Good People - Virtuoso Acting & LaughsThursday, March 31, 2016
Back in that ancient century that was the 20th I worked with writers that worked for the NY Times, Time, the Globe & Mail, Vanity Fair plus local publications like the Georgia Straight and the Vancouver Sun. This meant that these writers and I had access.
Access is something that is now mostly denied in the 21st century. The likes of Martin Scorsese, Liv Ullmann, Werner Herzog, Audrey Hepburn (now dead) as well as Rod Steiger (with whom had lunch and white wine I his hotel room) and writers like William F. Buckley and P.D. James (both dead,too) are opportunities I will never have again. That these opportunities were also well paid was a most pleasant bonus.
It was in one of them were writer John Lekich and I were in the presence of a character actor Wilford Brimley (still alive!) that we were charmed by a long conversation on acting.
If I were to pick five films that have astounding almost unbelievable
acting I would pick Christopher Cain’s 1984 Stone Boy starring Robert Duvall,
Glenn Close and Wilford Brimley. Most of the action happens in a small kitchen.
It is virtuoso acting.
Brimley told us that he particularly admired the seemingly (he stressed the unviability of that word) effortless acting of Spencer Tracy. In Brimley’s opinion the actor who most resembled and resembles Tracy is Robert Duvall.
We were both charmed by this and by several anecdotes Brimley told us about Duvall.
Last week I was looking forward to the Arts Club Theatre production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s play Good People directed by Rachel Ditor and starring Colleen Wheeler and Scott Bellis (plus the excellent contribution by Patti Allan, Ben Elliot, Jen Griffin and Sereana Malani).
For me there are two types of acting. There is the understated Tracy and Duvall and there is the over-the-top strong acting of such actors as Laurence Olivier and Glenn Close. Sometimes while I am happy seeing the likes of Tracy and Duvall I want to watch the fireworks of Olivier and Close acting. I want to watch good actors acting (and why not? Not singing!).
Before going to see Good People I new was into a very good play and that it would shine because of the strong acting of Colleen Wheeler who has played various English queens and Lady Macbeth. And this would contrast ever so nicely with the more understated acting of ScottBellis. And it did shine.
My wife and I got all that but we did not bargain with a couple of other worthwhile additions. One is that Good People is a fine comedy with a climactic ending that took me by surprise.
And best of all both Wheeler and Bellis somewhere towards the end became their opposites. Bellis loudly loses his temper and Wheeler becomes a fragile, feminine woman whose only tragic flaw is her allegiance to bad luck.
A day before the opening, one of the principal actors gave me access to a quick photo opportunity in which in 3 separate but sequential photographs I reveal a small part of the plot.
At this point I must state that this is my last review/commentary/musing on an Arts Club Theatre Play. My relationship with the company began so many years ago here. Recent enforcement by the marketing/publicity department of the company makes it all but impossible for me to photograph actors and directors. My photographs make my blog independent of the now conventional media in decline. I must also point out that my Blogger statistics reveal (I would take it with a grain of salt) that my daily blog (since January 2006) has a monthly total views that exceed 300,000.