Oh, what a night! Late December back in ’56 when four legends of rock and country music gathered at Sun Records to noodle around with each other at what was supposed to be a Carl Perkins recording session. The founder and kingmaker Sam Phillips had the good sense to just let the tape run, and he picked it up for posterity. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Million Dollar Quartet.
Some years ago, a book titled Fat is a Feminist Issue was published, and it caused quite a stir. The author contended that women gained weight intentionally so as not to be “seen”; that is, they grow layers of fat to hide behind so men won’t judge them on their looks, or worse, attack them physically because they lack the control to resist an attractive female. Shannon Geier’s play Fat, currently presented by her theatre company ‘because why not’ does treat avoirdupois as a woman’s issue all right, but not for the reasons given in the book. Rather, the subject is all about outer beauty and the quest for perfection according to society’s standards.
These days, a lot of theatre companies are advertising that their shows are “timely,” and sometimes that’s true, but never so true as it is of Arthur Miller’s often-underrated play, A View From the Bridge. It began as a one-act with A Memory of Two Mondays as the other half of the bill, but it didn’t work. A few years later, Peter Brook mounted it in a rewritten, expanded, less esoteric version in London where it found success. It has since been overshadowed by the better known Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, but what those plays try to accomplish, “View” actually does. It IS a “tragedy of a common man” (the title of an essay on his own “Salesman” by Miller) and it’s also a condemnation of false witness, ala the Salem allegory in “Crucible”