Tea at 5 Jan 1, 2008 23:33:32 GMT -5
Post by Judy on Jan 1, 2008 23:33:32 GMT -5
martha said:alright then. i certainly respect the intensity of your reactions, judy. i somehow didn't come out with these same reactions ... and its terrible that mulgrew' s performance deteriorated in the way that you describe.
i guess i didn't feel that the script of this play was "dime store psychology" .. i heard katharine (in the play) telling stories that katharine herself writes about in her own memoirs... how they were linked together in the theatregoer's mind .. how they seemed to resonate ... might have had some independent effect for you. i don't know .. i was watching the performance from some remove .. each of these performers. i didn't expect them to capture the magic of kate hepburn .. just to allude to the stories.
and that i thought was achieved. i didn't hear any of the kate character say "and that's why i ..." ..
but there we are.
the best theatre i've ever seen? oh my gosh, no. an introduction that is remarkably absent mis-information for such theatrical creations? yes. this worked for me. but not a role for a novice.
Just remembered a couple of the most infuriating “facts” in the play.
As I recall, Lombardo has Kate saying that John being born deaf was caused by Spencer Tracy having had gonorrhea. Lombardo clearly took this from that other font of bile and misinformation, Barbara Leaming, who wrote that Tracy told Orson Welles that he’d had gonorrhea. Aside from the highly unlikely fact that he would have told this to someone he did not know, like Welles, there’s the fact that at the time of this claim by Leaming, Tracy’s daughter refuted it and a friend wrote to the NIH and simply asked them: did gonorrhea in a parent cause birth defects? She was told that it did not and that this was known at the time in the 20’s, so that if he did indeed have it, he would have known that it did not contribute to John’s deafness.
But that’s really mute, since there is no proof. Only a claim from Leaming that Welles was told this by Tracy. Welles, of course, was dead by the time Leaming’s book was published and proof went poof.
But what did that matter to Lombardo? It made for good copy, so he took it and actually had the balls to have “Kate Hepburn” turn to an audience and say blithely that Spencer Tracy had gonorrhea.
The mind boggles.
The other mind-numbing presumptuous account I remember was the moment during the play where the audience is left with a sort of cryptic impression that at one point she had been pregnant by Tracy and aborted the pregnancy. That’s similar to the lie in The Aviator that has Hughes rescuing intimate photos of them. It feeds a prurient interest that to my way of thinking does them a complete disservice. He should have his dramatic license revoked!
I’m sure if I had the play I could go on and on. But I think I’ve made my point. So, clearly, we disagree on Tea at Five.
It’s not that all of the stories were fabrications. Clearly she wrote about many of them. It’s how they were interpreted by Lombardo, how his lack of talent as a dramatist sucked the life out of them and how he just made up the rest – and managed turn her into a humorless, colorless person - which she most definitely was not - in the process.
I'll be the first to admit that I could not watch this play with any sort of distance - or remove, as you say. But being close to the subject doesn't mean that one loses the ability to judge it fairly as a work of drama or make criticism of it any less valid.
So...I'll stop boring everyone with this now.
On to happier thoughts.....Oh, David...your sock's burning....