Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘actors’

Second Impressions

In Humor, Theater on November 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm

via Daily Prompt: Black

I saw a play yesterday with some friends. It was a musical rendition of The Bridges of Madison County.

The theater was tiny, with a capacity of approximately 120 seats. The stage was small, but the area in front of the stage was utilized by the actors, which often placed them within inches of the front rows of seats.

There was a point when the lead actor, who played Robert Kincaid, was directly to my right, about a foot away. I had to exercise all of my self control because I was sorely tempted to whisper to him that he needed to get a new pair of black socks because the ones he was wearing were threadbare.

He was fortunate, however, that he was standing next to a pillar of self-discipline, for that reason … and also because he was very handsome. Other, less-controlled women in the audience might have been tempted to distract him with their cleavage or salacious lip-licking, or even money, regardless of what that would have done to the continuity of the play. Luckily, he was very accomplished when it came to staring off into the middle distance and ignoring the audience. I suspect that he has dealt with inappropriate comments or actions from the audience before.

Everyone in the play was very good. I especially enjoyed the comic relief offered by the neighbors, and the performances by Francesca’s husband and children. The young-adult orchestra was excellent, albeit a little loud sometimes.

The lead female, who played Francesca, had an ethereal beauty and a gorgeous voice. She was a pleasure to watch and hear. The lead male’s voice got stronger and more emphatic during the second act. Someone must have told him during the intermission that his good looks were only going so far … or that the orchestra was drowning him out. During the second act, when he started singing with feeling, and volume, the audience appeared to become more engaged with the play.

After the play, my friends and I all decided that the play was just okay. Some of my friends couldn’t get past Francesca’s infidelity and, therefore, they weren’t able to enjoy the play. Others had complaints about not being able to hear the actors above the music. Some of them didn’t think the story translated well as a musical, or didn’t appreciate that the story differed from the book and/or the movie. None of the complaints related to the acting, which was very strong and effective. I, personally, left the theater feeling ambivalent about the play.

However, my ambivalence kept me up all night. As I tried to sleep, all I could think about was the play. The actress who played Francesca made the audience feel her distress about giving up Robert in order to be loyal to the husband who rescued her from post-war Italy and gave her a good life, and to her children, all of whom she deeply loved. The actor who played the husband made us hurt for him when he struggled with Francesca’s unexplained angst. And we all internally cried for Robert, who was a lost soul who found his soulmate and couldn’t have her.

After a night of contemplation, I think I loved the play, after all.

I’m still going to send that actor some new black socks, though.

Bridges of Madison County

Photo by Heather Hayes

 

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Who’s To Say?

In Humor on August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Back when I was young and idealistic, I tried to do the occasional good. (I wasn’t fanatically idealistic.)

For a few years, I worked in radio and, once a week, I would go to a makeshift studio in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and read the day’s newspaper to the blind listening audience. Some of them knew of me from listening to WCOL-AM, where I cohosted a middle-of-the-night call-in talk show on Saturday nights. I also manned the control board from Sunday through Thursday. In truth, that shift wasn’t an on-air one. I was supposed to air talk-radio programs and live sporting events. After those ended, the station aired syndicated programming.

But, in the middle of the night, my bosses weren’t listening, so sometimes I would play music and chatter on-air. I had a small following of a handful of people who would call off-air and keep me awake through the long night.

I also brought a pillow and an alarm clock, for nights when I chose to actually do my job as prescribed. On those occasions, I would sleep on the floor behind the board while the automated shows and commercials played. My alarm clock would get me up to play the news at the top of the hour. Then, I’d go back to sleep, unless I felt like doing a live music show.

So, to return to my original topic: I would read to the blind once a week. A few dozen people each volunteered one day a week. We worked in pairs, and read the daily newspaper until we finished it. It was a small operation and I’m not really sure how our audience heard us. I think they had special receivers.

When I moved to Manhattan, I signed up to read to the blind, but this time, it was competitive. I was only able to get fill-in shifts because of the demand for shifts by aspiring actors. They were cutthroat about getting on-air time, so I quickly lost interest in the cause.

My sister’s boyfriend accused me of only doing it so that I could say that I did. Was he right? Maybe. It was an interesting thing to bring up when talking to people I knew, or strangers on the bus. They always looked very impressed at how altruistic I was. So, maybe I wasn’t so altruistic, after all.

Now that I’m older and less idealistic, I know that I sometimes do things for a self-serving reason, even if I’m not aware of it. So, if you’re my friend, you should know that I’ve always wanted a full church at my funeral Mass. If my death precedes yours, I would appreciate your attendance. That’s not the only reason I’m your friend, but it’s one of them.

I’m just kidding. Or am I serious? Who’s to say? I surely don’t know.

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