Friday, April 08, 2016

The Charles Busch Cleopatra

Mr. Busch presents original productions at Theater for the New City.  I think the prior one was a compendium of religious movies, perhaps like King of Kings, or Samson and Delilah or, the Robe.  I sometimes associate them with sword and sandal movies. There is a genre aspect to his TNC offerings.   His latest is a compendium of Cleopatras, with an emphasis on Mae West.  Part of the script incorporates a Mae West song, and that is a very beautiful segment... We have to begin with the notion that 1930's Hollywood acting is valid, while being perhaps histrionic and over the top.  The ultimate hysteric for me was Colin Clive in Frankenstein.  I sincerely believe in his performance.  The problem may be a question of naturalism.  I grew up with a love for melodrama and it has left me with an expectation.  Melodrama penetrates my skull.  So Mr Busch writes a perfectly eloquent script seriously considering the magic of relationships.  I can't tell how important I think it is to turn antagonism into eroticism, or rather, into coupling.  I don't know... I was thinking about the hit man who goes home to his wife.   It's a closed circle, all his relationships, his seductions with the outside world get redirected to the one true love, and in a way one might think it misdirected... ok
So the piece lives within the realm of gay camp... Maybe it doesn't.  Maybe saying that secures its position elsewhere because in fact I see nothing in it that is gay, nor camp  It's informed... Historically it is informed by Cinema, and yes, to me that is valid.  Cinema dialogue is the drama I know.  

As for his acting, he is reforming the English language.  They all are.  They are excellent actors working with their physicality and further validating the realism of their characters.  

I realize my offering of thoughts to the world requires more thought in doing so. however, this is it.

Addendum:  The introductory announcement for piece, that it's a story of love, betrayal, murder...concludes its list with "eye-liner."   It sounds funny but, yes, look at the eye of Horus.  Eyeliner figures prominently in the symbology of Egypt.