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Category: the Tonys

“Medea” – Euripides

medea-1898-jpglarge

       Medea (1898) 

       Alphonse Mucha

          ____________

catching up on my Greek tragedies 
for a course I’m following online, I
happened upon this marvel

Medea, by Euripides, was written 
in 431 BCE, the next significant 
playwright in world history was
Shakespeare, the Dark Ages had
been “Dark” indeed, it took a 
Renaissance, in fact a new 
flowering of Greek and Roman
arts and institutions to get us 
moving forward again, you’ll 
notice how much of Euripides 
there is in Shakespearenot to 
mention in the French Classicists, 
Racine and Corneille

none of these, incidentally, have 
yet been equalled, never mind 
surpassed, except by maybe 
Anton Checkov, the superb 
Russian playwright

Zoe Caldwell won the 1982 Tony 
Award for best actress for her
incarnation of Medea, she was 
up against Katharine Hepburn 
and Geraldine Pageno less, 
among other distinguished 
luminaries, this is, in other 
words, no ordinary performance, 
watch her turn a mere script, 
however incandescent, into 
set of spoken arias worthy of 
the most celebrated divas

everyone else in the play is also
strong, excellent, impeccable

note the application of the three 
unities, of time, place, and action,
there is no set change, everything 
takes place within 24 hours,
according to the dictates of the 
very plot, the action surrounds 
the expulsion from Corinth of 
Medea and her two, and Jason’s, 
sons, the restrictions of the form 
put the tension, the drama, utterly 
in the hands of the poet, the 
success of the work depends not
on stunts, special effects, but on
words, poetry

Aristotle says in his Poetics“, 
section I, part VI, “The Spectacle has, indeed, an
emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts,
it is the least artistic, and connected least with the
art of poetry. … Besides, the production of
spectacular effects depends more on the art
of the stage machinist than on that of the poet.”  

the three unities have no room,
therefore, for Spectacle“, their 
product must be reflections of 
the poet’s humanity, heart, 
straight through, if s/he can, 
to ours

Richard

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“Tru”‏

"Truman Capote" - Gloria Vanderbilt

Truman Capote

Gloria Vanderbilt

____________

Truman Capote, a towering XXth-Century
figure, might be remembered much more
for his personality than his considerable
literary output, In Cold Blood remains
a turning point in the history of literature,
not to mention an extraordinary read

three major works have been produced
about Capote since at least 1992, when
Robert Morse won a Tony for Tru, my
favourite rendition, with a nod to the
superb Infamous, before even the
dire, Oscar-winning, Capote, however
deserving Philip Seymour Hoffman
might’ve been of his own award for his
brilliant work

watch Tru in coordinated instalments,
no fuss, no muss, only the suspicion
you’ve missed an irretrievable and
perhaps crucial nugget in the clip
change

chill, Tru, however apportioned here,
is seamless, and captivating, hilarious
and, all at once, profound, not to be
ever forgotten, much as I never have

Richard

 

March: “Black March” – Stevie Smith‏

"The Frozen Pool, March" - Willard Metcalf

The Frozen Pool, March (1909)

Willard Metcalf

_______

in this wonderful film about Stevie Smith,
Glenda Jackson is the celebrated poet,
whose poem, “Black March“, I’ve chosen
to introduce the new month

you’ll love also Mona Washbourne in it,
as Stevie’s beloved aunt

the site presents the film in numbered
episodes, which seamlessly flow if you
don’t touch your dial, but should you,
just click on the episode number, one
of eleven, when you return

Richard

psst: you might also want to compare
this story with that of Emily
Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst“,
another, unconventionally then,
unmarried woman, for which Julie
Harris got a richly deserved Tony
in 1977

read all about it in one of my recent
blog
s

_________________

Black March

I have a friend
At the end
Of the world.
His name is a breath

Of fresh air.
He is dressed in
Grey chiffon. At least
I think it is chiffon.
It has a
Peculiar look, like smoke.

It wraps him round
It blows out of place
It conceals him
I have not seen his face.

But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say:

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.

(Such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Uninterrupted
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)

But this friend
Whatever new names I give him
Is an old friend. He says:

Whatever names you give me
I am
A breath of fresh air,
A change for you.

Stevie Smith

“Dancing at Lughnasa”

   "O'Malley Home (Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland)" (1913) - Robert Henri

O’Malley Home (Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland) (1913)

Robert Henri

_______

a quiet February evening, or even a quiet
February afternoon, would be perfect to
watch Dancing at Lughnasa“, a fireside
movie with family and warmth, even
chickens, it’s Ireland, 1936, in the distance
the Spanish Civil War, sisters are taking
care of each other

Meryl Streep heads an impeccable cast,
each performer surely inspiring the other
for such excellence to so generally shine
through, the magic is inveterately
consistent

Michael, Christina’s illegitimate son, tells
the story of when his dad visited them all
that summer he was seven, children are
always the victims, also the survivors

the play won the Tony Award in 1992 for
Best Play of the Year

watch, click

Richard

“The Belle of Amherst”‏

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

_______

a couple of my Internet interests intersected
recently to bring me this theatrical gem, this
outright treasure

there’d been a few poems of Emily Dickinson
I’d read in my poetry class, none particularly
affecting, while at the Tonys on another site
Julie Harris was winning the ’77 award for
best actress for her role as that very poet, in
a superb evocation, The Belle of Amherst“,
of Dickinson’s life, available, I, to my delight,
indeed erudition, discovered, elsewhere still
on the Internet, straight from the original
Broadway stage

Julie Harris was the very stuff of Tonys, so
was the production

watch, don’t not watch

you’ll want to run back to your Emily
Dickinsons afterwards, even

here’s one

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson

Richard

the Tonys, 1976, ’77‏

the Tony Award Medallion

the Tony Award Medallion

___________

the Tonys have become for me what
the Rubinstein Competition was
last
spring, or was it summer, an addiction

in ’76 “A Chorus Line” essentially won
everything
, the closest thing to it was
“Chicago”, which, if I remember, got
nothing, undeservedly, but how do
you top a titan, A Chorus Line has
never been bested, you came out
dancing

it’s ’77 though, now, and Lily Tomlin
gets a special Tony
for a show that
couldn’t be called either a play or a
musical, Appearing Nitely was a
revelation

watch Lily Tomlin receive her award,
you’ll see what I mean

just click

Richard

another Tony treasure


the Tony Award Medallion

the Tony Award Medallion

___________

from the 1974 Tonys, you’ll want to
watch this skit, Mrs Snodgrass has
had 27 children, Nancy Walker is
Mrs Snodgrass

should the video not come up at the
right position, as it should, find Mr
and Mrs Snodgrass at 1:42:00 on
the time strip

enjoy

Richard

Tonyana‏

the Tony Award Medallion

the Tony Award Medallion

______________

meanwhile back at the Tonys, 1972,
Phil Silvers wins an award for Best
Actor in a Broadway Musical

surely deservedly, he could’ve won
one right here

Richard

the Tonys‏

the Tony Award Medallion

the Tony Award Medallion

______________

this is why I love the Tonys

this is why I love Broadway

this is why I love New York

just click

Richard