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This SNLC definitely has a New York City bias to it, since the event in question is taking place (in this country, at least) only in NYC, not to mention it being just after the Tony Awards.  Said event is the current production of The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow (of the National Theatre of Brent) from the classic film by Alfred Hitchcock.  For those who aren't into "theatah", this production uses 4 actors in all the roles, which number over 100 (no, not just 39).  So why blather on about it on Daily Kos?  Well....

Currently in the lead role of Richard Hannay is a chap named Charles Edwards, who was in the first London production of the play starting in August 2006 (one review here, and went to the US when the production first hit Boston in September 2007 (review here), then NYC in January 2008 (review here).    In fact, Ben Brantley's NYT review notes at the start:

"Bored with the tedium of his life, Richard is also fed up with newspapers bearing tales of 'elections and wars and rumors of wars.' He longs for 'something mindless and trivial. Something utterly pointless.' His jaw unclenches for a 'Eureka!' moment. 'I know!' he says. 'I’ll go to the theater!'"

At one point in the story, for those who remember the film, Richard Hannay, hiding from the police, stumbles into a political rally for a candidate in Scotland.  He has no idea who the candidate is, what office he's running for, or what to say.  So Hannay starts winging it with the most general, time-stalling platitudes you can imagine, such as (here very loosely quoted, definitely not exact):

"Well, what do we all want?  What are we all looking for, beyond mere selfishness?"

Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere (sort of), comes one word (stunningly obvious, in retrospect):


Keep in mind, this is in NYC, not Chicago ;) .  You can imagine the audience, mostly, going "oh yeah, uh huh".

While the show itself sounds like "Hitchcock meets Monty Python", i.e. snarky rather than serious, Edwards sums up its spirit thus:

"We have great respect for the source material. To outwit Hitchcock is a foolhardy enterprise. What we eventually came up with, rather than a spoof of cinema, is a celebration of what theatre can do that cinema can't. The show celebrates theatre as a medium and reminds us why theatre is so special."

If you are in the NYC area and want to check it out, or specifically Edwards in the lead, you have until July 6, because that day is Edwards' last performance in the show.  The show will continue with Sam Robards taking over the lead role.

Oh, and since this is Loser's Club: 6 nominations for The 39 Steps (none for acting or writing, though), 2 wins (Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Sound Design of a Play).  So it didn't go home empty handed, but no mega-star category wins.  OTOH, it would seem that not enough people care about the Tonys in "this modern world" anyway.  One of the few is Charles Isherwood of the NYT, ruminating about it here.

OK, your turn below, with loser stories of the week welcome (and don't worry, you get to rain back at others too).  Have fun, kiddies....

Originally posted to chingchongchinaman on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 06:12 PM PDT.

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