Ivan Bellman is Blimey McEngland!

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I wanted to hate the play. I donít know why. I just did. Maybe itís because I am on currently on a Baby Tour of London (ďBellmanís British Baby BlitzkriegĒ was the alternate title of this hit). So I am not really kicking my normal theater binge styley. But I could not resist a relatively new play called BLACKBIRD playing in the West End . . . y’know, with Adam Rapp having penned a play of the same title and all.

To further the cowinkeydink, both plays are two-handers concerned with a relationship between a grown man and a minor. Rappís play ran here in London Town a few years back. It starred his former muse, the beguling Elizabeth Reaser, who, by all accounts, blew the doors off the theater with her work. I got to see the New York production, directed by the playwright himself, which was dominated not by the female roll but by Paul Sparksí performance.

Now Mr. Sparks is just finishing up LANSCAPE OF THE BODY, playing somewhere near Roanoke, New Jersey (Thatís a joke. Itís technically Bway . . . itís just really far west for those of us who take public transport.) Before leaving Manhattan, Rocky and myself bumped into Paul smoking outside the West Bank with Dallas Roberts. I know both these blokes from around the way but seeing them together was newly interesting. They represent the new-garde of what I can only compare to the Actorís Studio before Brando and Newman blew-up or Sinise and Malkovich became subsumed by alternate media. (Portia and Liza Colůn-Zayas of the LAByrinth have the female frontier of stage acting covered like the President does your phone lines. Marin Ireland can also break ground when given the opportunity.)

When I commented that Paul’s cheeks were a bit gaunt, he attested to having just shot the film version of BLACKBIRD, which I believe Rapp again directed. I wonder if Liz Reaser played opposite Sparks in the film??? Hmmmm. Me thinks this combo would be explosive but perhaps totally impossible. Unlikely not because of the former romantic chaos between actress and writer/director but more improbable due to Elizabeth losing out on the lead roll in the film WINTER PASSING to Zooey Dachanelle.

ďDonít you like reading screenplays?Ē Paul coyly posed to Dallas in regards to the TriBeCa Film Festival reading series of which he was soon to partake.

ďSure. I like reading screenplays. I just donít like reading screenplays and then having them cast someone from The OC

But I digress . . . back to the play (and city) of the moment. As I sit in the Royal Circle of the Albery Theatre (formerly for the rich, now coach class for low-fliers cum myself) I begin to seethe looking over the dormant set for an entirely different BLACKBIRD. (Hereís a link: www.blackbird.com) It looked like a bad David Korins design. Donít get me wrong . . . Korins has cornered the market on hyper-real or even American Expressionism. His designs are a lot like what they say about pizza and sex: “When itís good, itís really good… When itís bad, itís still pretty good.” However, the latter does not go all the way. Bad is when household products look fresh from the store. Or when the toothbrushes are color coded by gender but have obviously never been used. Ergo, my sensibilities find offence in the fast food detritus some unfed P.A. had barely distressed. And, thusly, my panties have begun to collect into a wad.

(Allow me one more small tangent… Rapp, Korins and his wife Carolyn Cantor comprise the Edge Theater Company which just finished its run of LIVING ROOM IN AFRICA. There is obvious potential in this consortium. Ms. Cantor, who I think of as a talented version of Jo Bonney, can surprise you with her skill. Unfortunately, usually against my own hopes and desires for Edgeís work, I walk away thinking, “Who gives a shit about these bitchy white people?”)

Like I said . . . I wanted to hate it . . . the way the British love plays about how retarded Americans can be . . . the way theater fags loathe it when they see film versions of plays with none of the original stage cast . . . the way you really, deep in your heart, do NOT want your ĖExís new relationship to work out, not because you want them back but . . . well . . . you know what I mean . . .

I gather Mr. Roboto would like me to provide this site with informative, less opinionated, more frequent, shorter hits. So Iím not going to babble on about this production of BLACKBIRD. I will say that, in the middle viewing said piece, I had a minor panic attack. This was not because of the playís finely woven dementia of a man and woman who still harbor their illegal love for one another some twenty years after their transgression. Nor was it the brilliant direction of Peter Stein who might be the last of last centuryís European Theater Titans . . .

What alarmed me was that a production like this could never occur Stateside. There is a slim chance that the play might transfer to New York or even be remounted on a smaller scale. However, sadly, owing to the playís morally ambiguous content combined with the Master Directorís subtle yet Expressionistic touch, the spectacle culminates into an objective vantage on the human condition of which I seriously doubt Americans are capable. Writers have also been conditioned into neurotic freaks who rarely relinquish control of their work.

Sad but true . . . Where are we? How did we get here?

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Comments
One Response to “Ivan Bellman is Blimey McEngland!”
  1. IB~
    You know who is untalented? Me. Just re-edited the above . . . yuk . . . I blame jet lag. What’s your excuse??? Seriously dude, your website is filled with the most solipsistic yang I have ever wasted my time to skim. C’mon man! What are you saying? What are you REALLY saying? Who cares about Jo Fucking Bonney??? Are you not more interested in what is killing all the Dolphins???
    ~IB

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