friday random ten, 1979 edition
what i watched last week

mr. marmalade

Tonight we went to see our friend Arthur in the play Mr. Marmalade. It’s his last play before he heads south to study acting at USC, so we didn’t want to miss it. As is often the case, he showed versatility, playing four different roles, and managing to suggest the differences in each, although I’m not sure the playwright gave him much to work with in that regard. But it is entirely possible I just missed the point … I found myself clueless about the intentions of the play, but on the ride home, Robin laid it down quite coherently, and I wondered why I hadn’t seen what she had seen, since her take was clearly on target. Mr. Marmalade is about a four-year-old girl with imaginary friends and a home life that sucks. The girl, like her five-year-old friend, is played by an adult, and I didn’t think either of them dove into their little-kidness they way Lily Tomlin or Gilda Radner, or even Paul Reubens, might. But Robin contended that the girl had a truly fucked-up life, that led to her very adult fantasies, and that there was no way a girl with that life would have acted like just another four-year-old. Makes sense to me, but even then, I don’t think the playwright pulled it off.

Still, it was intriguing, and the performances were as good as the material allowed. A couple of the actors were quite impressive, and Arthur was his usual fine self. It’s no surprise that he has been accepted into a top program in Los Angeles, and while I know there is lot of luck involved in the process, over the years that we have had the pleasure of watching him perform, it has become clear that he has the talent to succeed. We wish him luck, and are proud to have seen him and been exposed to everything from Shakespeare to Mr. Marmalade.