Boeing-Boeing - Blithering, Blathering, Brainless, Banal and…Wednesday, January 30, 2013
.4 laughter, laughing, hilarity 870.5, risibility; laugh; boff or boffola or yuck [all slang]; titter; giggle; chuckle, chortle; cackle, crow; snicker, snigger, snort; ha-ha, hew-haw, hee-hee, ho-ho, tee-hee, yuk-yuk; guffaw, horselaugh; hearty laugh, belly laugh [slang], Homeric laughter, cachinnation: shout, shriek, shout of laughter, burst or burst of laughter, peal or roar of laughter, gales of laughter, fit of laughter, convulsion, “laughter holding both his sides” [Milton]
Roget’s International Thesaurus, Fourth Edition, 1977
Rosemary and I attended the opening performance of Marc Camoletti’s (translated by Beverley Cross & Francis Evans) Boeing-Boeing at the Art Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on Wednesday.
I can report here that I learned nothing and was not inspired. The play did not challenge me as good art should. In short the play only made me (and Rosemary who rarely does that) laugh and laugh.
The purpose of a Greek play is to bring the audience to catharsis. Boeing-Boeing brought me a catharsis of hilarity in a week of depressing melancholy, gloom and humidity.
Boeing-Boeing succeeds then an all counts as it entertains and lightens life’s load if only for a couple of hours.
There is more to Boeing-Boeing if like me you are over a certain age. I am 70 and I remember (too stupid to realize that there were two reasons not, one) that there was one very good reason to fly TWA. It meant that if you were lucky (and lucky I was) you would fly in the world’s most beautiful airliner, the Lockheed Super Constellation. Since I was in my late teens, I was too stupid to notice that TWA airliners also had beautiful stewardesses elegantly dressed in crisp and starched uniforms that tended to cover (and thus reveal in some strange sort of way) that these stewardesses had superstructures that rivaled Lockheeds in quality and elegance.
As I grew older I understood the ancillary perks of air travel. When I had to fly from Mexico City to Buenos Aires, I made sure that I flew Varig. By then late teens I knew that Varig had the reputation for the most exotically beautiful stewardesses.
Boeing-Boeing in 2013 is pure nostalgia for a better world before Air Canada flight attendants carried snapshots of their grandchildren in their flight bags.
Boeing-Boeing in 2013 should make those younger than I am feel guilty and rage over the obvious lothario, Bernard, so wonderfully played by the tripping Jonathan Young. I must point out here that I recently sold (for very good money) every picture I ever took of Young to an admirer, Oksana, in Belarus. As we would have said back in the 60s Young has SA (not Scandinavian Airlines but Sex Appeal) in spades.
For someone for nostalgia for the golden age of air travel, the three stewardesses, Moya O’Connell (Gabriella from Alitalia), Kimberley Sustad (Gloria, TWA) and Colleen Wheeler (Gretchen, Lufthansa) provided me with plenty of curves that mimicked that lovely Super Constellation. From my seat on stage right I saw lots of leg and more. And this did not count the over-the top fake accents (German, Italian, American). Andrew McNee (I am still in confusion on why he stopped using glasses part way through the play) was perfect as the naïve American from the Midwest. But the only actor (actress in the parlance of my own times) who was able to out-compete Colleen Wheeler’s stewardess/dominatrix from hell was Nicola Lipman as Berthe, Bernard’s French housekeeper. She played a droll but dry almost benign Lotte Lenya as a Rosa Klebb minus the retracting shoe daggers.
Director David Mackay expertly directed the strategically important opening and closing of doors with nary a squeak and many satisfying slams.
Rosemary and I left the Stanley satisfied with the assurance that Reader’s Digest indeed had hit it on the head when they told us that laugher is the best medicine.
Addendum: In October 1995, two photographer friends of mine and me having lunch at Subbeez on Homer spotted a lovely freckled read-haired server. I had an idea and I asked her if she would pose for the three of us separately. She did.
During my various photo sessions with her she told me she had the ambition of being an actor. Later on I saw her on Bard on the Beach and just a few years ago she had a rave review in the NY Times for one of her performances at Stratford in Ontario. I am happy to report that Moya O’Connell plays an Italian as well as Lollobrigida; they have a few things in common that no airline uniform could possibly hide. She will be continuously employed as an actor and she will never, ever, get a job for Air Canada.