The Best Play I Ever Saw

In at least one way, theater is always better than movies or TV. You can see a show, fall in love with it, and you will never see it again. There may be more performances, a revival years later, it may become a standard done by every college and community group in the country, but the performance you saw that night is done, over, complete, preserved in your memory.

This is the best play I ever saw:

That's William Petersen as Ahab

It was enthralling. It was a small production in a small theater, Remains was a young theater group that made a virtue of making do. With simple costumes, sets and effects, you can sometimes have a better show because you have to use creativity and talent in place of money. Still get shivers when I think of Amy Morton doing “On the Whiteness of the Whale” in a beautiful flowing gown, the stage covered in rippling muslin and Ahab’s entrance on his wooden leg shaped like a bone.

I keep discovering that actors I’m familiar with were in it.

Remains Ensemble, so very young

There were no photos from the play in the program but this has some of the cast.  The blond woman on the far right is my friend Lindsay, she played Herman Melville (I guess you had to be there). Isn’t she gorgeous. When I look at old pictures of people I knew back then, they all look so beautiful. I’m sure they’re all still good looking, it’s just nostalgia. I hate nostalgia.

When I got out this program a few years ago, I realized that the girl in front with the fab 80’s waterfall hairdo next to Gary Cole is Natalie West who played Crystal on “Roseanne.” She was Pip the Cabin Boy. I just remember her bouncing up and down and singing. Ted Levine was in it too. I’m still amazed that the avuncular detective on Monk played Buffalo Bill and I find out he was in my play. He is one fine looking man, but I don’t really remember him specifically in the show.

You can click through to Flickr to read at a more legible size.

Cast Bios

Cast and Crew Bios

Art and Graphics: Peter Hurley, Tim Anderson, Christian Petersen

The only photo credit is: Production Photography – Lisa Ebright, so she may or may not have taken these as they are from different productions.

OMG, look at William Petersen. So much manliness.

No caption, I'm guessing Chekhov.

Brecht, maybe?

This has been on my mind since I have large amounts of unstructured time at the moment, and having watched every episode of SVU and Criminal Intent several times, I’ve started watching CSI. Manhunter was also on yesterday, a prime example of work of art or entertainment that’s not as good as you remember (though the acting was good and the ending still KICKS ASS). I love me some police procedurals. It’s an inexpensive addiction and as long as I’m not watching NCIS I’m not too far gone.  CSI is not what you’d call well written, and William Petersen doesn’t really have much to work with but he gets a lifetime pass because he was in the best play ever and has therefore justified his existence as an actor and can just phone it in and collect his millions as far as I’m concerned (I’m sure he’d be relieved to hear it).

I’ve been chafing a bit at the limitations that I’ve put on myself as far as this being strictly a photography blog. I really want to write more, find my voice, and there’s not really a lot to say about the pictures, they are what I’m saying. Since the photos are taken with an old point and shoot, there’s not really much to say about them technically, I frame it as best I can and tart it up in Photoshop, that about covers it for most of my photos. Sometimes I just have an opinion about art, movies or stupid TV and I’d just like to write about it, or like this post, I’d like to document my years on the fringes of Chicago professional theater. That’s what blogs are for. No politics, though. I hate trolls.

I don’t know how I feel about putting pictures that I didn’t take in this blog. This a transitional post, it doesn’t have my photos but I still spent quite a long time scanning, so it’s sort of my own work. We’ll see what happens.

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One Response to The Best Play I Ever Saw

  1. Jim Smetana says:

    Great article on Remains. “No caption, I’m guessing Chekhov” is “Indulgences in the Louisville Harem” by John Orlock. Love the photo from “The Tooth of Crime”–Petersen and Cole duking it out with microphones. Great stuff!

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