Archive for Austin Pendleton
Art Stars, Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags Austin Pendleton, David Mamet, Not My President, Penny Arcade, Tammy Faye Starlite, The Anarchist, theatre, WOW Cafe on February 16, 2017 by travsd
Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags Austin Pendleton, Penny Arcade, Tammy Fay Starlite, The Anarchist, theatre, WOW Cafe on February 4, 2017 by travsd
Art Stars, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Hollywood (History), Indie Theatre, ME, PLUGS with tags Arthur Kopit, Austin Pendleton, Barbara Maier, Charles Busch, Edward Albee, Jules Feiffer, Tammy Faye Starlight on December 3, 2009 by travsd
I almost had – of all things – an Austin Pendleton double header a few days back. First, there was a benefit for my fellow Villager scribe Jerry Tallmer at the Players Club on Nov. 23rd. Tallmer is an unjustly neglected institution – the main theatre critic for the Village Voice during the salad days of off-off-Broadway (a term he has reputed to have coined). Pendleton M.C.’d the event. Furthermore, the event featured Edward Albee, Charles Busch and Jules Feiffer, all of whom I’ve met and at least vaguely know my work. A TRULY indefatigable theatre impresario would have gone and plugged Kitsch (and supported Mr. Tallmer)…but I was too pooped to pop.
The next night, however I DID see Mr. Pendleton, and unlike me, he is indefatigable. He always seems to be everywhere. Like most people, I’d initially only known him as a funny Hollywood character actor in films like What’s Up Doc? and Catch 22. That impression changed drastically when I saw him in the title role in Philoctetes about 20 years ago. Since then I notice his name constantly, usually as director (he very recently did the revival of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre at the Pearl). On Nov. 24th, at the invitation of my new friend Barbara Maier (voice coach to the Art Stars), I attended Mr. Pendleton’s interpretation of Arthur Kopit’s little known one-act Chamber Music.
I’m a fan of Indians and Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, but Chamber Music doesn’t rank with these. It’s a sort of cross between No Exit, King of Hearts and a special, all-female edition of Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds. A bunch of female inmates of an insane asylum (each of whom thinks she is a different Great Woman from History) sit and bicker amongst themselves for about 45 minutes, until, inevitably, one of them (ironically the one who actually MIGHT be the person she says she is – the actual Amelia Earheart) is sacrificially murdered.
The acting in the piece ranged from highly capable to not-so. I was relieved when, about a half hour into the piece, my friend Barbara, heretofore mute as Queen Isabella of Spain, suddenly burst into a lengthy monologue and became integral to the proceedings. It felt a little like Lucky’s speech in Godot, wonderfully unexpected, and Barbara did it justice. To date, she’s only been a pen pal (and we’ve seen each others’ shows). Next step is to actually meet her! Other standouts in the cast? H’m, well, there’s an earnest and lovely young sylph of an actress by the name of “Tammy Lang” who looks suspiciously like Tammy Faye Starlight, playing silent movie star Pearl White. And yet…Tammy Faye Starlight?! Naw! It couldn’t be!