's electrical equipment. Then she tells us little about the Playhouse Theatre, and drop the bomb: This is their last production in these premises. For next fall they willhave moved into new, larger, more central premises, with a cafe and a restaurant, which is currently a secret. Central, I think. Larger, I think. Cafe and Restaurant? Regina, here we come, I think. This is how you create a rumor.
This production hade its premiered last week, and today, Wednesday, is the first show in three days. And it shows, in some quarters, that one has had some time off. On stumbled a bit on some lines, starts again, and sometimes interrupts. Not so much that its a nuisance, but often enough for me to notis. I guess this can easily be: they have rehearsed a whole lot, gone over the text, and now, after the premiere, has been able to relax, to forget, to be free, and all the text is suddenly no longer so readily available, it will not automatically come when you open your mouth.
It is about a married couple, Susie and Rallis, she workes at an ice cream parlor, and he's working as something I have forgotten. Somewhat irrelevant, something that only support him, I guess. She has stopped loving. He can not stop. She wants a divorce. He does not want to live anymore. When the play begins, he has just tried to kill himself, again. Bleeding, with superficially slashed wrists, he was found in the bathtub by his friend Kennie, who now manages nearly to strangle him in his attempts to explain that he, Rallis, really was not trying to kill himself, but it was just a cry for help.
"I really tried to" explain Rallis, but nobody listens.
I once had a friend, Mother's Little Einar, who was very anxious that he would be perceived as masculine. He wore leather pants, spoke in a low, deep voice and liked to build things. The funny thing about him was that he used the word "fragile" about himself, when other men might use words such as "a bit off", or paraphrases such as "It is a little tough right now."
Rallis often says that he is fragile. More sensitive than others. Kennie says that women don't want a sensitive guy. Women want someone who can push them up against the wall and give them what they want. Susie says Rallis is too whimpy, she wants someone with more action. Rallis goes out in to the bedroom and picks up a gun ...
It is a fun, quick, entertaining dark production, a bit like a sit-com version of somthing by Sam Shepard.
It has quite a special acting style. The set consists of a tiny white exercise machine, of the type you put under the bed when you do not want to exercise, and one long, angled natural brown leather sofa, one of those who survived the 80's mostly because no had the energy to lug it to the City Mission, or becausse the City Mission didn't not even want it? The floor is covered by a simple colored, moisture damaged, worn carpeting, and the walls, with patterns in relief of simple mazes, almost like a Greek pattern, has arge spots of mold. The lack of furniture, or props, leaving the actors without something to occupy themselves with, and makes the naturalistic way of acting a little strained. I believe that a more detailed, natural cluttered set design could add something. Now it's a bit like playing a Greek drama. One moves often, but without goal or reason, and the fourth wall, or the wall three and four, as everything is a bit twisted, so that the back is a corner, seems to be covered by windows, in front of which the actors often stands and stare into the audience. I think it is the director's way to assure that we should see their faces, but it becomes a bit like they're talking to us, the audience, and not with each other. One isn't "occupies" with anything, which makes the mundane tone unnecessarily dramatic. Moreover, it is much easier to deliver one-liners if you have a physical action, like that in passing. And I know, I've heard the expression "Do not just do something, stand there," but it's very nice when Kristina Rådström's character in the second act comes in and starts feeding Rallis with ice cream. She suddenly has an action, something to occupy herself with, making her suddenly having a lightness, a freedom in her acting. For the others, whithout everyday actions, it is hard to maintain the simplicity of the language. The costumes, perhaps in need of some further patina, are well chosen, inspired and provides a direct and clear picture of what kind of people we are dealing with. When Pia Oscarsson's character after a long day in the ice cream parlour comes home and kicks off her her high-heeled clogs I fully understand, I'm just a little surprised when she, after a while, puts them on again, but she is perhaps one of those like Lill Babs: her Achilles tendon is too short?
And somehow, I suddenly remembered what I have seen here before: Proof. Ten years ago, or more? I remember trellises, I think. And books.
And so we are back with Kristina Rådström. I know I've seen her before, but where? I mentioned her monologue at the end, huh? It is, in itself, a little masterpiece of acting, and it alone is worth a visit. She has a familiar mouth, and do so well that I want to keep track of her. Not that the others do less well himself, it's just that, if an actor sees every role as a gift, then she celebrates Christmas.
Gratefully, Joakim Clifton Bergman
Freebie, thanks Playhouse Theatre! So far, the performing arts in 2014 has cost me 7490: -
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CHICAGO at Kulsta, Culture City Theatre.
"They're in that age when you are a little confused, when you'd rather remember things past than taking in something new. They had no idea who was in the show, besides the brothers Dyall. Yup, you read right: The Brothers Dyall. Not Sharon Dyall. Not only Kalle Dyall. The Brothers Dyall. Those two who have been so good in that show, you know:
"The one about Sammy Kaye ... or whatever his name is."
"No, you mean Danny Kaye .."
"Yes, I do. Danny Kaye jr. "
"Sounds interesting? Here's the rest, Although it might not be translated yet: http://minstengangiveckan.blogspot.se/2014/10/chicago script-peace-ebb-bob-fosse-musik.html
ANDROLY - A GUIDED TOUR OF THE MEN'S CLUB, by and with Carl Olof Berg
"And then I get it: it's not supposted to be cool. There should be disclosure, perhaps degrading and questioning; We set a chair for rectal examination in these classic men's room, and imagine what could have happened."
Sounds interesting? Here's the rest, Although it might not be translated yet: : http://minstengangiveckan.blogspot.se/2014/10/andrology-guided-tour-of-mens-club-av.html
CIRCUS CIRKÖR: UNDERART(Subspecies) by Olle Strandberg Dansens Hus (House of Dance).
"The Bearded Tortoise ended up in rehab, at the Karolinska, along with a bunch of others that life had given a loud blow. Broken necks. Car accidents. Strokes. Training how to walk. Balance. Simple computer programs. Small steps. If the brain gets a minimal equivalent of muscle soreness you just have to start all over again. Small steps.
"It was just like that," says the Bearded Tortoise, meaning the performance."
Does that sound interesting? Here's the rest: http://minstengangiveckan.blogspot.se/2014/10/cirkus-Cirkör-subspecies-ide-and-regi.html