Jan 31, 2012

Loos and Liveness

Fred Armisen's recent dump on the one-man show is easy pickin's, no doubt, but it's smile-worthy nonetheless (h/t Playgoer). (For a look at a long sketch toward the above, see Armisen and Brownstein's pre-Portlandia bit here; the choice moment is the "last hat" breakthrough at ≈ 5:19).

Easily the truest-to-life bit in the SNL sketch, among many contenders, is the onstage/backstage bathroom—an amenity which, despite its obvious awkwardness, happens to be a feature at two of the best theaters around: the Atlantic Theater Company here in New York and L.A.'s Theater of NOTE. I happened to be reminded of the latter recently by this photo trove, which catalogues some of the best work I saw in L.A. in grainy black-and-white photos (pre-2006).

Pamela Gordon and Alina Phelan in Eden at NOTE

As great as it is to have these photographic reminders, the work I witnessed in that amazingly intimate space remains still more vivid in my memory, in color and in three dimensions. It's the immanent liveness of theater, of course, that keeps it so alive in our memory—or can make a masturbatory solo show so skin-crawlingly awful.

1 comment:

Seth Christenfeld said...

If I'm not mistaken, the bathroom issue at the Atlantic was one of the major factors behind the renovations that the Gross is undergoing. The space will now have a nicely appointed basement lounge which will house restrooms away from the stage.