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Archive for the ‘theatre’ Category

SCENE.—A street along the hub of the commercial centre of London, closed off space by the Met police more in the vicinity of the Harrods. Lights pick out the line- Scene of crime-Do Not Enter. A posse of police men are at work and a constable officiously noting their findings while another is on his phone reporting to his superiors. To the right there is a kiosk with posters of Salome and the man on the moon a caricature of the author himself. There are stray stragglers who have nothing in their mind but to gawk. And an old cistern surrounded by a wall of green bronze. Moonlight.

One in shadows between munching a sandwich to a passerby
“You are lucky, the blast nearly shattered the Harrods.

The man stops and says, “You are lucky yourself there.’ And strides off
The man with the sandwich wiping his hand, mutters “Yes luck enough to finish my salami”.
Another one who comes along. The man who had a sandwich recognizes him to say,”Lucky dog! You got back in one piece!Bozo”
They hug with friendly affection, “You ought to be at home and not walk among dead things.”
The first man: I saw the Syrian and (pointing to the cistern) he came from there.
The second,”Lucky you did not try nicking him. Suppose your light fingers pulled the belt instead?”
The first man jerks violently. “My head is all scrambled and I see none but Salomé before me.”
Bozo hurriedly walks off and the man left alone:

THE YOUNG SYRIAN
How beautiful is the Princess Salomé to-night!

(A Pause)

Look at the moon! How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. You would fancy she was looking for dead things.

A Police man suddenly comes towards him

THE LAW
Hey There! Keep your hand out.
(The policeman suspiciously approaches him and frisks him.

OK Beat it!

THE YOUNG SYRIAN

I know who you are. The page of Herodias.

THE LAW (nervously)
Sleep it off. (exit)

THE YOUNG SYRIAN

She has a strange look. She is like a little princess who wears a yellow veil, and whose feet are of silver. She is like a princess who has little white doves for feet. You would fancy she was dancing….

THE AUTHOR
Is it because of salami sandwich or the suicide bomber is not for me to explain. But London is not what she was once. (Brexit)
Benny

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Tallulah Bankhead arrived NY the teenage winner of a movie magazine beauty contest. By accident her chaperone registered at the Hotel Algonquin, allowing her vivid personality to be discovered by famous folk of the Round Table. She is more noted for wit than her acting. On the advice of an astrologer she tried London where fame embraced her.

(Ack: The Theatrical 20’s Allen Churchill-McGraw Hill)

John Barrymore was in his generation considered the finest American actor who from light comedy roles could capture the New York theatre goers with his rendition of Hamlet. As a young man he had dreamed of being a newspaper cartoonist, sketch artist or caricaturist. He even did a stint as an artist for Manhattan newspapers. But his family name and striking good looks made it easier to make a transition to the matinee idol. His comic roles elicited from Alexander Woollcott this comment: ‘ This apparently raffish clown has genius.’

He had besides his robust colourful vocabulary, voice control that could shape every syllable, sending chills up the spines of his audience, among whom Churchill lapped up his soliloquies as coming from Bard himself. Richard III(1920),Hamlet(22-23) were sensational. His Hamlet proved he had delved deep into the writing of Freud who was then vogue. His was a cerebral performance with overtones of neuroses. He has been called the Hamlet of the Century.’ Since then great many actors have emoted on the stage and I can recall John Gielgud, Olivier, Burton all in the role of the brooding Dane. In my mind’s eye I still hold Barrymore as epitome of Hamlet. I haven’t seen him but from what little seen of his acting (Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Richard III-YouTube, The Grand Hotel, Trilby and a few) I know I am right.

Elsewhere I have posted anecdotes about the Great Profile so I merely sketch a thumbnail sketch.

benny

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