Saturday night I went to the high school play, Arthur Miller's 'Twelve Angry Men,' expecting to grimly sit through it, because by the weekend I'm in the mood for comedy, having had enough real-life drama during the week.
I try to go to every production, about four per year, to support the drama kids, and their wonderful teacher, who is a very busy local professional actor. He does a top-notch job involving them in all aspects of theater, far beyond what most high schools can offer.
This production featured three of my students, and a few others I knew, and much to my surprise, they pulled off a riveting performance from beginning to end, and I found myself loving it, despite my initial bad attitude. The main antagonist, one of my students, was totally convincing, and I was able to forget they were kids, forget I knew any of them. It was wonderful, and I was very proud of them.
Today I went up to San Francisco, to a fancy theater, and saw the last performance of a Tom Stoppard play, 'The Real Thing.'
The glossy playbill was full of page after page of benefactors, lists of those who had given over $100,000, those who had given a mere $25,000, and on and on. Much to my surprise, it was just awful. Boring, empty, pretentious. I didn't care about any of the characters and neither did any of the three friends I went with. It was so bad that by the second act I just sat back and took a nap.
I guess if I was asked which play should be named, 'The Real Thing,' I would have a difference of opinion with Mr. Stoppard.