March 24, 2005

The Longest Intermission Ever


The Man Who Came to Dinner by George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart

Scholl- Sheridan Whiteside
Rachel- Maggie Cutler, Sarah, Mrs. Dexter
Gallagher- Bert Jefferson, Richard Stanley, Mr. Stanley, Banjo
Myself- Dr. Bradley, John, Professor Metz, Beverly Carlton
Anna- Miss Preen, Mrs. Stanley, Harriet Stanley, Lorraine Sheldon
Ardith- June Stanley, Mrs. McCutcheon, Harriet Stanley, Lorraine Sheldon
Randy- Mr. Stanley, Sandy, Westcott
Wilson- Bert Jefferson

Well, in spite of the extreme hilarity and copious sly references to twenties, thirties, and forties pop culture contained in this play, we kinda stopped dead on the reading of it three Thursdays ago and only finished it tonight. Nevertheless, despite the long pause in the middle, I look forward more than ever to seeing this performed at the Longview Community Theater in a few weeks.

In this excellent play, Sheridan Whiteside, an internationally-known radio personality who runs in the highest of artistic circles slips on a patch of ice and breaks his leg while leaving the small-town home of the Stanleys where he has just eaten supper. As a result he is confined in their living room for several weeks as the holiday season kicks into full swing. "Sherry" is crusty, abrasive, and domineering, and he soon takes over the household entirely, winning over the servants (John and Sarah), constantly screaming at doctor (Bradley), nurse (Preen), and personal secretary (Maggie), encouraging the daughter and son of the house (June and Richard) to run away from home in pursuit of their own dreams and future plans, and receiving a steady stream of high-society visitors and odd, assorted gifts (from penguins to mummy cases) from celebrities around the globe.

After the doctor reveals the startling news that Sherry isn't actually injured after all he must maintain the ruse a bit longer as Maggie has fallen in love with a local reporter (Bert Jefferson) in the interim. Sherry is determined to put a stop to it for fear he will lose her. With this goal in mind, he calls in seductive stage actress Lorraine Sheldon with promises of a leading role in the play Bert has written . . . but Maggie isn't giving up so easily.

Sliding into despair after a number of attempts to subvert Lorraine's purpose have failed, Maggie resigns her secretarial position and prepares to leave. Sherry is finally forced to step in himself and rid the town of Lorraine with the aid of his ambiguously gay friend from Hollywood (Banjo, one of Gallagher's finer character performances) in the hilarious climax.

Really my only concern about the LCT production is that their portrayal of Banjo won't be nearly as side-splittingly flamboyant as our own Gallagher's was. We shall see . . . Kudos also to Scholl and Rachel in particular for good work that "made" more than one scene.

Posted by Jared at March 24, 2005 11:59 PM | TrackBack