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a transformative experience
23 February 2010
I've spent 40 years teaching theatre in colleges and universities and I'm teaching The Glass Menagerie tomorrow. This production is still as vivid to me as it was the night I saw it as a college senior in 1966. I had very little interest in plays before watching this--and if one experience can be said to transform a person this did...Pat Hingle's performance was so real and remarkable--all of the confused, sad and empty sincerity of the high school hero who has found how far short life can fall from its promise...I've seen numerous performances of this play since and worked on several of them--but never been as touched, or as changed as by this one.
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The Sky Is Gray (1980 TV Movie)
An outstanding film
27 October 2008
This is actually an excellent film version of a great short story by Ernest Gaines. The performance by Olivia Cole is quite remarkable--and it does give a very complex and layered view of race in the South during World War II. It is true that nothing blows up and Adam Sandler is not in it. But it is wonderfully written by a great African American playwright, Charles Fuller, and it has a very good small performance by Cleavon Little...before Blazing Saddles. Unfortunately there are too few films that deal with the life of African Americans in any kind of serious way, and this one presents real characters whose lives are difficult and complicated by race and poverty, but who maintain their integrity. It also gets away from the all too familiar plot lines that dominate so many films that deal with race in the South in this period, and instead just lets the characters speak for themselves-- rather than as political constructs.
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