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The (T.V.) Guide Of Casting

Betty

It’s late July and the first whispers of Broadway’s 2013-2014 season can be heard. Unlike a sighting of back-to-school displays, this prematurity is welcome. Even if one loves the summer and is ensconced in a villa or beach hideaway, paradise can get a bit tedious. And if you’re of the school that there is never enough sand, seafood and sangria it’s nice to think of how you will assuage yourself once the leaves turn. And let’s face it, anticipation is more than half the fun.

If you’re a lover of (what I call) main stage Broadway and swoon at all things Llyod Weber, there’s almost always something to look forward. It’s also almost a sure bet that revival lovers will be happy. But what’s more of a gamble, and therefore a bit exciting, is news of new works, fabulous directors or stellar stage performers. Both camps of theatregoers; main stage and not-so-main stage often experience FOMO (fear of missing out) in extreme form. The line for the cronut is nothing compared to the virtual line for an “insert celebrity name here” show, jukebox musical, or made from TV, or film show. Nothing creates buzz like buzz, and most main stage shows have a marketing machine to beat the band. A quieter, no more attractive frenzy occurs over the not-so-main stage offerings as well. The bragging rights are comparable as well. In brownstones, penthouses and rent control classic sixes, you can hear any of the following; “Cumming’s Macbeth? We saw it before it went to Broadway. Of course Patti was great in Gypsy, but the Encores! production was quite different. You wanna see flying? You MUST see Peter and the Starcatcher.” (Somewhere in apartments we couldn’t afford or dare to enter there are similar conversations of theatre so obscure & avant-garde that knowing their titles is as good as seeing them.)

John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Defiance), James Lapine (Sunday In The Park With George, Into The Woods), Doug Hughes (Inherit The Wind, Mauritius, A Man For All Seasons) will be collaborating in various configurations at The Manhattan Theatre Club. These names are guaranteed to perk the imagination of any theatre lover. The Manhattan Theatre Club often achieves a delicate balance of risk and sure thing. They produce new work and attract stellar performers. The new work is often very good and the performers are often well cast. (Hardly minor points!) It’s not surprising then that the casting for Mr. Shanley’s new play evoked in me a Scooby-Doo type response. The new work will star Brian O’Byrne (Doubt, Defiance, The Beauty Queen of Leenane) and Debra Messing (television star). Now there are plenty of accomplished stage actors who found fame in sitcoms, but (according to her resume) Ms. Messing doesn’t seem to be one of them. Acting on camera is an entirely different endeavor than acting on stage. (You can test this at home by pulling up the one live show of Will & Grace. While it is still edited it is raw enough to discern where each actor’s comfort zone lies.) This is not to suggest that people can’t surprise us in the most delightful way. I love nothing more than hearing the voice in my head shout; “Crikey, would you look at that! He/she is GOOD!” And (for the right price) I’m willing to give any performer (within reason) the benefit of the doubt. But this casting does have me wondering.

I would love to be a fly (or a less disgusting insect) on the wall during the creative meetings. I’d also love to eavesdrop on the editorial meetings in which celebrity opinion pieces are chosen over journalism. What can I say; I love to witness verbal jousting! I’m absolutely certain (she says while adjusting her rose colored glasses) that at least one person pipes up in these meetings; “Do we really need to go the celebrity route?” before being pelted with cronuts.

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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in Media/Marketing

 

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For Mature Audiences Only

I overheard someone categorize pornography as a form of adultery. You are forgiven if you are having a Scooby Doo “HUH?” moment right now. I’ll talk you through this. Looking at something is infidelity. It’s not cheating on your other books, magazines, websites or films; no, it’s cheating on your partner. With your eyes. Now I’ve seen some sexy eyes in my time, hell I’ve even heard of eye f*&$ing, but come on! We humans are blessed with limited parts in which we receive sexual activities; eyes ain’t one of them. That I know of. Not that there’d be anything wrong with that.

Why do people get so rankled by pornography? Clearly nobody is a fan of the actual business of pornography. Even if participants are consenting adults who are fulfilling their performance dreams, the work environment is not entirely wholesome. (Please note that the use of “participant” is intentional and meant to reinforce the fact that we can’t all be “stars”.) But for most people it’s the viewing of the pornography, rather than the making that really sticks in their craw. And while access to porn has changed the craw sticking is not new. I’ve no doubt some cavewoman came home from sitting through yet another of her children’s organized rock throwing matches to find her husband staring at those disgusting carvings in the bat infested back corner of the cave, and threw the kids’ practice bag at him.

By giving him a serious head injury, she was in fact simply saying; “what about me?” Had she had words to use she might have expanded the thought a bit to; “Why would you want to look at those carved stick figures instead of me? You don’t think there are woman that actually look like that do you” “How could you spend time doing that when you have an actual life going on without you?” “Pay attention to me!”

Of course pornography is not reserved for men only. Women as a rule prefer stories, or as they are more commonly known; soap operas, romance novels, and chick flicks. The visuals (soaps, films) are steeped in fantasy (mostly of the incredible coincidence kind) and the texts (novels) are filled with throbbing, burning, and pressure (not the “see a doctor” kind.) Traditional women’s porn is about sustained mental escapism more than it is about quick and perfunctory physical escapism. Their porn paints absurdly unrealistic physical portraits of men and characterizations that are simply cartoonish. But reading porn, even S&M porn isn’t considered a threat to a relationship.

The most simple conclusion in this heterosexual tale of suspense is that men are not threatened by what they know is fantasy. Could it be that women’s discomfort with pornography stems from their own combustible body issues? Do women spend all day, everyday comparing themselves to real and/or imagined others and then are sent completely ’round the bed by their husband’s response over augmented physical perfection? Are women simply uncomfortable with sexual feelings being separate from emotional connection?

For a woman troubled by her man’s viewing I offer some tips:

  • If it’s repugnant to you, insist the behavior remains private (have him clear his viewing history, or keep magazines in a drawer)
  • If you’d prefer he was playing copy-machine repairman and secretary with you; say so
  • If your sex life is suffering, say so
  • If porn has become a priority (he misses family events, doesn’t come to bed, racks up charges) say something
  • If his behavior is not impacting your life, but simply making you feel bad, don’t run from that feeling. Try taking it apart a bit. Try to determine why you’re rankled and then have a (potentially interesting) conversation with him. Not while he’s looking at porn

 

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Cultural Critique, Media/Marketing

 

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