Monday, April 21, 2008

No Fun Title Today

(I ain't in the mood--my brain hurts!)

Thursday night, I did house managing for the first preview of Hell In a Handbag's "Die! Mommie Die!", the Charles Busch play that spawned the 2003 movie, at Bailiwick. David Cerda did a lovely job as Angela Arden Sussman, a has-been pop singer stuck in a bitter, loveless marriage to Sol P. Sussman (played by Ed Jones), her manager-cum-husband and, in her words, "a son-of-a-bitch shitheel."

Her household consists of Sol; two maladjusted children, the Electra-like, father-worshipping Edith (Veronica Sheaffer) and the mentally slow, childlike, Oedipal Lance (Zach Geoffroy); her housekeeper Bootsie (Merrie Greenfield); and her occasional visitor and lover, Tony Parker (Jeffrey Patrick Olson). As adulterous Angela finds herself boxed in by her hostile, controlling husband, she resorts to desperate measures to break free...

The show was really well-done and HUGE kudos go to the entire assembly, including director Cheryl Snodgrass (in her directorial debut with Handbag). Cheryl was previously seen as Mrs. Bundy, the ornithologist in "The Birds" last fall and as Bigger Lorraine Delvecchio in "Caged Dames" in 2006. As a director, she really knows her stuff--she's flexible, but she pushes the actors to give their best and she choreographed the movements (both humans and set pieces!) down to a T. The set looks wonderful and sound and light cues were perfect, all thanks to Cheryl, company member and assistant stage manager Peter Mavrik and stage manager Brian Guerrero, who performed the same duty for "Rudolph 2007" (and became known as The Only Person Who Kept Us All Sane).

The opening slide show depicts Angela's rise and fall, and the pictures were priceless. The song playing underneath is an original written by David and Jon Steinhagen especially for this show called "This Time It's For Me." Our own lovely Jennifer Joans (Connelly) provided the vocals and it seems like a more appropriate song than the anachronistic "Why Not Me?" that played underneath the movie (I liked the tune, but the bongos and rim shots sounded more 1970s than 1950s).

The preview audiences have been terrific--we had a surprisingly big house on Thursday, and I understand that they had the same over the weekend. Opening night was selling out already. (Official opening is tonight.) Get them tickets now!

Those of you who've seen the movie will get a few surprises in the play, too...

Yesterday, I went back to Bailiwick to catch fellow Handbaguette Adrienne Smith in the closing performance of "A Man of No Importance," about a Dublin bus conductor named Alfie who directs an amateur theatre troupe by evening. Alfie makes some difficult self-discoveries and has trying times, but the show ultimately leaves us with a "life-affirming message" (that phrase always makes me laugh--what's the alternative? One telling us go home and swallow pills?).

The performances were marvelous and the music was superb. I'm really glad I got a chance to see this one. I was a soggy mess at the end, and I could hear other heaving sobs in the darkened house (thank God I didn't do that! I just sniffled a lot). I was sitting next to Cheryl and fellow Handbaguette Trish Austin (we'd all come to see Adrienne) and we were all post-nasal drips at the end! What an emotional journey...this deserves all the accolades it gets!

In other news, I talked to my Mom on Saturday, and was relieved that she was up (I'd tried to call on Thursday and the nurse said her headache was bothering her and she was staying in bed). Mom's voice sounded fine, but she sounded surprised that I'd called--and I mean "taken aback" surprised, not "how lovely to hear from you!" surprised, like she used to be (I think her mind is seriously deteriorating at this point--it's hard to watch). She asked when I was coming down again and I told her I'd be there in two weeks. So at least she still remembers I live in Chicago and that I come visit! That's something anyway...

Hope everyone has a great week! Later, taters...


Blogger American Girl said...

Years ago, I had passes to a preview of the film version of "A Man of No Importance" with Albert Finney and Rufus Sewell. I took my dad. We thought it was very good.

Stop writing about all the fun to be had in Chicago or try to downplay it. Something like, "The play was fabulous but this woman next to me took her shoes off and smelled the place up," would really help. Sarah

12:56 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Actually, I went to see a show a few years ago at TimeLine, and the woman next to me took her shoes off and smelled the place up. No foolin'. I laugh about it now, but didn't so much then, because it would have embarrassed her. And because the play was serious. :-)

1:58 PM  
OpenID seriouslyflippant said...

I LERVE Busch and Jeffrey is a friend of mine! Now I HAVE to see this.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I also knew Jeff from CGMC (although I left 3 yrs ago)...when I saw he was going to be in "DMD," it was like my worlds intersected! He's fun to watch in this, fact, they all are!

9:58 AM  
Blogger David said...

Thank you sweetie. See you tonight!

2:32 PM  

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