Back in September, I saw the musical "Something Rotten," which told the story of a playwright who was in competition with William Shakespeare, much like how Harvey Weinstein is in competition with everyone else in Hollywood for the consumer's dollars. It was a really funny show, portraying Shakespeare as a super celebrity who spews soliloquies like a rock star, skewering current and past Broadway musicals, and proposing the idea of an entire show based on an Omelet (due to a mispronunciation of Hamlet).
|Brad Oscar as Nostradamus and Brian D'Arcy James as Nick Bottom|
That brings me to the play I saw just last night, "Misery."
Thanks must go to my sister, Faith, for the ticket! Being able to catch Bruce Willis' Broadway debut was pretty exciting and this was a book and film that I really enjoyed, so being able to see it live on stage was something I didn't want to miss.
Like I said, the story was familiar, so I had an idea of what to expect before it began. I was impressed I was able to put my preconceived notions aside once Laurie Metcalf came on stage. She owned the character of Annie Wilkes, pushing away the iconic image of Kathy Bates from the film. Annie's psychosis is revealed subtly, as Bruce's character of Paul Sheldon goes from being thankful for his rescuer to the realization that she may not be what she seems and he may have to find a way to escape before his "number one fan" completely loses control.
|Bruce as Paul Sheldon, attempting to escape the confines of his room|
Once I slept and thought about the play more this morning, there was another level to the experience that struck me and it wasn't what happened on stage, but how the audience reacted to it, with much laughter throughout. At one point during the show, I thought, 'Are we at a comedy?' Granted, several of Annie's lines are funny, but when you consider that she's mentally unstable and homicidal, these same lines become more sinister and frightening. Is the reaction to laugh, because we're uncomfortable with what's happening to Paul at the hands of Annie, could it be because we're used to seeing Laurie Metcalf in comedic roles on TV, or is it because Laurie's portrayal of Annie mirrored the clerk (in appearance and perceived personality) we saw in the media from Kentucky recently, Kim Davis? It made me wonder what the reaction would be if Annie had been played by a man and/or someone who wasn't Caucasian. We see so much these days how people are treated differently based on their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. If Annie had been Muhammad, I anticipate the audience reaction would have been far different, which makes this play so relevant today. What scares us more about people; their actions, their appearance, their comments, their mental state?
I guess "Misery" sparked a little more thought than I anticipated and that's never a bad thing......