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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Art, life and Lady Macbeth in a strapless gown
(Page 2 of 3)
You don’t go to see “Macbeth” to lift your spirits, but the whole experience of sitting back, listening to Shakespeare and watching actors strut and fret their hours on the stage is truly transporting. In this visually dark production, all black and silver with splashes of red, Lady Macbeth wears a strapless white gown and the witches are men in drag wearing strange nightgowns.

For three hours, I didn’t think about politics or anything else. I did, however, make a brief connection between “Macbeth” and Walter White, as Macbeth breaks bad, grows mad with power and self-combusts. And when Macbeth spoke of a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing, I had a momentary thought of Ted Cruz. No escape is perfect.

Because it was a particularly challenging week in the real world, the magic of theater sparkled even brighter than usual. I’m always thrilled to take a seat, watch the lights go down and see people on stage make a story that can move me emotionally and fire off neurons that have been sleeping too long.

By the time I went to “The Glass Menagerie,” Kathleen Sebelius had testified before Congress, and promises were made for an end-of-November reboot. Walking to the theater, I watched the neon news streaming across the buildings in Times Square. How could the president know about the defective website and still push ahead? How could he not know? These were the thoughts churning in my mind as I took my seat at the Booth Theater.

Even that — taking a seat in a Broadway theater — is a down payment on escape. Except for electricity, the old theaters are elegant tributes to architectural splendor and theatrical ornamentation.

The stage is set simply, with a living room couch and a kitchen table and chairs. A fire escape offers no escape for these psychologically trapped characters.

The lights dim. We meet the mother, played by Cherry Jones, the daughter, Laura, the son and, of course, the gentleman caller. This is Tennessee Williams writing about the power of memory and love to mold us generation to generation. He speaks of dreams and hopes — the glass menagerie, so fragile and elusive.
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