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.



You guys are, as always, the best. It's been three years of acting in the Bay Area now and the idea that you have supported all the shows I've done over that time, it amazes me and reminds me just how lucky I've been to have such caring friends. I'm excited to go down to LA and discover a new city, a new acting environment, but the Bay Area has been absolutely wonderful to me and it's because of the friends I have here, the ones who helped me steel my resolve to attempt to pursue this oftentimes ludicrous career. Thank you so much. At the same time, it's not as if this is some kind of End, just a change of scenery.

As for the show, yeah, we as a cast all had some troubles finding the guiding force behind it. Frankly I don't think Haidle put a whole lot of thought into the idea of consistency between the dialogue and the age of the characters. We definitely had some discussions about what a child learns from TV (since we assumed Lucy watched a lot of it, given how she's left alone most of the time) and how that's appropriated into her imaginary life. I think it's a show that kind of apes at complexity with clever little flourishes but never really goes out of its way to convey a message. I think Haidle thought it would be funny to put this little girl in very adult situations and play with how a child might deal with them, but most of the time the characters, no matter what their age, deal with the situations how adults probably would, so, yeah, I'd agree he didn't really pull it off. I also think it's one of those situations where the playwright might have been better off just not trying to convey a deeper meaning at all and just made the whole thing a machine-gun-gag kind of show, the way "Mrs. Bob Crachit" was. Not to say that was the most brilliant thing, but it had a clear, albeit shallow, purpose. At the same time I think there are some genuinely funny moments in the play and it's a nice short show too.

Again, thank you so much, it was great to see you out there and after the show and I hope to come back to the Bay Area trained and prepared to take on more challenges onstage. I'll of course have fancy new headshots by then.

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