Passing the Love of PANGS (with video) and Plowing Onto SPEED (with excitement)…

Our extension of PANGS OF THE MESSIAH came to close on Sunday with a robust weekend of strong houses, strong talk-backs, and a champagne party on stage after the final bow. And as a final memento, filmmaker David Goldenberg gave us a five minute compilation of excerpts from the show. We’ll play this in Israel come the end of November when Motti (and I, perhaps) are on a panel at the IsraDrama Festival with symposia on political theater and an endless 4-day orgy of Israeli theater on display. T’will be fun.

But closing MESSIAH was bittersweet. The set is gone. The ceiling piece for Daniel C. Conway’s set for SPEED-THE-PLOW is suspended over the stage, held up by rope until the airplane wire gets strung up. So much to look forward to in welcoming some awesome talent (and wonderful old friends) into our world for this high-octane dose of Mamet. Yes, the excitement is soon to be kindled. But looking at this PANGS OF THE MESSIAH video below, it fills one with an elegaic sense of something living slipping into the past. A time of intensity has passed. We won’t have a play like Motti’s around again for quite some time. Kol ha-kavod to him. What a wonderful achievemet. And g’mar chatimah tova as Kol Nidre approaches Friday night.

I’ll be working the 9:30 pm showing of ACCIDENT on Saturday night. And P.S: My wife is back from Russia, safe and sound. Picked her up at Dulles at 5 today (alas missing our contribution to 365 Plays in 365 Days — the national Suzan Lori Parks marathon that played to less than a minyan yesterday on our 16th street steps). Picked up Sophie at the J after Hebrew tutoring and brought them home; then rushed to meet my students for a wonderful performance of Bruce Norris’ THE UNMENTIONABLES at Woolly Mammoth. A very good show. And the joint was sold out. Which made me envious. They’re doing extremely well. We’re fighting for audience. Was happy for everyone over there, and the great actors involved in the show, all of whom stayed late to talk to the class. Was a wonderful evening. But i’m still blue about our struggles; what we might call our “dwindling market share.” Which may or may not be an accurate assessment.

Here’s a little email exchange I shared with SPEED-THE-PLOW director, Jerry Whiddon. It’s all tongue in cheek, because Jerry’s a sly, subsversive, but ultimately hugely supportive theater fellow. So I think we share a kind of mordant view about this business.

————– Original message ————–
From: Arirothdc@aol.com
To: j-whiddon@….net
sent: 9/18/07 8:52:42 PM

…Oh, hey, by the way:  remember that great run of PANGS we had that made a little money?  Well, we gave it all away in the return engagement and are now in the process of losing almost as much on the solo run of Amy Ziff in our rented space over at Studio.  In short, we could use a hit for this season opener, okay?  No pressure. Just bring in $55K in single tickets, thanks.

No.

Just joking.

You can take it, right?  Sorta like your own “Don’t fuck it up.” [note: Jerry was famous, during his years as Round House Theatre artistic director, for going up to actors during their half-hour before an opening night performance and urging them, with a wink and sock on the arm, to not “fuck it up.” And he’s remembered affectionately for that.]

This theater business… Is exhausting, no?

Looking forward to watching you work

yours,

ari

In a message dated 9/20/07 6:38:37 PM, j-whiddon@comcast.net writes:

I love hearing “don’t fuck it up”…otherwise I’d be a very large hypocrite…

No pressure because i know there is no promise i won’t fuck it up…but plan on having fun in your house…

what else can we do…?