My wife and I went to the Wilkerson Theater last night for the premier of “Talk Radio“. I had been to the Three Penny at the same venue, and Wilkerson is similar; a little bigger but still quite small (maybe 30 seats). I think every seat is within 10 feet of the stage. Which I happen to like. I think it adds to the dramatic experience. Anyway here are my comments and notes.
In a previous post I said I looked at three dimensions of a play:
3) actors acting
But the really big question that drives any play is what story is being told? The three dimensions I’m using need to support the story, carry it forward. For me, it’s important to understand what’s behind the play.
If you saw the trailer for Talk Radio you know it’s bound to be an intense play (I had never seen a play trailer before, so I thought that was really cool!) I would describe the particular intensity as electric, live wire dangerous. I always had the sense that the play was about to explode, that somebody was going to get hurt. And they do, just not physically.
Talk Radio definitely tells a story. The main character is the host of a late night call-in style radio show, quite common today but this play takes place in the ’80s. The talk show host’s existential angst is played out against a back-drop of quirky, eccentric and bizarre disembodied voices. It was like watching a man use strangers as a therapeutic mechanism.
Eric Baldwin was outstanding as the main character. Right there, in the moment 100% committed, very disciplined. One minute he’s totally open, thoughtful, even needy, and the next minute a predator. I had the feeling I was watching a lion pacing in his cage. The people around him adore him, and he rips their hearts out. The callers, lonely people looking to him for validation, call in and he abuses them. And they all come back for more. Really quite amazing.
So I think the play worked. It met the criteria that I’m using — dialog was great, plenty of action, actors did a great job. Worth every penny and time spent. But In spite of the fact that I really enjoyed the play, I have to admit I never quite got the point of the story; in other words I don’t really know why this story is being told. It ended where it started, nothing really changed, I didn’t see any particular resolution to the conflict. I suppose all that is another way of saying it worked but I really don’t know why. I may have to revisit this one later.
Well that’s it for now. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!