Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thoughts on End of Act Zingers.

During my trip to New York last week, I had the pleasure of seeing August: Osage County. Loved it. Even from the second to last row of the rear mezzanine with no legroom I loved it. It's the kind of play you think they don't make anymore and I found it very pleasing for that reason. (I do very much like the kind of plays they make a lot of, too.) ACT, you should totally do it.

One particularly pleasing element of August is the end of Act 2 (it's a 3 act play. I love that structure. Most plays in New York seem to be either 75 minutes or 3 1/2 hours). The shit really begins to hit the fan, the action rises to a pleasing boil all the way to a wonderful priceless emotionally satisfying and exhilarating line. I will not tell you what the line is because you should see it. If you've seen it, well then you know what the line is. Yeah, I liked it.

The moment is making me think of other moments while seeing a play that had that same "wow" effect on me at the end of an act or play where you just feel supercharged and wired.

A few other awesome end of act moments that spring to mind
  • The end of Angels in America, part I. (sort of an intermission moment) I saw the Mark Wing Davey production at ACT way back when and I remember leaving the theater reeling. Probably helped that I was coming out at the time.
  • The ends of Act I & II of The Skin of Our Teeth - Well, I'm always partial to impending apocalypses at ends of acts.
  • The end of Act I of the The Visit - This is a favorite of my Dad's too. OK, so i love this because I directed this Durrenmatt play in high school. Sometimes, I wonder if my fascination with this play is telling of my general aesthetic in writing but then sometimes I think that maybe Monty Python's Holy Grail has more to do with it. Anyhoo, wealthy Claire has returned to her impoverished hometown and offers the town an enormous sum of money if they kill her former lover. It's the end of act 1 (I think) where she makes the proposal and everyone of course refuses and is offended. Claire (played by Celia Day in the Marin Academy production in 1991) take a moment and says "I'll wait." ZING! CUE BLACKOUT! MUSIC! WOAH! I think y'all know how that play ends. Germans don't like to flatter the human race all that much.
Any others that come to mind?

Also, am i the only one who's sick of all the fucking Atonement ads?


Anonymous John said...

End of Act I, Hunter Gatherers!

12:22 PM  

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