HomeOpinionColumnsCulture Watch – Plays as prose and poem Sep. 26, 2019 at 6:00 amColumnsCulture WatchFeaturedNewsCulture Watch – Plays as prose and poemSarah A. Spitz2 years agoA Play is a PoemBill IrwinEthan CoenOn BeckettSamuel BeckettvaudevilleL-R: Benjamin Taylor and Bill Irwin in the Irish Repertory Theatre production of “On Beckett.” Conceived and performed by Irwin, “On Beckett” runs through October 27 at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. For more information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org. Press Contact: [email protected] / (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz. The Center Theatre Group has two plays on stage, one by filmmaker Ethan Coen, “A Play is a Poem,” at the Mark Taper Forum downtown, and “On Beckett,” a compilation of writings by Samuel Beckett beautifully presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City by Bill Irwin, the supreme clown and actor.BELOVED AND BAFFLING BECKETTTalk about a contrast in style and substance! Bill Irwin created a glimpse into his inner world where his love for Beckett’s prose and playwriting are brought to life, so we can appreciate the strange genius of one of the 20th century’s most studied, admired, and still not always fully-comprehended writing.Irwin reminds us that Beckett (1906-1989) was a Nobel laureate who wrote famously difficult passages and he’s haunted by these writings; he’s not a scholar or a blogger, just someone who relates to the language through the lens of an actor and clown, and is committed to sharing his knowledge of it and love for it with others. That he does, and beautifully.He shares selections from “Texts for Nothing,” thirteen prose pieces published in 1950, the year Irwin was born. He begins with Text #1, page one. Putting on his black bowler hat, he delivers the opening line, “How can I go on,” and shares more of the text.Irwin speculates, what is it about this language? It is an Irish voice, he says, but ironically, Beckett wrote these pieces in French, later translating them. It is, as Irwin says, exhilarating and exasperating, describing the prose as a “cartoon of consciousness” and the “cliché of the comic Irishman.” Is Beckett a writer of the body or the intellect, he wonders, noting that Beckett was a lover of vaudeville.That comes in handy for Irwin, the consummate clown, who played Lucky in a storied production of “Waiting for Godot,” with Steve Martin, Robin Williams and F. Murray Abraham. He describes the perpetual question of whether it’s “GOD-oh” or “God-OH,” and shares a story about the argument as it played out in his experience. But more importantly, he performs parts of the famous monologue that Lucky, a man/beast of burden who never speaks until commanded to, blows everyone away with when he finally does open his mouth. It’s spectacular. A tour de force.He also dons multiple hats, bowlers, porkpie, skullcap, that help define Beckett’s and his own characters, putting on baggy pants and enormous shoes to gear up for further absurd stream of consciousness passages.So strictly speaking, Bill Irwin’s “On Beckett” isn’t really a play, but it is an inspired meditation on the work of one of the most puzzling voices in literature and on stage.THE PLAY THAT’S NOT A POEMEthan Coen’s play isn’t really a play, and it sure isn’t a poem. And there’s no connective tissue, other than some adorably cute, but hard to hear, songs performed entr’acte by the quirky Nelly McKay.Five unrelated vignettes have a lot of snappy dialogue and moments of hilarity, some extremely inappropriate but irresistibly laughable (Holocaust humor – “Sobibor my Love” for example). But what is this play really? An opportunity for a renowned Hollywood celebrity to work out some of his thoughts without the intercession of celluloid (or pixels, as the case may be).I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it—I did, although there were issues with being able to hear some of the actors and song lyrics.We open on a crazy Fargo-like situation where a murder has taken place, and two moronic brothers appear to have buried their dad under the floorboards. Not sure if I got this right but the lawman who comes in to ask if they’ve seen Dad is apparently is their brother. It ends loudly.Then it’s the noir piece, set in the office of a private investigator whose partner has died and who hires a clueless new PI to join him. The guy’s a complete loser; the scene shifts between the office (where PI is having an affair with his secretary), to a bar where a client has asked him to investigate whether he’s being ripped off. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that the real investigative work is being done by the secretary.The next scene is long and pointless. It’s set in the South, in some unspecified earlier era when men wore white suits and straw hats, and women high-necked long dresses, and propriety is the watchword. He’s been in Paris where life is more unconstrained, and she’s a girl with the morality of a cloistered nun. His attempt to explain (ahem) a blow job without actually describing it is funny, but everything in this set piece goes on far too long.In another scene in Brooklyn, a guy with a plan (not a good one) is trying to convince his hard-as-nails wife that all this networking and plying his cab medallion-owning friend with beer is key to getting into a partnership where he can be his own man. Liver and onions will never be cooked again in this house. Except – he fails.And lastly, the cliché of the Hollywood pitch meeting (“Das Boot on a boat”) speeds in and out as the characters pretend there’s any morality left in Hollywood.The cast is wonderful but is there a point to these scenes, or a through-line that connects them? Nope. If you go, let it wash over you and enjoy the laughs. Just don’t try to find any meaning here.Sarah A. Spitz is an award-winning public radio producer, now retired from KCRW, where she also produced arts stories for NPR. She writes features and reviews for various print and online publications.Tags :A Play is a PoemBill IrwinEthan CoenOn BeckettSamuel Beckettvaudevilleshare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentConstruction to Bring Improvements to North Beach TrailLos Angeles joins court fight on where homeless can sleepYou Might Also LikeFeaturedNewsBobadilla rejects Santa Monica City Manager positionMatthew Hall7 hours agoColumnsOpinionYour Column HereBring Back Library ServicesGuest Author13 hours agoNewsCouncil picks new City ManagerBrennon Dixson18 hours agoFeaturedNewsProtesting parents and Snapchat remain in disagreement over child protection policiesClara Harter18 hours agoFeaturedNewsDowntown grocery to become mixed use developmenteditor18 hours agoNewsBruised but unbowed, meme stock investors are back for moreAssociated Press18 hours ago
Share No. 21 West Florida will close out regular season on the road PENSACOLA, Fla – The No. 21 University of West Florida men’s soccer program will close out the regular season Friday when they travel to Livingston, Ala. to face West Alabama at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Argos are coming off of a two win weekend against Christian Brothers and Delta State and clinched the first seed in the GSC Tournament after defeating DSU 4-0. The West Alabama Tigers are 10-5-1 (7-5-1 GSC) this season and are returning to action after they defeated Delta State 3-1 but fell to Christian Brothers 4-2 last weekend. The Tigers currently have 22 points in the conference and will try to lock up the second seed in the tournament with a win.No. 21 West Florida is 3-0 all time against the Tigers and their first meeting came back on Oct. 5, 2012 where UWF defeated UWA 2-0. Live Coverage:Live Video at UWALive Stats at UWALive Audio at UWAMatch Notes:11/1 at West AlabamaGSC Players of the WeekThe No. 21 University of West Florida men’s soccer program had two seniors honored with Gulf South Conference Players of the Week after defeating Christian Brothers and Delta State this past weekend. Fernando Silveira (Brasilia, Brazil) earned the offensive player of the week award while Steven Hermosa (Orlando, Fla.) was named the defensive player of the week.Silveira earned the award after he posted two goals against Christian Brothers Friday night in a 2-1 win and also recorded two assists Sunday against Delta State in a 4-0 win. Hermosa earned the defensive player of the week after he shutout Delta State Sunday in a 4-0 win for the Argos. During the 90 minutes, Hermosa faced nine shots and made four saves for the Argos and earned his third career shutout with the win.Back in the Top 25The University of West Florida men’s soccer team remained ranked No. 21 in the National Soccer Coaches of America Association/Continental Tire rankings this week.No. 21 West Florida (11-4-1) also jumped back into third in the region just behind No.1 Rollins (15-0-0) and No. 7 Saint Leo (11-1-1). The Argos previously played both teams earlier in the season but failed to pick up a win against the Sunshine State Conference opponents.In the latest BennetRank computer rankings, the Argos moved up to No. 11 after being previously ranked No. 14. The computer rankings rank the Argos schedule the 34th hardest in the nation. The ranking also rates UWF’s offense as 12th in the nation and defense as 43rd. Print Friendly Version Argos look to close out the regular season against West Alabama (Photo by Bill Stockland)
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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.It was rare considering the past decade-plus of success, but the LSU Tigers were not a factor in the Southeastern Conference last season.Head coach Les Miles expects this fall on the gridiron to be different, and believes the proof was on display at Tiger Stadium in Saturday’s spring game.“The expectations are pretty high,” Miles said Monday outside the Horseshoe’s Riverdome in Bossier City, site of the first stop of the 2015 Tiger Tour. “There is reason to believe a lot of improvement has taken place. I looked at the tape Sunday night and Monday. There is broad-based improvement — we have some good players.”Monday, Miles joined Tigers basketball coaches Johnny Jones and Nikki Caldwell, gymnastics coach D-D Breaux and athletic director Joe Alleva for the first of 10 stops in the next month. The Tour rolls into Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday.Saturday’s White vs. Purple affair in Baton Rouge was the culmination of 15 spring practices. Given LSU’s dismal production in the passing game last season, naturally all eyes (and a majority of the questions in the spring) focused on the quarterback battle between incumbent Anthony Jennings, a junior, and sophomore Brandon Harris, a former Parkway star.Although Miles cited a belief both signal callers have made strides, he admits those waiting for a starter to be anointed shouldn’t hold their breath.“Waiting for that guy to emerge is an issue,” Miles said.Guilbeau: Other ways to separate LSU QBsJennings and Harris combined to post 420 passing yards and four touchdowns Saturday.Jennings was 13-for-20 passing for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Harris completed 11 of 17 passes for 178 yards and two scores.Miles said splitting time with first teamers hasn’t hampered the development of either candidate.“There were a lot of snaps to judge by and a lot of snaps to improve by (this spring),” Miles said. “Basically there was a small slice of that we all could see on Saturday. Their preparation was very strong throughout the spring.”Miles was thrilled with the play of the tight ends Saturday. Although used mainly in run- and pass-blocking roles last season, the big men were featured in the passing game.“And there were numbers,” Miles said of the Tigers depth, including DeSean Smith, Colin Jeter and senior Dillon Gordon. “I liked exactly how the tight end position played.”Smith, a junior from Lake Charles, hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Justin McMillan.LSU QB race same as it ever wasSans the running attack led by sophomore sensation Leonard Fournette, the offense — from the game plan to personnel to the performance — is anybody’s guess. However, Miles, in his 11th year at LSU, was blown away by several defensive performances Saturday.“If you looked at the linebacking crew — oh my goodness,” Miles said. “Speed to the ball, knocked it down, there wasn’t yards after contact — it stopped.”Ronnie Feast and Deion Jones collected seven tackles each. Kendell Beckwith and Lamar Louis were often present, too.Miles, 61, is also pleased with the depth the Tigers’ defensive line will carry into the fall.“There are a lot of young guys on the two deep you could put in there (with the first team),” he said.In the secondary, freshman Kevin Toliver II caught Miles’ eye. He had the lone interception Saturday and will be a good fit with players like junior Tre’Davious White, a former Green Oaks standout.“Tre’Davious White takes care of his business in the classroom, takes care of his business socially and when he gets on the football field, his assignment, he takes it serious — it’s all about team,” Miles said. “He is preparing to have a great year.“There are going to be some strong defensive backs for the Tigers.”Naturally, Miles didn’t escape to the crowd of rabid Tigers fans Monday without one final quarterback query.“We’ll play it by ear,” he said when specifically asked when a starter would be named. “It’s not something we’re going to rush to do. If it was something that was needed to be done, we’ll do it.”The Tigers open the 2015 campaign with McNeese State on Sept. 5.Twitter: @RoyLangIIIRemaining Tiger Tour stopsJackson, Miss. – WednesdayLafayette – April 28Baton Rouge – April 29Alexandria – May 4Houston – May 12Lake Charles – May 13Covington – May 14New Orleans – May 17Biloxi, Miss. – May 18 LSU football coach Les Miles speaks to reporters moments before the Tiger Tour dinner at the Horseshoe Riverdome Monday evening.