–The Grace of Mary Traverse, Timberlake WertenbakerThere are so many marvelous lines and stunning passages in this script, I hesitate to pull out one bit to represent. Put this on your reading list. Better yet, stage the thing. Especially recommended for feminists and women’s studies scholars.
I studied an early, cardstock-bound copy of this book while working on my NeoVaudeville grant presentation back in 2009. It’s a little fact-heavy but boasts a few memorable anectdotes and is a worth $13 for those interested in vaudeville and theatrical history –especially if they’re from Scranton.
I’m personally curious to read the last chapter — as one of the few journalists covering theater in Scranton for the past decade (as well as consistantly working on the production end in my freelance life). and I’ve never met or spoken with the author as far as I can remember but according to her bio she has participated in local cemetery theater productions.
“If You Can Play Scranton is a theatrical history of America as seen through the famous performers who came to Scranton, Pennsylvania. It discusses performances by the best known actors and actresses of the tragic and comic stage, ethnic performers, vaudevillians, musical comedy, concert, orchestra and band performers from 1871-2010. At the turn of the 20th century, Scranton was one of the most famous try-out towns for legitimate stage productions. The sophisticated taste of its audience, created by extensive exposure to world renown talent, continues to this day.”
Playwright Sarah Ruhl reads excerpts from “75 Essays I Don’t Have the Time to Write” in the Pearn Auditorium at the University of Scranton on Friday, October 21, 2011.
For an engaging personal account of the event, read Matthew Hinton’s post “A RETURN (to ART / PACK MENTALITY) … SARAH RUHL PROSELYTIZES at the UofS … and ECHOES in SOUND and LIGHT,” at The Analog Art Blog.
Writing about the perhaps desperately over the top attempts of Broadway theaters to transport its audience to a world more in line with the subject at hand than the privileged bland Americana in which they live their daily lives, Isherwood writes: The drawback to this kind of immersive décor is that it can border on the theme park-ish, turning the specific into the ersatz and treading dangerously close to kitsch. We may be on Broadway, but we are still hip, the furnishings all but scream.
I think the trend is less alarming for its potential aesthetic abuse than it is, well… hilarious. People are paying big bucks to be transported into a safe simulation … supposedly authentic (but not) of the world as others know it. Or knew it. This is an essential function of art. To improve upon reality. To take the foreign that we fear and make it easier to digest.
Broadway is lactose free skim milk? Whatever that is.