Monday, March 15, 2010


It has been raining. Like a hurricane. A typhoon. Like the gods are angry--for the last 5 days. Basements all over Boston are flooded, roofs are leaking, power is out, trees are down, my boots are leaking, my hair is frizzy, there's been thunder and lightning, sleet, hail, and snow. Today the center of our town turned into a small lake. So traffic was detoured, and the police picked up where the signal lights left off. Talk about Armaggedon.

No matter--I had places to go and theater to see. Friday night it was OTHELLO which felt like a one-dimensional exercise with a set resembling moveable wedges of cheese. Here once again our eponymous hero and his nemesis were the undoing of fair Desdemona, though in ironic contrast to Shakespeare's plot, the actresses buried the actors.

On Sunday en route to a matinee, an elderly man walking down the street behind me was blown over when his umbrella turned into a sail and took him down like a twig. A few of us scurried over to assist, then headed indoors to the theater where a new disaster awaited us: ADDING MACHINE --which didn't add up. It's a musical so unpleasant, uninspiring, and unmusical that I couldn't wait to go back outside.

The soggy weekend on the boards threw me back to a movie I had missed: the Coen brothers' A SERIOUS MAN. It's the story of Job--from Minnesota. Every awful thing that can happen to poor Larry Gopnick does. His marriage, his job, his kids, are all verblunget and God in the form of various rabbis seems to be having a little too much fun at his expense. And Larry? He takes it like a schnook. Like some pawn in a casual bet between god and the devil. Is he cursed? Does it matter what moral choices he makes? "What's going on?" he asks when the kids appear to be on drugs. It's the question on everyone's lips, and no one seems to have the answer--until the ending when God--or the filmmakers, with a cyclone on the horizon yet- show us emphatically that not only is there no place like home--there is no home in this place. It's an ending only a biblical scholar could love--and me.

It's still raining. Snow tonight.

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