The Playgoer: Brantley Slept While Broadway Struck

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brantley Slept While Broadway Struck

I DVR'd an episode of New York 1's "New York Times Close-Up" last weekend when I saw Ben Brantley was making a brief appearance. The show is basically a weekly infomercial for NYT, hosted by veteran "Urban Affairs Correspondent" Sam Roberts.

When I finally caught up with it last night, I was struck by Roberts' first question. And the answer.

Roberts: What does a theatre critic do when there's a Broadway strike?

Brantley: I went to a lot of movies. I went to my house upstate. And I found myself sleeping ten hours a day because it had been a really hard pressed schedule for a while.
Well, so much for expanding non-Broadway theatre coverage during the strike. Hey, I don't blame Brantley for catching some z's. But what kind of editor just puts your chief critic on vacation during the strike?

The kind who thinks there's no theatre outside of Broadway, that's who.

Speaking of theatrical ignorance, get a load of this question of Roberts', regarding Conor McPherson's booze-fest The Seafarer.
Roberts: (after Brantley's gushing encomium to the play) What do they drink on the stage? Presumably not alcohol?
Isn't this a kind of...dumb question?

I mean, unless he's a budding properties master looking for advice on how to concoct authentic looking whiskey for his next production of Long Day's Journey. But you'd be suprised how many laymen are willing to entertain the notion that the onstage liquor is not food-colored water but somehow the real thing, and that actors can presumably down the hard stuff night after night , for hours, without crashing into the scenery and missing their cues.

Now of course, we know some have. But imagine thinking that's expected!

By the way, any props peeps out there who want to share your secret for faux-whiskey, please share!

(And email to Sam Roberts)


isaac butler said...

If i remember correctly, you use slightly dilluted ice tea. Normal ice tea is a little too dense for the light to hit it correctly.

Dave said...

Flat Diet Coke does the trick for me. It gets the right color, doesn't foam the way tea can do, and has a bit of a bite for the actors.

That, or real booze.

Tom said...

I hate iced tea and flat Coke, so I use apple juice or cider.

Anonymous said...

I know Dean Martin used Martinelli's apple juice.