Guest post by Suzann Darnall
Tragedy Of Errors
Finally, the curtain is coming down on a depressing drama which has been playing on the main stage in Washington, DC for eight years. Much too long a run for such a disastrous production. The cast of thousands oft times seemed to have no clue what they were saying. All too frequently they merely repeated lines clearly fed to them from offstage by shadowy figures.
The leading man in this flop was like a work of fiction both on and off stage. Almost as if there was no real person behind the persona. While he was costumed beautifully and had a resonating voice which reached all the way up into the rafters, there was nothing in his performance beyond him always waiting for applause, the tossing of bouquets, handing out of awards, and standing ovations. Even when he was just starting out and had not done one act of the play he turned all things from tragedy to comedy and back again. Over and over. Flip-flopping almost as much as his entire supporting cast.
His leading lady was without doubt the most ill-dressed diva in the history of the erstwhile chamber of pretense known as the White House. She oftimes looked as if her wardrobe mistress was actually designing for Sesame Street muppets. She was also the least genteel in a long line of leading ladies who graced this political stage. Instead of the gracious woman we expected to play hostess for a nation we got a complaining harpy who just kept her hand out for ever more freebies. It was like watching “Taming of the Shrew” meets “Oliver”, except she did not even say “please” when she kept asking for more. But, she did do her best to keep all the children as hungry as possible with her “School Lunch Reforms” sideshow.
The supporting actor in this theatrical calamity definitely deserves an award for achieving a sustained performance based on his soloist script written about the concept of “oops”. We were supposed to believe he was a serious player in a world-class drama about life and death, but he seemed to be more like a buffoon in a Looney-Tunes themed Ice Capades show. Slippin’-n-slidin’ about each grandstand with the appearance of no idea where he was headed or how to get there without another pratfall or faux pas.
There was an evident overabundance of supporting actresses. All obviously based on the Wicked Witch of the West from the make-believe land of Oz. It was hard to keep them all straight ‘cause they always seemed to be reading the exact same lines from the script given to them by the man behind the curtain. Worst of all, they all seemed to think that their fantasy land was reality, despite evidence being presented to them time and again that proved otherwise. They definitely chose fiction over fact, preferring a comfortable lie to an inconvenient truth.
There was of course additional cast and crew, but they too looked to always be rehearsing the same lines as the supporting actresses . . . when they weren’t making excuses for the clown prince, I mean, supporting actor. Also, their faces all ran together in a blur as they were usually delivering their lines while their lips were firmly planted on the backside of the leading man or they were turned away from the audience to offer sighs of admiration to the ever-present toned arms of the leading lady.
I, for one, am pleased to see the final curtain on what looked to be an homage to Les Miserables. Miserable ones indeed … especially those of us forced to sit and watch the show. While there has been laughter, there have been far more tears. Mostly ‘cause we were usually placed in the position of laugh or cry and we had run out of tears. While it was actually real life, no one would have believed the tale if it had been written for a Broadway play or a Hollywood movie. The characters were too unsympathetic and trite. The situations were too contrived and untenable. So, I suppose it is no surprise the box office lost money from the get go. Except it has been the American taxpayers footing the bill for this extravaganza. I know for a fact we did not get our money’s worth. No wonder the fabrication has been panned by so many critics!