Monday, March 13, 2006

Got back from today's ND/NF screenings ("Pavee Lackeen"; "Still World" and "First on the Moon") to read on ATT's homepage that Maureen Stapleton died. Took more than an hour to get home, because the "R" was nonexistent (waited at the 59th Street station for at least 20 minutes) but then got home and when i turned on the TV that documentary "Broadway: The Golden Years" was on Channel 13. So many people had raved about it when it played at the Angelika. So (in memory of Maureen Stapleton) decided to watch it, and it was enjoyable (how could it not be, with all those actors talking? if actors aren't lively in conversation, what are they?), but some of Rick McKay's comments (especially during the pledge breaks) were irritating. But it's similar to the feeling i had watching the PBS doc "Broadway: The Musical": the people who do these docs aren't really very knowledgable. Rick McKay talks about his surprise when so many people interviewed talked about Laurette Taylor. And then he mentions how he had never heard of Laurette Taylor. Where has this man been? Laurette Taylor's one of those names that EVERYONE talked about, and not just in the theater: George Cukor would always talk about Laurette Taylor, and Katharine Hepburn would always say that Laurette Taylor was the greatest actress she's ever seen, and on and on and on. Had Rick McKay never heard of "The Glass Menagerie"?

In a way, that's why i think it's hopeless: in every field i can think of, there are so-called "experts" whose actual knowledge is very minimal, but they get to rule because there's nobody else around (think RoseLee Goldberg and the field of "performance") : they're the ones whose books get published, they're the ones who get funding, they're the ones who are being asked by foundations, etc. to "advise" about the field. I wish i were a know-nothing, because maybe i'd actually find a way to make money on this racket.

But i was sad to read about the death of Maureen Stapleton. She was one of those people (Shelley Winters was another)... well, all i can say is that the only time i ever met her, she was drunk! But she was funny!


Blogger Rene Levine said...

If it were not for Rick McKay this film would never exist and none of us would even know what it was like to SEE Laurette Taylor on the screen. I am sure Laurette Taylor was dead long before Rick McKay was born and he is a hero in my opinion for actually making this film. I know an enormous amount about the theater and still learned more than I can tell you from this film. I saw it in the theatre and also bought the DVD. It has a director's commentary which you should hear as it really, really explains how the film was made and how he didn't get grants or funds and left PBS to make it himself - literally shooting, editing and everything. Rather than whine and complain about the wrong people doing things, why don't you get off your ass and do it instead of talking about it. This guy did and he sure inspired me. Put your money - or time - where your mouth is! He seems to have and we have this wonderful film to last forever now. But, then again, we have your blog, too. Hmmm ...

6:16 PM


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