Everything’s Better With Redheads

This time I got to the bus stop with one red light to spare, even though I left way earlier than usual. The drivers insist on getting here early, as though testing me. Then it did the 40-minute route to downtown in 25. Next, I only had to wait two minutes before the subway took off; I’m gonna be way early again. . .
And of course I was, despite more time in Radio Shack than I’d anticipated. Was greeted by Annabel–you don’t know her–right at the door, who helped me choose some cheap folding headphones, then led me to the counter, where we find that because of a printing glitch my $10 off coupon is not working. But since I still had the email, I took out my Kindle Fire and she plugged in the store’s wi-fi code. . . but then the email didn’t show up on the app, so she suggested I go through the web. . . and it worked! Got my $10 off, then got another $10 off coupon. That’s the most satisfying shopping experience I’ve had in a long time. . . I know, I know. . .
Always feel better after my Jamba Orange Dream Machine, or more likely during. And as many times as I’ve been in this elevator in Ackerman, and seen the sign, it never seemed funny until now. “Bridge to Kirckhoff Hall, this is the Captain. Mr. Hall, please respond.”

002
Just like it happened at the Daniela Ruah play last month, I was way early, even with the long walk up to the NE corner of UCLA. 003

Even though I spent countless days studying in the sculpture garden,010

I had never been past it into what must be the Theater, Movie, and Television Arts area. Found a theater, but it was wrong one, so I changed direction and walked past a group of loud kindergarteners apparently graduating. . . ah, there it is. Finding the place open, I ask about doors, where I find it would happen only ½ an hour before showtime instead of the usual hour. . . see, that’s why you ask.
And as I move back the way I came for a shady bench on which to have the first half of my Subway bacon and egg footlong–not a plug–there’s Molly Quinn striding into the theater. . . once again, timing is everything. Later, as I went to throw away the drippings into the trash, I almost bumped into Susan Sullivan, who did not look like she wanted to be bothered, so I didn’t.
Bored with sitting, I stroll around the area–like I said, I’d never been up here–and then watch as a clarinetist in a black strapless ballgown sets up to entertain the people waiting. As she got her reeds ready I asked her some basic clarinet questions–no Rhapsody in Blue or Mozart today. Only thing recognizable throughout her entire show was Somewhere over the Rainbow.

The Cast

The Cast

The Poster

The Poster

The scene

The scene

The clarinetist

The clarinetist

First here, almost last in, as usual; not as big a deal this time because seating was reserved. Still, people got seats wrong, so I had to stand up a lot. Finally took a look at the stage, finding only seats, stools, and old-timey microphones, making it obvious this is gonna be a radio play.

The stage

The stage

There’s a screen up there, as you can see in the photo, running commercials for their previous stuff, including apparently their whole collection for $1000 dollars instead of the normal $1500. One of the previous plays was Art, which readers of this blog might remember I saw earlier this year; one of the actors in this version was the incredibly Machiavellian Cyrus from Scandal.
First we get the media guy telling us about the taping and make sure all the cell phones are off–yeah, right–then the director came up to inform us this was the 75th year since the crux of the story, the Kinder Transport. Interestingly, the final paper for my history minor at UCLA was the different ways in which people escaped the Nazi regime; my favorite was the Danish fishermen, but that’s a story for another time. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’d ever heard of Schindler (besides Spielberg) before that movie came out. Anyhoo, this is just to say that I had heard about this story, but hadn’t read more than the basics; even though this is fiction, it personalized everything to a tremendous degree, with the repercussions that are bound to happen when kids leave their parents. This was especially important, since the director announced three of those Transport Kinder are here! Wow!
According to the program, the playwright has also written about Mata Hari; suddenly I wish she were here, as I have some interesting theories about that dancing lady. . .

Cast
Shannon Lee Clair–Eva
Jane Kaczmarek–Helga
Angela Paton–Lil
Susan Sullivan–Evelyn
Molly Quinn–Faith
Hugo Armstrong–Ratcatcher/other roles
Foley guy at stage left

As the play starts the main character seems to be Eva, and Shannon gives her a huge German accent; actually, she speaks quite a bit of German here, and sounds natural to my semi-experienced ear. Jane alzo. . . I mean, also with a heavy German accent, which is fun for me, having so many German friends and even an ex. Molly, on the other hand, has a delightful–almost subtle but definitely there–soft British accent. Angela, on the other hand, had a bit of a cliché lower-class British grandmother tone, not nearly as bad as Monty Python though perhaps owing a little bit to Benny Hill; still, it worked. Hugo did German as well as a number of British drawls, all very well. Did not detect any accent from Susan.
The first scene is between Evelyn and Faith takes place in the attic–we know that by the photo on the screen–where Faith is moving out to go to college; it reminded me a bit of Alexis doing the same with Castle, which was cute. Then Molly went into even more adorable range by singing “Runaway Train,” which I know I’ve heard Benny Hill do, though not as well. From there on it was too dark for me to write many notes, though I do remember a point where Eva is on the train heading for England and mentions the “Hook of Holland,” which made me laugh because I’ve taken that train route and she’s right, it looks nothing like that.
Not to toot my own horn–couldn’t reach anyway–but I figured out Eva was Evelyn long before the script expected me to. Yay me. . .
I know this is a little ridiculous, but having seen Molly only on Castle and Avalon High–definitely need to see Hansel and Gretel Get Baked–it was a bit jarring to hear her utter “Shit!”–twice!–as well as “Fucking!” But then I grinned and moved on.
At this point I should mention that, since it’s a radio play, what the actors wore didn’t matter, yet I think some of them did dress up. Susan didn’t seem to, even wearing heels, but Jane was all in black, in seemingly dowdy clothes, and Angela was draped in a housecoat that looked distinctly like something a woman her age would wear in England. Shannon was dressed cutesy in a short dress and stockings, but Molly was in jeans and a tight purple top. At one point I thought she looked hippie-ish with her multicolored belt and long blonde-looking hair, but more on that later.
So, I know four of the five actresses here, so leave it to the one I’d never seen–Shannon–to give such an overwhelming performance that left me breathless; really, everyone was fantastic, but she nailed this role–sometimes it seemed like it was dual roles, her German life contrasted to her British life, with corresponding accents–so amazingly I really can’t imagine anyone doing it better. It also occurs to me that the Foley guy must be having so much fun. . .
At halftime, after navigating the steps down to the restroom–can’t imagine how the wheelchairs get there–I stayed standing against the wall just outside the seating area, stretching a bit, only to notice an open door to the side, with an old lady on a cell phone and two guys who were probably crew smoking. Taking a peek outside like a curious gopher, I spot written on the wall next to me “George Burns Soundstage” in giant block letters. I look further, and indeed it looks like a studio backlot; once again I’m amazed that after all these years I still find new places at my alma mater (and not in the science area!) I hope Molly got a chance to explore. . .
As the second act begins I take more notice of the way the actors are seated when not standing at their mics. As I mentioned, there are stools between the seats and the microphones, short ones that seemed to swivel; at times the actors’ backs would be to the audience, while at others they would be facing to the side, all planned I’m sure. At one point Molly and Susan were facing each other, really close, and Molly grinned so delightfully. . .
A few funny lines: first of all, apparently Hitler smells! All Germans do, according to the male British character. I’ve actually heard that before; I had an Ethnic Studies teacher who’d been in WWII who’d said the same thing. Too bad for him I was dating a German girl at the time, and she smelled divinely. He retired soon after, thankfully. Another funny was when they were talking about the parting of the Red Sea and how the Egyptians drowned trying to follow the Jews: “They deserved it!”
Pretty sure Angela has been in every scene in the second half, switching between present day–though not really present day, more on that later–and back when Eva first came to England. I haven’t mentioned it before, but all of the actors were holding scripts, with Shannon the only one using a folder. It’s about at this point, when Molly’s character Faith forces her mom into hidden revelations, that we find out Helga–Jane’s character–survived the concentration camp and met with Eva–now Evelyn–after the war; not even her English mother knew about this. Having given up her parents for dead, resigned to making a new life, Evelyn–who insists that is now her name–won’t go with her birth mother to New York, and apparently never sees her again. In about fifteen minutes of heartbreaking disclosures, this was the toughest of all to watch. . .
At this point Molly’s character gets to tell Susan’s character some really terrible stuff, making me wonder if Molly gave her a hug after the first time they rehearsed it. There was just so much to take in–before a bit of a happy-ending finale–that the only way I can think of putting it is. . . shit got real. . .
Considering I always have trouble going into the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, I feel I did pretty well with this. . . but still. . .
Talked to the Foley guy after, I told him it must be so much fun and he definitely agreed, even if he didn’t get to break anything this time. Waited a while to talk to the cast; they were speaking to the special guests, the original German kids sent to England, and I wasn’t about to interrupt that. But when Molly was finally free, she passed close enough for me to ask if I could get a photo, and once again I’m stunned by my calm demeanor; I think I was even more composed than I was with Daniela, since I now had the previous experience of speaking to a favorite actress without getting rattled.

Cuteness overload

Cuteness overload

Molly is incredibly cute in person–though she is on stage or camera too, of course–and very nice. After the photo I told her how fun it was to watch her as something other than Alexis, then asked what kind of accent she was doing. She seemed to light up as she told me about the research she did, how the counterculture in the late 60s in England wanted to sound anti-posh, definitely not at all like their parents; to this point I hadn’t been aware the play took place in that era and not in modern times. . . though this did make wonder if that belt and her hair style were part of the same characterization. It looked like she enjoyed it when I realized it was all her and not in the script; I can only hope she was pleased to have all the work she put into it acknowledged. We talked about accents a bit more, which is an interest of mine, and though she seemed okay with it I could tell she wanted to go, so I shook the hand she offered and went away happy, my only regret being I forgot we were both lefties and shoulda shook that way.
After the longest walk through UCLA I’ve ever suffered through,

Men! {and pigeons!}

Men! {and pigeons!}

I Just missed the Sunset bus as usual, so on to Wilshire again, where after only a couple of minutes a regular turned the corner, thus guaranteeing me a seat, even if it would take longer to get to Vermont–the street, not the state–than the express; as it was we didn’t get passed by an express until we were almost there, so that’s okay. Unfortunately I was in a bit of a dead zone transportation-wise, with no way out of a long wait for one bus or the other after I was done with the subway, but no time to eat the second half of my Subway bacon and egg footlong either.
On the subway I saw conclusive proof that not all babies are cute, though I can’t imagine why anyone would pierce the ears of a three/four month old; that’s just wrong. Kid already has bags under eyes too. Is that enough evidence to call child services?
Got a little harassed by a painted-blonde deputy checking passes while looking so bored, in direct contrast to the last time, when the male cop had seemed friendly as a puppy. Looking over these photos you see here while on the light-rail, I played around with the buttons on the still-new camera, making sure once again I had it set to never use flash, since that’s against my photographic religion. Once I saw the symbol on the display area I couldn’t help but laugh as I named it flash/slash.

Not-so-super moon. . .

Not-so-super moon. . .

So. . . if I were to extrapolate the happenings of the past few months, hopefully the next checkmark on the actress bucket list is Katherine Heigl. . . hey, dare to dream!

;o)

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One thought on “Everything’s Better With Redheads

  1. Pingback: Top 15 outings of 2013 | LoganBruin--An Unauthorized Autobiography

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