Loney's Show Notes

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  Glenn Loney's Show Notes
March 28, 2001
Glenn Loney
Glenn Loney
by Sam Norkin.

Contact Glenn Loney via:
Editor, New York Theatre Wire
[01] Euripides' "Bacchae" Revised
[02] Dostoyevsky's "Idiot" Adapted
[03] Ostrovsky's "Family Affair" as Staged-Reading
[04] "Rashomon" Revived
[05] Outrageously Out "Design for Living"
[06] Paul Greens' Chain-Gang at LaMaMa
[07] Bruckner's "Race" at CSC
[08] Bond's Battered Baby at American Place
[09] Gilroy's Thorns & "Roses" at Cocteau
[10] Wasserstein's "Isn't It Romantic?" in Tribeca
[11] Leslie Ayvasian Takes "High Dive" with Audience
[12] Buggy Takes Macliammóir's "Oscar" for a Ride
[13] Replaying Süskind's "Double-Bass"
[14] "Good Thief" at Quintero
[15] Mark Morris Dancers at BAM
[16] Dutch Interdans at New Victory
[17] Ricky Ian Gordon at Alice Tully Hall
[18] Dutch "Circus" on New 42
[19] "Silence" from Slovenia
[20] Slovakia's "Armageddon"
[21] Hal Prince at CUNY
[22] Beethoven, Salieri, & Shaffer at the Kaye
[23] Dance Theatre Workshop's New Home

Plays from the Past—
Glyndebourne's Euripides Revisited:
"The Bacchae 2.1" [**]

Last spring, at the Humana Festival in Louisville, playwright Charles L. Mee, Jr, had a big hit—called "Big Love"—in a very small theatre. As it was based on an ancient Greek legend and a play by Aeschylus, "The Suppliants, it could have had a cast of at least a hundred.

These would have included the Virginal Fifty Daughters already noted and the Lusty Fifty Sons of King Aegyptus—who intended to force them into sexual congress & marriage.

The Ancients may have had Big Families way back in the mists of mythic Greek pre-history. But it's more likely that these numbers represented the 50 members of the Dionysian Dithyrambic Choruses with which Greek Tragedy began.

Mee cut his cast way down, just as his independently-minded young women literally—but comically—cut down their unwanted suitors.v Now, at the Bat Theatre on White Street—only a half-block from the austerely grand Tribeca Grand Hotel—Mee is cribbing from Greek tragedians again. This time, he's chosen to rewrite and rethink Euripides' "The Bacchae." As his vision is almost terminally trendy, he has given it a computer-numeration: "The Bacchae 2.1."

Mee must be going through a Life Crisis, or at least a Women's Lib Phase. First the male serial-murders by young women in "Big Love." Now the brutal slaughter of a self-righteous king—by his own mother.

In "The Bacchae," a group of Theban women are driven wild with Dionysian ecstasy, although worship of the God has been forbidden by their militantly Law & Order ruler, Pentheus.

His Compassionate Conservative efforts at Good Government—abetted by the God's desire for vengeance—lead him to disguise himself as a woman, to spy on their revels. Ultimately, he's discovered and beheaded by his own mad mother—who thinks she's just killed a wild beast.

What the drama illustrates is the catastrophes which can result from the failure to balance the two sides of human-nature: the passionately Instinctive and the rigorously Reasonable. What Nietzsche called the Dionysian and the Apollonian.

Presented by the Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company, the mainly Equity cast of 13 fills the tiny stage at curtain-call. A far cry from the great Greek Arena at Epidaurus!

This is a thoroughly professional production, featuring some fine older actors, as well as some talented young performers. Among the latter, the seductive, orgiastic Dionysus of Michael Aronov and the buttoned-up Pentheus of Jonathan Tindle were notable.

Tindle—with a forced false-face What Me Worry? smile—obviously modeled his Pentheus on Geo. W. Bush. This was initially amusing, but—as Mee has given him some really mind-bending exercises in rhetorical reasoning and even some flights of poetic imagery—the spoof was soon pointless. A Fidel-Pentheus ranting at sensual Cubanos might make better sense, but not in the context of this production.

Mee certainly understands that the evident essence of dramatic conflict in Greek Tragedy is made manifest in formal debates between Protagonist and Antagonist, not in physical actions. The verbal exchanges between Pentheus and Dionysus are impressive.

The second half of the show may be too sexually explicit for some. Not in what is actually done, but rather in what fantasies and perversions are enthusiastically described and mimed by the chorus of Theban Women Bacchantes.

Instead of rampaging across the slopes of a sacred mountain in flowing Greek chitons, they sit at improvised make-up tables in rehearsal clothes and share sex secrets which would drive a big-time Wanker mad. Some of the dialogue could have been from sound-tracks of really raunchy porno-films.

Did Mee get-off writing this section? It will surely be a turn-off for some spectators, however.

I still recall the lip-smacking glee with which the legendary drama-critic, Ken Tynan, surveyed previews of his sex-cabaret, "Oh, Calcutta!," down at the old Eden Theatre on Second Avenue. He was almost fidgeting in his delight—and totally unaware that others were observing his ecstasies.

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"The Idiot" Adapted & Revived [****]

It could be argued that only Dostoyevsky's novel is from the Past. And that this dramatization is virtually a New Play. But that's not quite the case.

Director/adapter David Fishelson staged this Russian classic some time ago at the Jean Cocteau Repertory. Now he has his very own and handsome little theatre down in SoHo. Here he and his Manhattan Ensemble Theater recently opened the intimate playhouse with a stunning new production of Dostoyevsky's masterpiece.

But Fishelson has cast the same Idiot he used at the Cocteau: John Lenartz, as the sweetly innocent, if not entirely simple, Prince Myshkin.

Now, having seen both productions—and having at the time greatly admired the Cocteau staging—I must admit that the current version is much superior. Lenartz himself has grown in the role, but he is matched by a superior and often double-cast ensemble in the new venue.

Most of the MES—yet another Ensemble-Anagram to remember!—are actors unknown to me. Or I never really noticed them in previous productions. They are all very professional, some even authoritative, in their various roles.

What's also important, however—especially given the minuscule stage of the theatre—is how effectively set-designer Richard Hoover has evoked St. Petersburg in a long-lost era of Czarist Opulence. He has also devised a bare but striking minimum of handsome visual cues and set-props which can swiftly be shifted for new scenes.

There are no attention- or tension-destroying breaks for set-changes. Everything flows—even though events and people are borne along, like the dark waters of the Neva, toward disaster.

Every attention has been paid to providing MES's initial audiences with first-class, thoroughly professional, serious theatre. Even Susan L. Soetaert's elegant costumes seem to have been cut from bolts of the finest fabrics. They definitely do not look like stained, shop-worn rentals from some costume collection.

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Ostrovsky's "Family Affair" Adapted [No Stars]

Unlike "The Idiot," Alexander Ostrovsky's "A Family Affair" is in its own right a Play from the Past. Unfortunately, like his "Storm" and "The Forest," it is one of those once popular Russian dramas now almost forgotten—at least on American stages.

But this is a play which has also been, like "The Idiot," adapted for modern audiences. Primarily British audiences, in this case, as the translation-tinkering was done by Nick Dear in 1988, and then produced by the avant-gardist ensemble, Cheek by Jowl.

In Manhattan, however, it did not receive the often unusual directorial/conceptual attentions of that troupe. In fact, it did not receive a fully-staged production. In effect, it was one of the admirable staged-readings which are presented in the auditorium of the New-York Historical Society by TACT.

This is another of those Ensemble-Anagrams—which may be viewed as self-congratulatory, if not quite a self-fulfilling-prophecy. It stands for The Actors Company Theatre.

That estimable longtime resident British actor, Simon Jones, is a co-Artistic Director, together with Scott Alan Evans & Cynthia Harris.

Ordinarily, I avoid Staged-Readings: On the grounds that there are so many new actually staged productions available in Manhattan every evening, that I cannot even keep up with those.

But the opportunity at least to hear an Ostrovsky drama semi-live was not to be ignored. Add to that the urging of a press-rep that the reading would not only be fully-costumed, but also accompanied by a newly composed David Macdonald score, played by young talents from the Manhattan School of Music.

An Embarrassment of Riches! And—as I am a longtime admirer of the N-Y Historical Society, its remarkable collections, exhibitions, and programs—I hurried along. It was good I came early, as almost all the seats were promptly seized. Some by fairly important people in the Arts.

What surprised me, however—and even intimidated me a bit—was the almost aggressive energy with which various actors spat out their lines at the audience. No one was in danger of falling asleep. But there was also no danger of nuance, either in the adaptation or in the performance.

Currently, TACT has briefly offered a double-bill of Giraudoux's "Apollo of Bellac" and Ionesco's "Bald Soprano." For more information, call 212-645-8228. Or log-on to: www.TACTnyc.org

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"Rashomon" Adapted & Revived [****]

Even though the current Upper West Side venue of the Pan Asian Rep is physically cramped and even unwelcoming, the two productions thus far offered have been admirable in professional quality and artistic sensitivity.

As ingeniously and minimally staged by artistic director Tisa Chang, Fay & Michael Kanin's adaptation of "Rashomon" was both handsome and moving. It is unfortunate that the ensemble is not more centrally located so more could enjoy such fine if small-scaled productions.

The cinema version of this old fable—from novellas by Ryunosuke Akutagawa—long ago was recognized as a minor masterpiece. And the Kanin's adaptation made an impression on Broadway as well.

At a time when the veracity of witness-testimonies had Sean "Puffy" Combs' freedom to produce more Rap records hanging in the balance, it was again good to be reminded how different several accounts of the same event can be. And why that should be so!

PS: I had Jury Duty on Centre Street at the same time Puffy's trial was in session across the road. Having just seen "Rashomon," I felt I was not competent to sit in a jury-box and help send an unmarried man to prison only on the testimony of an embittered single mother and her teen-aged daughter.

Fortunately, neither Prosecution or Defense seemed intent in impaneling a retired university professor. In Manhattan, old age is no excuse from jury-service, but now the call comes only every four years. With deferments, I may not have to serve again until I'm 78! If I survive going to the theatre every night for that time-span…

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Joe Mantello's "Design for Living" [*]

picture of Anja Silja
Alan Cumming in "Design for Living."
Photo: ©Joan Marcus/2001.

It wouldn't be proper to refer to this costly but misguided production as Noël Coward's "Design for Living." It is entirely too unsophisticated, too vulgar, too gross for Coward. It's even not amusing, almost an insult to an author who felt he had a "Talent To Amuse."

The Master would be horrified to watch Dominic West & Alan Cumming groping and slobbering over each other on stage. Or to see them return from a Cruise to the Orient in flamboyant outfits more suited to cruising on the West Side.

For that famously Art Deco scene of an unannounced, unexpected reunion with the woman they both love, Coward specified impeccable evening-dress! Of course, as no one dresses for the theatre anymore, why should they bother on stage either?

But director Joe Mantello—who is more at home with the contemporary Fire Island homosexuals of Terrence McNally—and his designers have chosen to present the play as a Period Piece, at least in sets & costumes. Though Robert Brill's fake-flower-filled apartment salon is so garishly overgilded and overdone, that it looks like a Golders Green parody of Mayfair elegance.

Even in the early Thirties—when Much was still Left Unsaid—Coward did not think it either necessary or artful playwriting to spell out for his audiences the unusual nature of the ménage à trois he and his dear friends Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne played on stage both in London and New York. And, it's said, in real life as well.

Between the two great wars—just as Mrs. Patrick Campbell had said much earlier—it didn't matter what well-mannered people did in private, as long as they didn't do it in the street and "frighten the horses."

Good manners and "keeping up appearances" were social requirements. Especially in the arts, there were some notable marriages based on admiration for talent and respect for intelligence. One thinks of McClintic & Cornell. Of Logan & Harrigan. And of others…

Part of the problem of this production is the casting of the otherwise admirable Jennifer Ehle as the woman-in-between. Instead of suggesting an impulsive, gay young thing, without a thought or a plan in the world, Ehle seems the Essential Earth Mother. Instead of a dear old chum of the two boy-men, she seems more mature than either.

Even though that's not what her lines suggest. The fact that she's been encouraged to speak them as though they were deeply philosophical ruminations is even more inimical to light, superficial comedy.

The result is that one hears some patches of dialogue which are really heavy going. Those who are expecting to enjoy some vintage Noél Coward wit, bitchiness, and conversational banter may well be baffled by this production.

Speaking of Marriages more or less of Convenience or Custom, Ehle's Gilda was partly modeled on Somerset Maugham's wife, Syrie. Bored at her closeted husband's frequent indifference, or inattention, she, like Gilda, took up Interior Decoration. Syrie Maugham became famous for her All-White Rooms.

Art Imitates Life, as they say. Except at the American Airlines Theatre, where "Design for Living" is now playing. And the seats are too close together in Economy Class…

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Paul Green's "Hymn to the Rising Sun" [***]

Pulitzer Prize-winner for "In Abraham's Bosom" in 1927, playwright Paul Green is now remembered—if at all—mainly for the Outdoor Historical Dramas he wrote for various picturesque sites in the American Southeast.

Nonetheless, he was remarkable in his day—especially as a born-and-bred Son of the South—for his clear-eyed view of the appalling latter-day survivals of Slavery in the continued evils of Jim Crow segregation.

He was also a foe of War, as evidenced in his collaboration with composer Kurt Weill in "Johnny Johnson." He described himself as a Humanist, and he earned that honor over and over with dramas, novels, and essays which spoke up for the downtrodden.

A native of North Carolina—and an important member of Fred Koch's Carolina Playmakers—he used drama as an engine for social change: to make audiences and readers aware of social wrongs and economic evils, then pointing a way toward redress.

His horror of the way less fortunate members of society were treated in the South— and not only Blacks—extended to his condemnation of prison conditions. Especially when, then as now, it became clear that men had been falsely charged and convicted.

One of the most cruel and dehumanizing features of prison punishment—or "Rehabilitation"—in North Carolina was the institution of the Chain-Gang. Work-gang convicts in striped prison garb were linked by heavy chains and anchored by big iron balls to prevent their escape.

They worked on state and county highway projects, breaking stones with sledge-hammers. They built rail-lines. They were even hired out to farmers and contractors.

For those Americans who had no first-hand experience of seeing a Chain-Gang in those days, it was largely the subject of cartoons and the popular song "Fugitive from a Georgia Chain-Gang."

Even today, the Coen Brothers have revived the Comic Potential of this degrading form of punishment in the satiric film, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

For Paul Green, Chain-Gangs were not in the least amusing. In "Hymn to the Rising Sun," he recreated the savage, humiliating experiences of a group of men, both Black and White, in a prison-tent with bunks at a work-site.

Although the title suggests some sort of morning ritual of Gratitude, Glorification and Hope, it is bitterly ironic. The rising of the sun merely means another day of grinding labor under its searing rays.

If there's any hope or promise in the sunrise, it's only that the long night of verbal torment, rotten food, and beatings in the tent is over until the next evening. But there will be more of the same all day long, only outside, under the sun, in the open air.

It's often argued that thesis or propaganda-plays only speak powerfully to the already converted. Green sent copies of this drama to Congress and state legislators. The play, even only as a script, was an important impetus to ending this form of punishment.

Recently at LaMaMa, director Barbara Montgomery revived the play, but not as an Historical Document or an interesting artifact of Civil Rights agitation. With a very strong cast—almost masochistic, considering the humiliations they had to undergo—she was able to give the audience a shocking recreation of this old social evil.

Thanks to the virtuoso performance of Charley Hayward as the "Good Ole Boy" sadistic Captain—who runs the camp and systematically brutalizes the prisoners—this was an almost shattering experience. The Captain gets a perverse pleasure from taunting especially the weakest of the men with his solicitous "concern" for their health, welfare, and rehabilitation to society.

The presence of Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee in the audience the night I saw the production had a galvanic effect, both on the performances and upon the audience.

It was quite clear that we were not watching John Turturro & George Clooney goofing around in shackles & stripes!

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Ferdinand Bruckner's "Race" [****]

picture of Anja Silja

GERMANY 1933——Bruckner's "Race": Can a Nazi love a nice Jewish Girl?

Considering how few leaders in Britain or America expressed concern over the Seizure of Power by the Nazis in 1933, it is impressive that New Yorks' prestigious Theatre Guild staged this protest-play in 1934. But that was in Philadelphia. After that, the drama was largely forgotten.

As it was written by a German-Jew, shortly after the Macht-Übernahmne, it obviously was not going to be produced in the Fatherland.

It was, however, staged in Zürich, Switzerland. Not that the Swiss subsequently distinguished themselves in aiding German Jews to escape the Death Camps. Far from it…

As revived and reworked today by the CSC's able Barry Edelstein, what most impresses is Bruckner's clear understanding of how rapidly and how thoroughly the Virus of National Socialism would sweep through the veins and pass directly to the brains of "Decent Germans." Even University Medical Students—at what is apparently Heidelberg University.

But Bruckner didn't use the Agit-Prop dramaturgy of a Bertolt Brecht. Instead, he presents his Horror Show in very human terms. The easily corrupted protagonist is a liberal-leaning med student who has been saved from a heavy drinking-problem by a lovely, deeply caring, and intelligent Jewish girl.

The relationship—aside from the former alcoholism—doesn't bother her father, a manufacturer who sees himself as a Good German who can get along with the new leadership. Bruckner already recognized the danger of such thinking only a few months after the Nazis took over.

But even in 1936—when Thomas Wolfe dissed Hitler at the Olympic Games in Berlin—there still were some well-established Jewish professionals who had served Germany with honor in World War I and distanced themselves from "shopkeepers and tailors."

This feeling—of being more German than Jewish—also lulled other less prosperous and well-positioned people into thinking the Nazis were an aberration which would pass.

Had these German-Jews been able only to read Bruckner's prophetic play—he foresaw the horrors of Kristal-Nacht well before it actually occurred—it could have been a wake-up call.

But even a nation-wide tour of the Theatre Guild's production—impossible to imagine at that time of rampant American Isolationism—would not have been much of a Fascist Fire-Alarm either.

Even American dramas—and the films made of them—such as "Watch on the Rhine" or "Tomorrow the World" didn't excite much concern among the mass of people.

There was the Great Depression to worry about, after all. We were not the World's Policeman—just as Geo. W. Bush has been saying today.


Europe would just have to solve its own problems!

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Edward Bond's "Saved" [***]

picture of Anja Silja
MAKE THAT BRAT SHUP UP!——Brit Layabouts in Edward Bond's "Saved."
Photo: ©Ken Howard/2001.

It was a surprise to see people angrily rise and stalk out of the revival of Edward Bond's "Saved" at the American Place Theatre. After all, it's a long time since 1965, when Bond wrote the drama.

Surely by now most informed, intelligent theatre-goers—especially subscribers to productions by Theatre for a New Audience—should know something about the history & content of this savage and controversial social tract.

I saw the premiere all those years ago at the Royal Court Theatre. I remember the verbal outrage, the noisy thumping of seats, the rush for the exits. But, at that time, what Bond had put on the stage was widely regarded as an outrage.

The Lord Chamberlain—who then was still in the play-censoring business—forbade public performances. So George Devine temporarily turned the Royal Court into a private Theatre Club. This meant we not only had to buy a ticket, but also take out a membership!

Of course, the Royal Court audiences did not actually see even a prop-baby being spat on, peed-on, and bashed to death with stones. In those days—before the advent of the now ubiquitous strollers—babies were wheeled about in big prams, their deep sides protecting the tiny tots from rude winds and even prying eyes of strangers.

The real sensation of this revival could have been to kill the little kiddie while it was strapped into a stroller, in full view of the audience! Now that would have been a real coup-de-théâtre!

A contemporary Grand Guignol! Something brutal and sadistic enough to top the routine horrors of Teen-Flicks and TV Survivor Shows! Americans have become so jaded in their popular entertainments that Bond's apocalyptic vision of the future of Britain's social fabric should now seem fairly tame.

Bond could hardly have imagined then anything like the carnage at Columbine High. But "Saved" now certainly seems to have been prophetic—and not only for Britain.

It's now a generation since he wrote "Saved," but people are still witlessly glued to their TV monitors, just as the Working-Class wretches in his drama are. Conversation, then as now, is often reduced to grunts. Comprehension? Fugeddaboutit!

When Bond wrote "Saved," the lot of ill-educated, intellectually dim, lack-luster, unmotivated, unemployed, lower-class, thrill-seeking youths was dead-end hopeless in London. And often much worse in the provinces.

Even Carnaby Street, the Beatles, and Swinging London didn't change things for the bottom social-stratum. If anything, thanks to TV and flicks, these gave them new appetites and false hopes.

In "Saved," Bond shows the bitter reality of a conventional working-class marriage, in which the shackled partners have virtually stopped talking to each other. But they still know how to "get" to each other.

The only faint ray of hope for some kind of change is in the dogged, rootless, abandoned Len [Pete Starrett], who is trying to make a corner for himself in this household where he's not wanted.

Ignorant and socially traumatized though he is, he hasn't been totally brutalized. He can still feel pain and expectation. What's more, he can sense the sufferings of others, even if only dimly.

And he's nonetheless striving to make some sense of it all for himself. Bond firmly believed that this urge to understand, to improve, to make a better life could be the answer to social change.

Later, I went—several summers in succession, in fact—to Cambridgeshire to interview Bond about his political beliefs and social visions, especially as they informed his dramas.

Like Bertolt Brecht, he was not only writing what were effectively Agit-Prop plays, but also poems focusing on human problems explicit in the dramas. And, like Brecht, he was outlining a theory of Communism—or social inter-relationship and responsibility—that seemed to me Utopian, impossible to realize, given the kind of human-beings that we are.

Bond's Len is a Good Lad. But he's also doomed: at least to continual disappointment, if not to outright failure. He is worse off than those around him because he can still feel—and try to make sense of his brutal milieu.

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Frank D. Gilroy's "The Subject Was Roses" [***]

In a curious way, there is an affinity between Bond's brutal drama and Frank Gilroy's painful, even cruel, Family Reunion. That most basic Social Unit, The Family, has failed. Of course, one could argue that the Lone Individual is even more basic…

Timmy Cleary is a young Irish-American, just back from service in the US Army in World War II. In his absence—and in the abstract—he has become his father's Hero. As well as his mother's Idol—which he always was, to his dad's immense irritation.

But the basic problem of this family is the almost total failure of communication—let alone demonstrations of affection & regard—between the father and mother. Long before he went off to war, Tim Cleary was already a pawn, even a battleground, in his parents' sparring-matches.

His prideful, spiteful, selfish, ill-educated Irish dad really doesn't know how to love: neither his verbally & physically abused wife, nor the son he professes to admire.

The unspoken truth is—which Gilroy obviously had to discover for himself from his own father—that the two men are in competition, without quite knowing it.

Tim's dad, John, wants his son to a Winner. He wants him to have everything his parents hoped for but missed. But, at the same time, he really doesn't want Tim to succeed in a big way that might reflect on his own failures.

And he doesn't want Tim to talk back or think for himself. This is a regimen he's already imposed on his long-suffering wife, Nettie. Any efforts on her part to spark some conversation or to take a cheerful view of life are promptly, cruelly crushed.

When she positively glows, as she finds a bouquet of roses she thinks her husband has brought her, he's quick to kill her illusions: Tim bought them for her.

As a salesman, John Cleary isn't quite a Willy Loman. And Timmy is certainly no Biff. He is not marked for failure because his dad has pumped him full of false dreams & hopes. He'll escape from this deadly triangle. And possibly write a play about it!

But Frank D. Gilroy is no Arthur Miller, so the drama won't have the Symbolic Resonance of "Death of a Salesman." Still, this is a family drama which constantly repeats itself, not only in Irish families, and not only in America.

In the tautly painful Jean Cocteau production, staged by David Fuller, the Cocteau Rep veterans, Craig Smith & Elise Stone, make excellent marital adversaries. Although they have both excelled in the Classics of World Theatre on this tiny stage, they are especially believable as the vain, vindictive Irish sport and the once lovely girl whom all the boys wanted. Their pain is palpable. And they cannot stop hurting each other.

As Tim Cleary, Christopher Black is refreshing as a feisty young vet who hopes for the best on coming home again. But he also has real misgivings. He knows what to expect, but he anticipates, in his absence, that his parents may have matured in their relationship.

Unfortunately, it only takes a day for the good feelings and Happy Homecoming to disintegrate. This is a very human and affecting production.

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Wendy Wasserstein's "Isn't It Romantic?" [***]

This is a cute little play, and it has received a cute little production, down in Tribeca at the cute little Worth Street Theatre. Seriously, it is a simple but attractive small venue—and it's just across the street from the Delphi, my favorite restaurant for stuffed grape-leaves and mousaka.

I thought "Isn't It Romantic?" hilarious when I first saw this Young New York Jewish Girl Coming-of-Age Comedy. But that was almost twenty years ago, produced by the Phoenix Theatre.

So it's not quite a novelty now. Not only because playwright Wendy Wasserstein has since improved on this Shtik in later comedies. But also because her Angst-ridden heroine and her interfering artsy-craftsy mother have been reprised over the years by other less talented satirists than Ms. Wasserstein.

In the original production, as cast and played, Janie Blumberg's doting mother was rather different from the basic Jewish Mother of Catskills comedy. She was slight, hyperactive, often oddly dressed, and obsessed with dance-classes, exercise, and Health Foods: a Lovable Kook. A real Outsider. Someone you could pretend was no relation to you, if she jogged by when you were with friends…

As played by Barbara Spiegel, however, Tasha Blumberg proved to be a Force of Nature, Larger Than Life, and a Major Fashion Victim. Not that this wasn't amusing—it definitely was—but I couldn't forget the Other Mother.

Maddie Corman was fine as Janie. Peter Van Wagner was appropriately long-suffering as her befuddled dad. Susie Cover & Jennifer Bassy provided good foils for Janie & Tasha, as mother & daughter Wasps.

As the stage is minuscule—and the set-props space-consuming—the frequent scene-changes slowed down the otherwise antic pace of the comedy. But, short of no furniture at all, I cannot imagine an effective unit-set for this show.

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Leslie Ayvazian's "High Dive" [****]

picture of Anja Silja
OFF THE DEEP END!——Leslie Ayvasian in "High Dive." Photo: ©Dixie Sheridan/2001.

Fear of High Places is not a bad thing. It helps you keep your feet on the ground, for starters. Unfortunately for the otherwise dynamic & resourceful Leslie Ayvasian, it's an embarrassment which humiliates you, not only in front of strangers, but also with your own young son.

On a family holiday in the Mediterranean, she sees how graceful everyone is diving from the high springboard. Challenged, she gets up the ladder, only to freeze on the plank. Walking the proverbial plank on a Pirate-Ship couldn't be worse.

But Ayvasian has turned her phobia-handicap into a Theatrical Plus. She uses this frozen-moment as the framework for a free-wheeling, free-associational autobiographical monologue.

Affectionately proud—but not defensive—of her Armenian Heritage, Ayvasian has already mined it for dramatic gold in "Nine Armenians," a charmingly sweet/sad family saga, produced in New York by Manhattan Theatre Club.

The Armenians return in "High Dive," along with a large cast of other characters. Ayvasian's novel device in this monologue, however, is to turn it into a Community Theatre Project.

Before the show begins, in the lobby, spectators are asked if they'd like to take a part, say a few lines. Most seemed eager the night I was there, and Ayvasian was able to enlist 34 bit-players.

The results were hilarious. She seemed surprised, astonished, even alarmed at some of the readings. No one was going to miss his or her Celebrity Turn!

This show should be very popular on the touring circuits.

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MacLiammóir's "Importance of Being Oscar" [***]

That grandly flamboyant old Irish actor, Micheál MacLiammóir, saw himself as something of a soulmate to Oscar Wilde. He and his great good friend, Hylton Edwards, founded Dublin's Gate Theatre, where they proudly produced Oscar's works and other classics by native playwrights.

But MacLiammóir's Shining Hour was certainly when he flamboyantly impersonated Oscar, sharing biographical bits and excerpts from the poems, plays, essays, and fairy-tales.

His virtuoso monologue descended into bathos only with the reading of Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol," with its abject self-pity and deliberately heavy-handed rhyme & scansion.

Although Niall Buggy—who also recently monologized Sean O'Casey at the Irish Rep—is an outstanding actor in the Dublin theatre, he is not really at home—or at ease—with Oscar. He hasn't got that careless flair which came so naturally, both to Wilde and MacLiammóir.

Well, perhaps "naturally" isn't quite the right word? After all, Wilde and MacLiammóir both worked hard at their studied flamboyance.

The problem for Buggy in the role was that he was clearly, almost sweatily, working too hard to suggest Oscar. While, at the same time, imperceptibly seeming to distance himself from his subject: "I'm not really like Oscar, you know. I'm only acting him, as you see!"

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Süskind's "Double Bass" [***]

I yield to no one in my ongoing admiration for the Mint Theater and its Artistic Director Jonathan Bank. And this isn't just because he discovered and produced my edition of Edith Wharton & Clyde Fitch's dramatization of her best-selling novel, The House of Mirth.

Though that certainly helped…

Bank's dedication to reviving and reinterpreting forgotten or neglected classics of the modern British & American Theatre is impressive. Just as impressive as most of his productions have been—especially considering limited budgets for period mountings on a very small stage.

In fact, the setting for Patrick Süskind's musical monologue, "Double Bass," was one of the most innovative and unusual seen at the Mint. Katerina Fiore created a fiercely Futuristic sound-proof room for the ferociously anti-social double-bassist.

In the process of revealing himself emotionally and programatically, this pathetic non-entity does tell the audience a lot about his instrument. Unfortunately for him, his actual sound-bite contribution to the performance of a full symphony orchestra—while essential—is really very small.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that his other obsession—also with an instrument, but of a different kind—cannot be gratified as the opera-soprano object-of-his-desires has no idea of his existence. Nor are they ever likely to meet, except in disastrous circumstances…

Considering the various cues the bassist gives us about his age and quirks, I thought Michael W. Connors was rather too young for the role. Or perhaps he only acted too callow?

Then again, I remember vividly Boyd Gaines as the double-bassist. He was definitive for me, even though I'd seen the mono-drama done in Germany. Come to think of it, however, Gaines, recently out of Juilliard, may have been younger than Connors at that time…

For those who can't place the name Süskind in context, he's a German novelist and playwright. His "Perfume" was an international best-seller.

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McPherson's "The Good Thief" [***]

Brian d'Arcy James
is excellent in "The Good Thief," Conor McPherson's alarming confessional monologue about life in the Lower Depths of Dublin. After "Howie the Rookie," at PS 122, I'm seriously considering missing the Dublin Festival next fall. The streets are not safe there!

This is a harrowing encounter, but worth the trip to the tiny José Quintero Theatre, way out west on 42nd Street. The production is by the Keen Company, whose coming attractions do indeed look attractive.

D'Arcy James proves to be a Man of Parts. He's quite a good song-stylist, as he recently demonstrated at Alice Tully Hall, interpreting some tunes of Ricky Ian Gordon, with lyrics by Tina Landau and Michael Korie.

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Other Entertainments—
Mark Morris Dance Group at BAM [*****]

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MARK MORRIS MEETS GERTRUDE STEIN——"Four Saints in Three Acts" at BAM .
Photo: ©Susana Millman/2001.

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REACH FOR THE SKY!——Morris Dancers in "Grand Duo." Photo: ©Marc Royce/2001.

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WATCH YOUR STEP!——Mark Morris' "Falling Down Stairs at BAM. Photo: ©Cylla von Tiedemann/2001.

If you missed the five different Mark Morris 20th Anniversary programs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, there's still time to order tickets for a Morris World Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera!

On May Day, the American Ballet Theatre will unveil Morris' new choreography, "Gong." A work for ten women and five men, the dance will be dressed by the idiosyncratic designer, Isaac Mizrahi.

There was a time when the repetitive spectacle of a stage full of long-haired—both men & women—Morris Dancers constantly whirling about, their arms extended, could become both clichéd and boring. The sense of joyous athleticism and freedom of movement was liberating, but more pattern & purpose would have enhanced the impact.

Oddly enough, the "Gloria" program I saw first this time at BAM included Morris choreographies going back ten and twenty years. But each seemed admirable focused and rigorous in design.

"Lucky Charms," to movements of Jacques Ibert's Divertissment, could have been a show-stopper in a vintage Broadway musical. Not least for the brightly spangled cheer-leader costumes of the vital young dancers, exuberantly executing steps and routines which would certainly jazz up some current shows. One thinks immediately of the overpraised "Contact," which doesn't even have live music.

"Bedtime," on the other hand, was more meditative, even a bit quirky, as modes of sleep were explored, accompanied by a chorus and mezzo-soprano Mary Westbrook-Geha. The somnolent movements were choreographed to Schubert's "Cradle-Song," "Ständchen," and "The Elf-King," a poetic German bedtime-story scary enough to breed nightmares for months. The evening's elegant, soaring climax, however, was "Gloria," danced to Vivaldi's Gloria in D.

My second choice of the Morris programs was his adaptation & staging of Gertrude Stein & Virgil Thomson's "Four Saints in Three Acts." This was zany and joyous, a wonderful complement to the crazy lyrics of Stein and Thomson's artful collage of American folk-music forms and other musical found-objects.

The most that a pious Catholic might expect of St. Ignatius or St. Teresa in an opera would be a Major Miracle, like healing the sick. Of course, Levitation is never beyond consideration. That seems the closest that most saints have come to dance-movement in their legendary lives.

The Biblical King David did dance before the Ark of the Covenant, but his sexual behavior was anything but saintly!

For Stein, however, it was enough for Saints to BE, not to do: "…a real saint never does anything…and that [is] everything. Generally speaking anybody is more interesting doing nothing than doing something."

Well, you get the idea… Stein and Thomson, however, could easily imagine saints singing with great joy. Mark Morris has done even more, helping the saints dance for joy.

And "Four Saints" works much better as a choreography—with the soloists & chorus in the orchestra pit—than as an opera performance, with stodgy non-acting, non-dancing singers on stage, desperately trying to perform a non-narrative work.

After all, how can you act "Pigeons on the grass, alas"? But you could—and Mark Morris certainly can—imagine many ways to dance that!

The lightness and joy—and the Dadaist decors—of "Four Saints" were balanced, rather than canceled out, by the somber metaphorical suggestions of "World Power," which opened this fascinating program.

This was danced to Lou Harrison's score for gamelan orchestra, whose tinkling qualities may not seem as threatening as the choreographies implied. But the delicate, rhythmic articulations of the music did provide strong impulses for precisely articulated dance movements.

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Introdans' "Party" at New Victory [****]

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MY HEART IS A BALLOON!——Dutch Interdans duo at New Victory. Photo: ©Hans Gerritsen/2001.

Had I not already known that the dozen dynamic Dutch dancers at the New Victory were not fugitives from the Mark Morris Group at BAM, I would at least have thought they'd been trained by Morris.

And, had I not already read that the sprightly, fanciful, and carefree Catch—the first choreography on their New York & American debut program—was created by Conny Janssen, I'd assume it was a Morris improv.

The twelve young talents in Introdans' touring ensemble would be a credit to Morris, as they surely are to their Dutch artistic directors, Ton Wiggers & Roel Voorintholt.

In fact, Wiggers has choreographed a challenging silent Debate for the elegantly articulated Raoul Dumas & Marck Wolters. Their nearly nude, superbly disciplined, and finely muscled bodies were strikingly lit from directly overhead as movement responded to movement.

Kids especially liked Psycho Killer, choreographed by Daniël Ezralow. Not for its title exactly, but rather for the fact that four dancers had a total of six legs linked by tight bands. This meant they had to perform as an interlocked quartet, with each set of doubled legs functioning as one.

Dressed in menacing military fatigues, and dancing with disciplined ferocity, they were a far cry from that formally frozen foursome of interlocked Cygnets in Swan Lake.

Although New Victory programming is targeted for children & families—and audiences were clearly delighted with Introdans' work and dancers—there was no playing-down or pandering in this debut program.

The vitality and intensity of the dancers caught up even some initially restless kids. Afterward, a number were trying out steps downstairs near the T-shirt concession!

But, even though two of the most impressive works had been previously choreographed for other ensembles by the famed Hans van Manen—longtime resident genius of Nederlands Dans Teatr—they were immediately engrossing and understandable to all.

Van Manen's Bits and Pieces, as the title suggests, offers a kaleidoscope of modern & classic movement, set in start & stop motion by a remote-control in the hands of a somewhat sadistic dance-master.

David Parson's Sleep Study—an amusing exploration of how we toss & turn in our sleep—was performed primarily prone on the floor.

Most striking—especially in the way color & costume highlighted & defined movement—was Van Manen's In the Future. The entire company wore contour-hugging outfits with bright green fronts and bold red backs. Every turn, twist, and bend created new patterns in this Futuristic Mondrian World.

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Ricky Ian Gordon's "Bright Eyed Joy" [****]

As part of Lincoln Center's "American Songbook" series, "Bright Eyed Joy," the music of Ricky Ian Gordon, made a joyful noise at Alice Tully Hall recently. Gordon's evocative musical settings for poems of Langston Hughes had already proved powerfully dramatic in "Only Heaven," a handsomely mounted show produced by Encompass Theatre earlier in the new year.

At that time, one might have called them Afro-American Art Songs. The charm and delicacy of Gordon's melodies certainly suggested art-songs, as do Hughes' wistful poetic texts. But Gordon is, after all, a white guy, so he can be credited only with the Afro-affinity, not the heritage.

At Tully Hall, Gordon's music—set to texts by Dorothy Parker, James Agee, Edna St. Vincent Millay, W. S. Merwin, Tina Landau, & Gordon himself—was dynamically interpreted by some impressive talents. Among them: Kristin Chenoweth, Brian d'Arcy James, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Monique McDonald, Judith Blazer, Camellia Johnson, & Adam Guettel, Richard Rodgers' grandson.

An extra-special performance dividend was the presence of Tony Award-winner Cherry Jones, providing context and reading some of the sung lyrics aloud. Ted Sperling conducted, yielding the piano to Gordon on occasion.

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Dutch Theater Terra's "Circus" [***]

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MY GRANDSON IS A MONKEY!——Gramps & Jimmy in "Circus." Photo: ©Serge Ligtenberg/2001.

I've never been disappointed or depressed by a touring troupe at the New Victory. Rather, exactly the opposite: you feel energized & empowered as you leave the theatre.

Nor have I ever felt patronized or ignored, even though the New Victory's programming is designed to appeal primarily to children and teens. The programs are truly Family Entertainment: parents don't have to cringe or snooze. And the performers are always thoroughly professional.

Sometimes they are professional puppets, however. That was certainly true of one star of Theater Terra's "Circus," recently imported from Holland. This was an amusing and inventive show which had a message for both youngsters and Seniors in the audience:

Life doesn't have to be over when you are in the Old People's Home. Keep on truckin' & doin' your own thing, as and when you can. Especially if you are lucky enough to have grandkids who will come to see you and make you feel needed and young again!

How's that for a broad-band message? It subtly includes Grandpa's own kids, who seem to have abandoned him altogether. But not his grandson Jimmy—played by a tiny but irrepressible puppet who looks like a monkey.

Jimmy knows Gramps was once in the circus and begs him to help him recreate a bit of circus magic for the other Seniors in the Home.

Grandpa and his martinet of a nurse are live, but all the other characters—including the memory of Grandma as an aerialist—are ingeniously designed & articulated puppets.

Although the delightfully cartoonish stage-set is very shallow and steeply raked, the impression of great depth is given now and then with forced-perspective scenic-extensions upstage—populated with tiny puppets—which make the corridors of the Home look quite long.

Unlike Nurse Ratched, now on Broadway in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Grandpa's formerly Nasty Nurse is won over by the circus performance. So maybe he will get to keep that illegal cat he's hidden under his tiger-skin rug…

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Slovenia's "Silence Silence Silence" [***]

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MENDING WALL——Slovenian performance-artist Robert Prebil should talk to Robert Frost about this problem. Photo: ©Goran Bertol/2001.

Kids might well be mystified—and occasionally bored—with the slow-motion visual mysteries of "Silence Silence Silence," recently shown at LaMaMa. This stunning show was presented by Slovenia's Mladinsko Theatre, and it deserves every award it has won on its world tours.

It doesn't have a narrative: only associative, slowly-moving, transforming visual-effects, linked to Mozart's magical music and the mysterious Sounds of Silence.

It not only has to be Seen To Be Believed, as they say. But it also has to be heard, to be experienced. Rather than described.

Its climactic effect is the toppling of a backwall of white styrofoam bricks by a mysterious man breaking through.

Slovenia is that little slavic slice of the former Yugoslavia, wedged between Austrian Carinthia to the north and Croatia and Serb territories to the south.

With the Neo-Fascist Jörg Haider just over their northern border in Kärnten, and the seething Serbs in the south, it's no wonder Slovenian theatre-artists conjure up such bizarre visions.

This haunting piece of performance-art seems a form of Surreal Escape from the horrendous realities of Life and Death in what was once a peaceful, prosperous, unified Socialist State. Of course, Tito's Yugoslavia was a police-state, but his version of Law-and-Order proved far more productive than what has followed the dissolution of the state.

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Slovakia's "Armageddon" [*]

Not to be confused with Slovenia—Slovakians just hate that!—this Slavic State lies to the north-northeast of Austria. More than being confused with the Slovenians, however, Slovaks hate being lumped with the Czechs.

This—as part of Czechoslovakia—they had to endure after World War I, when the losing Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled. With some advice from President Woodrow Wilson's very young staffer, Walter Lippman, the Four Great Powers politically and economically welded to the unwilling Slovaks to Prague and the Bohemians & Moravians.

The fact that their capital city, Bratislava, is only 45 minutes from downtown Vienna has also given them an historic sense of Inferiority. Before the advent of Communism, you could go from Vienna to Pressburg—as it is still known there—via streetcar!

Recently celebrating Slovak Culture, ardent local patriots brought Rudolf Sloboda's strange comedy, "Armageddon on the GRB Hill/Requiem full of life," to LaMaMa, which is having more than its share of Balkanization.

The much-admired Slovak actress, Zita Furková, played Woman, who had the opportunity to see again all three of her deceased husbands. Considering what they were like when they were on earth, she was lucky the Angel involved in all this did not actually restore them to life. The bottle had become her chief consolation, but the despair of her son.

This was all very broadly played. It often had the sense of a lively improv, designed for a lusty rustic holiday gathering. It was imported by the Astorka Korzo '90 Theatre. It made the Slovenian production look like a Tony-Award staging.

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Harold Prince on Theatre
At CUNY Grad Center Martin Segal Theatre

How most people find out about these things is a mystery to me. They must be listed in the New York Times? Which I no longer read, as it takes almost the entire day, and I'm always seated here at the computer-keyboard, indexing photos or reporting on theatre-events…

Only because I'm an Emeritus Prof of Theatre at the CUNY Grad Center did I discover that—when I wasn't looking—a group of former Cultural Commissioner and Lincoln Center Chief Martin Segal's friends donated funds to create the Martin Segal Theatre at the Grad Center.

He has also graciously lent his name to the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center—formerly known as CASTA—publisher of three theatre journals. One is "Western European Stages," for which I'm a Contributing Editor.

So the minute I found out Broadway director/producer Harold Prince was going to take part in a discussion in the Segal Theatre with Prof. Edwin Wilson, I phoned in my reservation. The handsome space is, however, not overlarge, so it was already crowded with some notable Showbiz Seniors when I arrived.

Hal was asked to offer a short preamble before the actual interchange of Q & A. But he got so caught up in his excitement about the theatre, its recent past, and its renewable potential for the future that it was difficult to shift to the discussion mode.

He not only briefly reviewed his own astonishing Broadway career—from George Abbott's go-for, to stage-manager, to producer, to multi-Tony Award-winning director—but he also noted the work he and his gifted children, Daisy & Charlie Prince, are doing with him in workshops to help develop new talents for the musical stage. Incidentally, Charlie Prince just conducted Ricky Ian Gordon's "Only Heaven" for Encompass Theatre! His first name is a tribute to his great-grandfather, the Charlie Chaplin.

Carol Ilson, holder of a CUNY PhD in Theatre, was in the audience and showed a copy of her recently updated and invaluable book on Harold Prince. I was to have been on her thesis-committee, but, after my Jack Cole biography—which Hal admired— I proposed to him that I follow Cole with Prince. So I bowed out of the Illson project.

As I'd often interviewed Prince and had followed his career closely since I came to New York in 1960, I proposed to survey his work both with drama and musicals. And not only with Stephen Sondheim musicals…

Prince had generously often come to my CUNY Grad Center seminars to discuss his work. Including one memorable afternoon with Michael Bennett, when "Follies" had just begun rehearsals.

At the time, he liked the idea of the book very much: even my proposed title: "Prince Hal, King of Broadway."

Unfortunately, his most recent productions had been "Merrily We Roll Along," "Doll's Life," and Grind." All of them had been challenging and innovative, but all were also losers of millions.

My former agent couldn't sell the proposal. This was even more wounding to Prince, I think, than it was to me. She usually opened her book-pitch with something like: "I don't suppose you'd be interested in a book by Glenn on Harold Prince…?" The answer was an immediate NO.

One publisher was not averse to my ghosting a book for Prince, with his name on the cover as author. But Hal would not hear of this. He told me he wanted to read my survey of his career and to respond to my reactions to his choices and his work.

That gave me the idea of having him make marginal notations printed beside my own text: agreeing, disagreeing, adding anecdotes & explanations. Or responding at the end of each chapter.

We thought this could work very well. After our meeting, I encountered Andrew Lloyd Webber in the corridor, looking for Prince's office. I'd interviewed him for Opera News, but I had no idea that he and Hal were collaborating on "Phantom of the Opera." That could have been another Opera News special…

As soon as "Phantom" opened in London, Hal sent me all the glowing reviews. My agent took them around, and suddenly four important publishers were interested in the book, as proposed.

But it never came to pass. For our proposed book, Hal had promised me a final chapter, in which he would outline everything he thought was wrong with the way theatre was being produced and promoted on Broadway.

In the meantime, a colleague who was doing a study of Prince's collaborations with Sondheim for Cambridge University Press—in a series on directors—asked him for an interview.

Prince later apologized to me, in effect: We can't do the book. I told him everything I was saving up. I thought your agent would never be able to sell the book.

So all of my Prince & Sondheim files are now somewhere in the bowels of the Theatre Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

But Hal Prince has promised to come back to CUNY and the Segal Theatre very soon. Watch for announcements in the Times!

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At the Kaye Theatre—
Beethoven as Student & Teacher

If Antonio Salieri was really such a second-rate composer, why did the great Ludwig van Beethoven want to study with him? If Salieri really poisoned Mozart, why didn't he sense that his new student would be even greater posthumous competition for him—and slip a poison-pellet in Ludwig's stein?

When I saw playwright Peter Shaffer come down the aisle at Hunter College's Kaye Theatre, I wondered what the author of "Amadeus" was doing at an ordinary Chamber Music concert.

Did he come to confirm his dramatic accusations about Salieri's lack of genius? No, he had been invited by Joseph LoSchiavo—the Kaye's resourceful impresario—who thought he might enjoy a very professional performance of Salieri's only string-quartet.

As interpreted by the Avalon String Quartet, it was lively and inventive, but clearly not in Mozart's league. Even the following Trio, by one of Beethoven's students, was professional, but not exactly inspired.

But this composer was no ordinary piano-student. He was Archduke Rudolph, youngest son of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold. He is the "Archduke" to whom Beethoven dedicated that admired Trio.

And when Rudolph became His Eminence, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna and beyond, Beethoven composed the Missa Solemnis for his enthronement.

Even as a Cardinal, Rudolph still found time to make music and to compose.

Can you imagine the late Francis, Cardinal Spellman dashing off a sonata or even a ballad? Not likely—but then he was made a Prince of the Church. He wasn't born a prince.

Still, the Habsurgs weren't all that musical. Empress Maria Theresia was amused by Mozart the child-prodigy, but she didn't admire the way his father, Leopold, schlepped his tiny son all over Europe.

And didn't her Imperial Successor himself lecture the mature Mozart: "Too many notes! Too many notes, Mozart!" Or is that just another invention of playwright Peter Shaffer?

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New Home for Dance Theatre Workshop—

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NEW DANCE THEATRE ON WEST 19TH——In DTW'S new building, they'll have income from luxury apartments upstairs!
Design & Rendering: ©Rawliings architects pc/2001.

On a blustery March day recently, city & cultural dignitaries in hard-hats gathered at 219 West 19th Street for the ground-breaking of the new Dance Theatre Workshop headquarters. The demolition of the DTW's old building was temporarily halted as Movers & Shakers and the press slid over the muddy ground and huddled under a festive tent for the Remarks.

Bright silver shovels were soon wielded by, among others, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Schuyler Chapin, Olga Garay of the Doris Duke Trust, David White of DTW, and choreographer Donald Byrd.

What is especially interesting—and innovative—about the handsomely designed new home is that it reverses the usual artist-landlord relationship.

Instead of being at the mercy of a building-owner who could raise the rent, set restrictive operating rules, or even expel them, Dance Theatre Workshop will now be its own landlord, as well as for the eight floors of modern luxury apartments which will rise above the new column-free dance theatre, offices, and studios.

Not only will DTW be able to set its own rules, it will have a generous and steady source of income. This has only become possible because of close cooperation with city and state agencies dealing with zoning, air-rights, HUD project-financing, and similar matters.

The financial involvement of the Duke Trust and other non-profit and individual patrons has also been crucial. Not to mention their obvious goodwill and firm belief in the work of DTW in the city, the nation, and abroad.

City officials, among them Council President Peter Vallone, also see this new project as of immediate value to the Chelsea neighborhood, a cultural amenity, as is the nearby Joyce Theatre. And no one has overlooked the possibility of trickle-down spending in the neighborhood by New Yorkers from other areas flocking to programs in the new quarters

Now that Dance Theatre Workshop—and its resourceful design-team, Rawlings Architects pc—have discovered how to do this, other New York City arts-operations may want to develop similar income-producing rentals and work-spaces for themselves.

Check It Out! [Loney]

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Copyright © Glenn Loney 2001. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire." Reproduction rights please contact: jslaff@nytheatre-wire.com.

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