I was a little worried about getting to my show on time, but I successfully followed Tremont St. and actually got there at quarter of -- second person in the theatre (people started really arriving about ten minutes of). I chatted briefly with Gilman's paternal aunt (who moved seats due to a perfumed audience member) who apparently lives in Wakefield but hadn't been to Boston in 40 years because of a hellish experience driving into the city (I didn't get the full story because the director or whomever came out to introduce the show).
Celebrated painter Dana Fielding is the toast of the art world. But after her latest exhibition tanks and her boyfriend dumps her, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital where she finds inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources - the legendary bad boy of baseball, Darryl Strawberry. The Sweetest Swing in Baseball is a funny and caustic play about the pressures of success and the need to create a protective "other self" to survive life in the spotlight.The blurb is in fact accurate, but it's misleading -- which is good, because that meant I was surprised (oh the tension between pulling people in and spoiling them). It's a solidly witty play, and it draws you in, layering and darkening and really wowing you at the end and making you quesion your previous reactions and loyalties.
I don't wanna say it's better than Spinning Into Butter, but I have such a personal reaction to that play that I know I can't be objective. I thought I'd read another play of hers, but Blue Surge, whose cover I thought I recognized, doesn't sound familiar.
I took notes on the good lines per usual.
[I forget who]: "Roy's not cheating on you."
Dana: "He wants to."
Dana: "I used an Exacto knife. They're very precise."
So much love for that line. It manages to encapsulate her character so well, in a way I can't articulate.
"So you're not dangerous?"
Gary: "Only to Kevin Bridges."
I love this whole plotline -- the drawing, and the way its violence is more and more revealed (and I have never understood how the negative space thing is supposed to work, but it always makes me think of that scene in "The Body" now, so it has good powerful associations) and his insistence that this CNN guy is the root of all evil, and I love his line later on that "He comes into my living room every night and condescends to me."
Gary: "You don't look depressed enough to kill yourself."
Dana: "How would you know?"
Gary: "Relax. It's a compliment."
Dana: "Everyone stopped calling. Silence. Like that."
Michael: "He thought I had a brain tumor. But no such luck."
Love Michael. The sweet gay alcoholic. "That's the one I like" while watching American Idol; I pulled away from my gay interpretation 'cause I overqueer everything (I was totally shipping Dana/Erica at the opening) but then with the baseball thing he says he really is gay and I was pleased. (Though it occurs to me that he was totally shipped with Dana -- in the sense that he's the only one who really gets her and also who really stays with her, and we are conditioned to read all m/f interactions as romantic. Though of course if she's taking on a male persona... I'm not sure what Gilman was getting at with that whole dynamic and whether I'm reading too much into it sexualizing everything or if she didn't examine the layers of this relational dynamic sufficiently.)
Dana (on the issue of her pre-institutionalization routine): "Before I slept and ate toast and went crazy."
Dr. Gilbert: "Isn't it just a shortened version of your name -- I mean: stop it."
"I won the fucking World Series."
"But what have you done for me lately?"
-Dana, apostrophizing as Darryl Strawberry
That slam when Dr. Gilbert informs us that the "preponderance of red" comment which had so crippled Dana came at the end of 6/7 paragraph glowing review. What an amazing moment. Arguably the first big twist for the audience. And of course D's retort "[If it's 'hardly worth mentioning'] Then why mention it?" is valid, but it is also a critic/reviewer's job to be fair and balanced, to not be wholly positive or negative.
Erica: "People will think you've gone off the deep end."
Michael: "She's in a mental hospital."
Erica: "I'm so glad they're good."
This hurts, Erica's doubt. I mean, doubt is understandable, but it's like she had no faith in Dana anymore.
Gary?: "I'm not saying that. I'm saying 'Enjoy your success.'"
D: "So say that and shut up."
I love Gary's argument that when people say that they're saying "I'd know what to do with your success," that they not you should have your success.
D to Rhonda: "You own the room. Do you even own the room, or do you rent?"
(cont.) "You'd get up to bat and the whole ballpark would get up to get a beer."
I love her outburst here. Because we are so frustrated by Rhonda not even letting this batch of paintings, which have already sold well, which are proof that Dana is moving out of her depression and back into production, be enough -- that she has to control and mold into what she wants.
Rhonda's self-defense is true, much though we may not like it, and it's interesting to see that come back later on when we see that they do in fact do the showing.
The comic strip... oh. We've seen D be "in character" more and more often, even when it seems she wouldn't have to (first Erica, then Rhonda -- though Erica it seemed like a public place, and we're conditioned to not like Rhonda so we enjoy seeing D dick with her ... so we don't see it as an unhealthy progression) and also enjoying it more and more. But the last time we saw her with Michael was right before Erica came and she was Dana with him, and so we feel safe that she's still safe with him. But she moves away from him and we, like him, think it's because he's becoming unsafe for her with his telling her what to do (and he is just suggesting, not telling, but we know that she could feel that as unsafe) and maybe she is just drawing away from him, too, but she seems like she really doesn't know what he's talking about, and we are hit with the worry that she really has had a psychotic break.
BTW [Boston Theatre Works] had their 2006-2007 season listing in an insert in the program. I turned down Huntington's flexpass because their big shows mostly don't interest me, but BTW might be worth it.
+ I Am My Own Wife (about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, which intrigues me more than Christine Jorgensen did though it makes me wish I'd gone for the comparison)
+ A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant
+ A Midsummer Night's Dream
+ The Tattooed Girl (by Joyce Carol Oates!)
+ BTW Unbound 2007: A Festival of New Plays (July 2007 -- which of course makes me wanna find out about the July 2006 series)
I picked up a flyer for The Man Who 'cause my mom likes Oliver Sachs.
Seeing posters etc. for Hiding Behind Comets reminded me that I want to see that.
Do I want to see an adaptation of Strindberg's Miss Julie?? Oh picking up promotional postcards. Other thoughts:
+ Samurai 7.0
+ Once Upon a Mattress
Also picked up full info flyer for 22nd Annual Boston Gay & Lesbian Film/Video Festival (which does actually include some trans films). May 10-21. I remember thinking about going to some of this last year and never getting to it. I think the weekday stuff is all evening, so I could totally go. (I might have to tape some sweeps eps, but I'm okay with that.) Front page has "Women's Opening Night" and "Men's Opening Night" which bugs me, but honestly almost everything on the list has some interest to me, so I'm definitely considering purchasing a festival pass. (Also: Youth Program: HINEINI: Coming Out in a Jewish High School ... This timely film chronicles teenager Shulamit Izen's fight to start a gay-straight alliance.... the name totally threw me.) [Pulling up the website for a link, I am reminded that I should check out this MFA film showing thing more often.]