Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two Openings

Went to the opening of The Farnsworth Invention last night, and went to the opening of August: Osage County tonight. The reviews are out on Farnsworth and the more genuinely critical critics have had their say -- and it's really a mixed bag. Now, I don't particularly agree with that -- I think Aaron Sorkin covers his behind in the sense that he acknowledges that the play is largely NOT based on fact, but based on personalities around a set of generally known facts. I also noticed a number of reviews talk about so-called "weaknesses" in the play, but they don't really get to the heart of the play's one real weakness: the fact that so much is told, not shown. You know, the sort of thing that would make Tina Howe jump off a building, or so I once learned. If you believe that narrators are the lifeline of the desperate, then The Farnsworth Invention is uninventive, among other things. But I differ. I would argue that there is something almost primal about a good narrator -- not a narrator that tells you where the drama is, or tells you even what the drama is, but rather leads you to the drama, shepherding you to the oasis where you may drink the drama, if you will.

But the counterargument can be easily located by August: Osage County. Or, to put it even more bluntly, I hereby predict that the play will win the Tony for Best Play and will almost surely, surely win the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Mark my words. Mark my words. And not a narrator in sight. Beautiful shown, not told, and some of the most scorching acting I've seen in years. Go see it. Spend the money and go see it. American playwriting should always be this good.

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Jen Ryan's Brain said...


....loved A:OC, too. Glad you did!

Anonymous said...

Good point with farnsworth. I was bored to tears and it seemed like nothing more than an annoying History class. However, August:OC was terrific. What a great group of actors. I would have sat through that Play for five hours. It will win the Pulitzer.