Thursday, March 17, 2011


Back from Beijing and caught a breezy three and a half hour production over at Emerson's Paramount Theater about drinking, brawling, random sex....THE CHARLIE SHEEN STORY??? No. Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." It was brought to us by ELEVATOR REPAIR SERVICE the same wonderful company that gave us last season's splendid GATZ, a verbatim performance of THE GREAT GATSBY read onstage over the course of six hours. But Hemingway is not Fitzgerald, and neither of them is Tolstoy. I never realized what an overblown, indulgently macho piece of work of work this is. But there's no disguising it onstage.

I must pause here to tell you that the cast is quite competent-- especially the delicious Lucy Taylor as the randy Lady Brett Ashley. The woman is divinely charming, impishly sexy, and almost made me forget how boring it all was. Just how much aimlessness can one book contain and how does one mobilize that inertia onstage?? They tried with various clever sound effects,music and dancing, tables standing in for fish and several unfortunate bulls... but really, the whole thing seemed so pointless...a pack of overripe adolescent, self-pitying fools, lead by an impotent narrator whose "privates" were lost in the war; his "emasculinity" sets the tone and the pace. By the time Lady Brett runs off with the little toreador, here played by a slightly-built actress in a pigtail, the suspenders snapped on my disbelief.

See THE SELECT (THE SUN ALSO RISES)if you must at The Paramount through March 20.

1 comment:

  1. If this were a new play, it would be fine for you to criticize the text and its "aimlessness." That is common practice. But, since this text happens to be, like it or not, one of probably a dozen books canonical in both academic and popular spheres, I don't think it's your place to find its flaws in a >250 word review. Not to imply that you've actually critically argued any flaws, but rather only stated the obvious with a flip of the wrist and a slew of dismissive language.

    I have no problem with your personal reaction to Hemingway and I'm assuming you have read this book before (maybe in college?), but I'll ask, why did it take someone reading it to you to finally have a personal reaction to it? And why does that have anything to do with ERS?