Thursday, March 19, 2009

Show Biz

Yesterday was my son's birthday, and I treated his mother (me) to a Broadway play while he was at work. Inexplicably to some people, my idea of a Broadway play does not normally involve music. (Although now that I think of it, I might have liked to see South Pacific, if it's still on.)

The play I saw, in matinee, did feature music, however, in the form of a piano playing snips from Beethoven's 33 Variations, also the name of the play. It was sold out, but the reason has less to do with Beethoven than with the star, Jane Fonda.

The story was about a mother and daughter, really. The mother is an academic working on her last paper, tracking down the mystery of why Beethoven composed his 33 variations. Sut she's dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The daughter who has never quite measured up to her mother's high expectations opposes the European trip her mother wants to make for her research. And there you go. Tom Hanks's son plays the mother's nurse and the daughter's boyfriend. I thought it was quite good and very affecting.

I had cause later to think about the theatrical dynasties I'd been watching at work, namely, Fonda and Hanks, when I learned of the tragic death of Natasha Richardson, a member of the distinguished Redgrave family. When someone so lovely dies in such a freak accident, we all feel sadness, I think. This death was particularly upsetting because its cause seemed so trivial. Everyone falls when they're learning to ski, and quite often thereafter. To sustain a mortal injury and not know it or show any signs for an hour is a concept quite shattering to consider.

One thing I gleaned from the coverage of this sorrowful event is that guarding against this eventuality is the reason why medical personnel choose to keep people with head injuries "under observation" for a time after the event. I had never thought of that.


jinksy said...

Happy Birthday son - another Blogpond Pisces. They are arriving in shoals...

aliceinparis said...

Happy Birthday to you son.My daughter is the 19th. Jane Fonda has a blog and she writes about backstage visitors and bits and pieces, it is quite interesting.

Sydney said...

Terribly tragic, and your thoughts on it were beautiful, enlarged some aspects of it for me.

I am jealous you got to see Jane in the role. I read a rather lackluster review though.. was it the WSJ or NYT? It said that it was so great to see her come out of her semi-retirement and get back on the stage and stated that they knew she had all the talent, but, what were the words.. I don't remember, but close to something like the character or her direction was such that it seemed phoned in by her. She didn't get to show her full potential, that kind of thing. I would have loved to see it no matter what. Did you think that? Sounds like not.

And I didn't know Hanks was in it too. We are told to keep an eye on him.

Alice, thanks for the website, I'll check it out.