Saturday, January 14, 2012


What a great night. We met Wally and Maria for an early dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street from the Apollo Theatre. After dinner they hiked over to another theater to see Shrek (the musical).

Very high praise. As I shot this photo, a young man waiting in line for a Saturday matinee ticket said "Just 19 hours to go!" 

Unless I misunderstand, this review puts Rylance above Olivier.

Indisputable greatness. Damn! I'm glad Robin paid for the breakfast at Harry's Roadhouse.

Hymn to eccentricity. I was just getting ready to say that.

I'm trying to convince myself I actually saw this guy play Olivia in Twelfth Night. And believed it.

Interesting thing about that performance of Twelfth Night at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater): before the play started, the  actors brought dressing tables and mirrors onto the stage, then dressed and put on makeup onstage. And I still believed he was Olivia.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t seen a great number of stage performances, Mark Rylance’s performance as Rooster in Jerusalem was the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

Great writing certainly helped, but this guy was literally covered in sweat (real) and blood (fake) by the end of the play. Either he was totally exhausted at the end of the play, or he’s even better than I thought. 

The set is a forested area of the country, with Rooster’s dilapidated Airstream trailer taking up most of the stage. Wild parties with drugs and alcohol happen there every night with his posse of both young and older friends. Rooster is a rascal without any redeeming qualities other than being an outrageously shameless storyteller. 

At one point a friend confronts Rooster about his story that he once met a 90-foot Giant who claimed to have built Stonehenge. 

“You met a 90-foot giant who built Stonehenge?” 
“Yes, he said the weather was going to be dry all Spring, but he was full of crap, it rained like Hell all Spring. He said he built Stonehenge, but he could’ve lied about that.”

A three hour play with two intermissions, it was a memorable evening to say the least. I suspect I’m going to have a very hard time getting Rooster out of my head. Such as the opening scene when Rooster stumbles out of his Airstream trailer, totally hung over, turns on heavy rock music, stumbles and dances over to a metal water trough, puts a hand on each side and does a hand stand with his head under water (ice water) to sober up. Then he dances/stumbles over to a blender, pours in a container of milk, an egg, some sort of clear liquid from a vodka or gin bottle, adds some kind of powder, then chugs the entire concoction in several gulps. Holy crap. This is the first two minutes.

When Wally and Maria saw the performance on New Year’s Eve, Rylance ended the curtain call by leading the audience in singing Auld Lang Syne.

At the end of last night’s curtain calls, Rylance gave a very nice acknowledgment to the young boy that played his son, praising his emotional intensity “that is golden to fellow actors.”

A prince of a guy. 

The Apollo Theatre was built in 1901.