London Theater Update

It's been slim pickings at TKTS, maybe because I've been showing up too early. Show up at or before 10am opening you don't have to wait very long, but there's less choice I suspect than if I showed up at noon and queued a long time. I would have loved to see the new David Hare play, but it's not on while I'm in town.

So last night I saw Jerry Springer: the Opera. I am more of straight theater kind of guy, but I'd read about this and, well, I guess I'm glad I saw it. I've only ever seen about five minutes of Springer in some hotel somewhere, and I was fairly disgusted. The show is pretty smart about walking a line between joining in with Springer and condemning him. It revels in his horribleness while at the same time inviting you to revel too while at the same time marking an ironic distance. That's clever. And uncomfortable. It's a somewhat well, not raunchy but defiantly rude show. And it's a real spectacle. The use of the audience as a modern trailer-trash manipulated Greek chorus is clever.

Jerry gets sent to visit hell, but the permanence of his stay is left ambiguous.

I left wondering what on earth Springer himself thought of it.

Apparently he liked it

“I 'm honored to the point that I realize that I'm the only human being on the planet earth that's an opera,” Springer says. “There have been others, but they're dead.”

This evening I saw an RSC production of “Twelfth Night” set in an Indian milieu. It did the play no harm, allowed the addition of nice costumes and some good physical jokes, and thus distracted a little from the play's utter implausibility. Orisnio was a drip who mostly didn't speak loud enough. Viola played the role very straight, which mostly was not too good except in her scenes with Olivia, who was generally magnificent…topped only by the Fool who kept stealing the show. On the whole a good production of one of Shakespear's weakest plays, but not in the same class as the History Boys, or the RSC production of Coriolanus I saw the last time I was in London, which I'm sure is the best Coriolanus I'll ever see in my life.

Tomorrow it's back to the National for “A Funny Thing Happened”.

Blogging may be sparse until I get back to the US late on Tuesday. Or, if we go on campus to watch the election returns with the students, maybe not till Wednesday…

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8 Responses to London Theater Update

  1. You should do a little research on Springer. He’s an interesting man.


  2. Matt Weiner says:

    Jerry is currently on my do not criticize list. Remember the Jon Derf cartoon where the hipster walks through the store with a Dixie Chicks CD dangling from his fingertips, shuddering at what he has to go through for the cause? That’s how I feel about Jerry.

  3. Yes, don’t criticize the former Mayor who lost his office for writing a check to a prostitute.

    He’ll always do the job better than you could, and you’ll only walk away with depression after at having set your sights so low.

    I’m as democratic as a yellow dog, but there are some members of any collective you just can’t accept as poster children for the campaign, and there’s just no sense to be seen in accepting any action by anyone that shares your political view. I believe they call that the “Sonny Bono Doctrine…”

  4. Mr Chopin, you should do a little more research on Springer. He plays to the low end of popular culture, but he’s not a secret fascist. He’s a left wing populist, and was a serious political reformer before anything else. And by the way, he’s also the child of survivors. He came over after the war It’s an interesting story, with more than a little tragedy. That’s not quite Sonny Bono.
    Enough with the moralizing.

  5. Actually, my post makes clear that I am aware Mr. Springer is a leftist. And that I don’t think that’s enough to raise him even far enough out of the gutter to be worthy of looking down on.

    And as for the fact that he’s the child of survivors, that’s more of a reason for him to be ashamed than some justification for his current state. You’re right. Sonny Bono just married Cher. That’s much worse.

  6. By the way, I have to ask. Why was it the best we could do to escape the negative implications of the word “liberal” was to move on to “populist?” Why don’t we just make the right wingers happy and call the party “The Commies.”

  7. Springer didn’t lose his mayoral office for paying a prostitute by check. He resigned his city council seat after paying a prostitute by check.

    And then he got re-elected by a landslide and got re-elected a couple more times. And *then* he was elected mayor. And re-elected mayor, too, I think. Then he lost a bid for Congress, left politics and became a repeat local-Emmy-winning TV newscaster.

    And then he got his syndicated daytime talk show, which only became the circus it is after an initial stab at Donahue-ish progressivism tanked in the ratings.

    Interesting guy. I highly recommend listening to the “This American Life” installment about him.

  8. Correction: he lost a bid for Governor after his time as mayor of Cincinnati, not the House.

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