HEADLINERS: “The Submission” – “Lincoln” – “Superior Donuts” – “Another Way Home”
by Buzzin Lee Hartgrave, 2012-11-21
New Conservatory Theatre
This pulse pounding play brings out thrilling storytelling, and bravura performances. The story is all about backstage hi-jinks on the Broadway stage. Danny (Eric Kerr) has just finished a play. He is overwhelmed by his play. Will it work? He’s a flighty gay playwright. Why is he so tense? Well, here is the reason. He wrote the play using a female as the author of his play. Danny submits his play, using the pen name of Sheleeha G’ntamobi. Yes it’s catchy, but not easy to say. Sheleeha is African American and Danny is a neurotic young playwright. Everything seems to be working between the two, until the female begins to make changes to the script without Danny’s permission. He says: “F—ck it – she starts to reuse the words in the play!”
Here’s the deal. This play within a play is very explosive. More than explosive – it’s leading the play to the edge of the cliff. There is a lot going on between Danny and his boyfriend and Emilie as they sort out themes of racism and identity. Then, there is the friend (Chris) who likes Danny, but is more interested in the black actress. He agrees to not agree about many issues in the play, and off the stage.
The story is profoundly intense – and erotic. I didn’t just sit through this show – I was on the edge of the seat. There is no doubt about it – “The Submission” (the play) is spectacularly compelling and smart.
My only letdown is at the very end. After all the energy in the play – it deflates in the final scene. I think it needs a stronger ending. But I still recommend that you see it. The Actors are great!
They take us on a fascinating journey. Here they are: Sam Jackson (Emilie), Eric Kerr (Danny), Alex Kirschner (Pete) and Chris Morrell (Trevor).
DIRECTED BY: BEN RANDLE. “Superb!”
NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment On PBS KQED)))
DANIEL DAY LEWIS IS LINCOLN
(Courtesy Photo at top of Column)
This movie is probably one of the most impressive movies that you will see about politics. Thanks to Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln), David Strathairn, Hal Holbroook, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Stuhlbarg. Take down the confederate flags for these guys.
Daniel Day Lewis is mesmerizing. Never does he overplay in this role. Everyone is glued to his face as he talks to fascinated individuals who cherish every word. I dare you to look away.
However there is two and a half hours of talk from Lincoln and other characters who give their vision of what the USA should be. This is a political movie that should be introduced to High Schools and College kids. The political keenness will reel them in with Lincoln’s brilliant words. It’s a History lesson for the ages.
RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!!
(Highest Rating) – trademarked-
Now playing at Theaters around the world
“A Triumph in every Word!”
SUPERIOR DONUTS – YUMMIE
TRACY LETTS IS TRULY A GREAT WRITER
But as smart and clever as usual. This time around, no one gets killed, but he does remind us that our lives are mixed with several variables. This time Tracy Letts story is not as talky, but it sure is colorful. As usual, the casting and the performers are still humorous on one hand and on the other it is Real and Heart Wrenching. This story is about a rundown Coffee shop in its last days. Sure a few people still stop by – but that brand new Coffee Shop (Starbucks) down the street looks good to them. And that’s why the business at Superior Donuts is running out of patrons.
This is a very simple play with down to earth language. There is a constant homeless lady – who seems to not ever pay for a cup of coffee and donut. There is a female cop that drops by to make sure that everything is all right. She is sweet on the owner. He wants to sell the tiny coffee place – and the lady cop wants to hug him. It’s as simple as that.
There is a young man who really needs a job. He gets it at Superior Donuts – but the hippie like owner wants to put limits on the kid. The boy wants to spice up the place a little. You know, just to make it more enticing. Well, the owner (who is quite sexy himself) agrees to let the boy move a few things around. You might think that the play will drag you down into the gutter – but no – there is comedy, and there is also sadness.
A strong fight starts in the Donut shop. Yeh – it is pretty amazing that no one really gets hurt. This all happens near the end.
I felt near the end that I was emotionally satisfied. You can’t be half a mean person all your life. And I think that Tracy Letts knows that. So to compensate – there is plenty of humor in his play. All together – including the phenomenal! I dare you to resist one donut with a Glaze on it. They are Superior!
THE ACTORS ARE TERRIFIC! Here they are: Don Wood, Chris Marsol, Dave Sikula, Shane Rhoades, Vicki Siegel, Ariane Owens, Emmanuel Lee, Shane Fahy and Rob Dario.
ALL TOGHETHER NOW – GRAB THOSE OSCARS!
Now Playing at the Custom Made Theatre
Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-
ANOTHER WAY HOME – MAGIC THEATRE
Finding your way home is not always easy. The play is 80 minutes long with no intermission. I for one like intermissions. It’s not good for your arteries. But, I did manage to move my legs now and then to keep the circulation going.
This is a story about a wayward son. It all takes place in a summer sleep over camp. The son Joseph (prefers Joey is at Camp Kickapoo. Well, Joey is a very difficult young man. He is in depression, has anxiety disorder. Yes, the young 17-year-old boy is a handful. Joey is one of those boys that don’t like to be bear hugged at Camp or anywhere. He’s basically angry about everything.
A 20-year-old camp counselor takes a liking to Joey. You may want to feel sorry for Joey, and I suppose that I would also – but could not put up with him. The drama does end on a somewhat happy ending – at least Joey seems to be much better. Or maybe it was just a way to end the story. I was relieved when it was over. I didn’t care much for the talking at the audience thing. Seen it before in other plays and never fell in love with that gimmick.
Good acting by everyone. THEY ARE: Mark Pinter – Kim Martin-Cotton- Daniel Petzoid – Jeremy Kahn – and Riley Krull
Now playing at the Magic Theatre
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-