I have a complicated relationship with the theater, unless we're talking about a movie theater, in which case I love that theater, no complications whatsoever. I have seen some pretty awesome plays, and while I was at them, I was rapt and moved and totally engaged. But on the whole, and who can say why, a movie seems like an altogether more reliable bet. I know I have friends who are theater people who are reading this, so let me just concede: yes, this is probably an indication of my slouchy character, and yes, it's possibly intellectually and culturally lazy. Yes yes yes to any charge you'd care to make: I'm guilty. That doesn't mean I won't choose the movie over the play 99.9% of the time.
However: my college has a theater, and that theater puts on plays. We keep hearing good things. Our good friend is the director of the theater. When we had dinner with him and his wife a few months ago, he told us that the theater would be doing Death of a Salesman, and he'd be playing Willy Loman.
The historian put his foot down--not that he had to put it down very hard. We agreed, okay? that we would go to the play. Tonight was the night (note for those paying attention: Thursday = not a movie night).
In three acts, here are a few scenes from our evening:
Dinner. We're eating burgers--Boca for us, regular beef for running son:
The historian (to running son): So we're going to see Death of a Salesman tonight. Maybe you should come with us, because maybe it would confirm your feelings about selling.
Running Son: ...or maybe it would just confirm my feelings about plays.
The production is quite good. Our friend is superb. At intermission:
Me (turning to the historian): This is a great play, one. Two, everyone is really good. Three: it's so depressing.
After the play. We're walking the dog:
The historian: I can't wait till tomorrow when I see [our friend] so I can tell him how good we thought the production was, and how good he was.
Me: He was really wonderful, wasn't he?
The historian: Really good. I'm going to buy a copy of the play and read it.
[we reflect on the overall excellence of the theatrical experience. Bruiser moseys. We follow his lead.]
The historian: So--tomorrow we're going to see that one movie, what's it called?
Me (reading his mind): Admissions? Or something like that. [we both pause, and think of Tina Fey, God bless her.]
The historian: Right--it's supposed to be funny, isn't it?
Me: We can only hope.
In conclusion: the play was excellent. It's a masterpiece, and the production is entirely worthy. It's open for two more nights, and if you can make it, you should go. Aaaand tomorrow night, we'll be at the (hopefully funny) movies.