Monday, March 19, 2018

A Dream

More great pithy reviews:
  • C.A. Lejeune wrote of The Iceman Cometh, “It is longeth and it stinketh.”
  • Walter Kerr after the Broadway opening of I Am a Camera: “Me no Leica.”
  • Of a 1920s play whose author happened to be a vicar of Brockenhurst, the Daily Graphic’s critic wrote that it was “the best play ever written by a vicar of Brockenhurst.”
  • Brooks Atkinson on First Impressions, a 1959 musical version of Pride and Prejudice: “Farley Granger played Mr. Darcy with all the flexibility of a telegraph pole.”
  • Walter Kerr on Jay Robinson in Buy Me Blue Ribbons: “Mr. Robinson has delusions of adequacy.”
  • John Mason Brown on a 1937 production of Antony and Cleopatra: “Tallulah Bankhead barged down the Nile last night as Cleopatra and sank.”
  • Nathan on Maureen Stapleton’s opening in 1953’s The Emperor’s Clothes: “Miss Stapleton played the part as though she had not yet signed the contract with the producer.”
  • Dorothy Parker on a 1931 Empire Theatre production: “The only thing I didn’t like about The Barretts of Wimpole Street was the play.”
  • George S. Kaufman on Gertrude Lawrence in Skylark: “A bad play saved by a bad performance.”
  • A critic wrote that that Wilfrid Hyde-White had spent one West End performance “prowling round the stage looking for laughs with the single-mindedness of a tortoise on a lettuce-hunt.”
  • Max Beerbohm once had to greet a great Edwardian actress after watching her give a tedious performance. Thinking quickly, he said, “Darling! Good is not the word!”

Sunday was a gentle day. The emotional highlight of the day was watching The New York Cantors on PBS. It was a PBS “special” (i.e: excellent fundraising tool) filmed in the obviously cold Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam — you could see the breath of the cantors as they sang in a gloriously opulent setting.  
They were: Yaakov Lemmer, Head Cantor of the Lincoln Center Synagogue in New York City; Azi Schwartz, Senior Cantor of New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue; and Netanel Hershtik  Cantor at the Hamptons Synagogue, Westhampton Beach, New York. I found the show arresting; Azi Schwartz in particular.
What sucked were the interruptions for appeals for money. Donald Dump has cut back funding to PBS so the appeals are as frequent as they are bad. The speakers are always too keen, too repetitive and insultingly condescending. But I’d be lost without PBS. Thank God for the mute button.
I confess I don’t donate to PBS. However, I’m a dedicated monthly supporter of the Knowledge Network here in BC.
This morning I took Sheba to the empty lot on Wild Cherry. It’s a place I like to go where the view is spectacular but this morning it was what I heard, not what I saw, that impressed.
There’s an island with only a lighthouse on it off the coast of Gabriola, a fair ways north of me and this morning there was a remarkable cacophony of sounds coming from a  her of sea lions on it. It was a natural liturgical chorus.
It’s so rare and odd for me to remember a dream that for decades when I was growing up, I thought everyone who told me their dreams were lying. I never said so, but that’s what I thought. I remember four vivid dreams; the forth happened last night. I dreamt I was in a subway somewhere, but a subway with open seating like on a roller coaster.
In my dream, I was the only Caucasian on a “train” going to Harlem. But the train suddenly stops. A woman calls for me to push a green button that appears on the wall by my side, but before I do, the train starts going — but down, straight down, our seats safely swiveling as we descend like eggs in an assembly line.
I am nervous but nothing bad happens. Then the train stops again and a woman and I climb out as everyone else panics. They call out that we’re not at a station but before the woman and I can get back on, the train leaves. And then I woke up.
I’m thrilled to have had and remembered a dream. I’m certain it was set in New York because of the Cantor show I watched.
Yes, my life is so wonderfully, pleasantly dull that I write about a bland dream.

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