Monday, May 14, 2007

Reviews: Hello Dolly and Notes on a Scandal

Every now and again, I blow the dust off my cultural critic pen and lend my lens to shows, music, theater, food, and literature.

Broadway Musical: Hello, Dolly!
I purchased tickets to a community theater show in which a friend was performing in Hello, Dolly! As community theater is to Broadway what independant films are to Hollywood, I try to support art in these venues and believe that non-commercial creativity is the bed of great idea, inspiration, and rejuvenation.

That, however, does not excuse bad community theater, unfortunately. Hello, Dolly! is a comical musical that explores the intersection of lives through a match-making busy-body socialite wannabe in the 1800s. Think of a nauseating Paris Hilton superficiality inside the look of Queen Elizabeth.

Written with high right chords and a splittingly boring storyline, actress and actor must possess an unsual talent to sell this production. Adorned with baby cries of a lovestruck teen, corsettes, and vocal bravado, Hello, Dolly! had me buying a rare caffeinated beverage at intermission. On a thematic level, Dolly exudes Broadtriarchy, where Broadway meets patriarchy: women/actresses who are in the role of crying, pathetic, lovelorn elbow gloved damsels waiting with high scrunched foreheads for their men to wisk them away. The men/actors appropriately feed the Broadtriarchy with songs like It Takes a Woman with lyrics that warm the Conservative soul, such as:

O yes it takes a woman
A dainty woman
A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife
O yes it takes a woman
A fragile woman
To bring you the sweet things in life
And so she'll work until infinity
Three cheers for femininity
Rah Rah Rah...Rah Rah Rah
F. E. M. - I. T. Y

This was perhaps the fifth or sixth time I have seen a production of Hello, Dolly!. Now that my 28 years of maturation has resulted in highly selective tongue of entertainment, I can assure you, this will be my last. I can swallow Broadtriarchy every once in a while in good humor, but, should I decide to be entertained in such a manner, I really should head to 42nd street in NYC instead. At least there it will be only the highest quality of patriarchy performance.

Hollywood Film: Notes on a Scandal
If a 30-sumthin male sleeps with a 15 year old girl, what do we call that? I call it statutory rape. What do we call a 30-sumthing female who sleeps with a 15 year old boy? We call her Sex Teacher and label the behavior Unacceptable.

Is it just me or is there some form of imbalance when movies show "love scenes" between adults and 15 year olds without the blatant theme of RAPE? In fact, this movie, which is based on actual events, calls the rape of the 15 year old boy an "affair." Um, no, it's rape. And had the "rapist" been a man, the shock of the crime would not be overshadowed by Cate Blanchett's, "I don't know what's wrong with me," cries.

Obviously entertaining, in a disturbing Euro-manner. Judi Dench plays a Virgina Woolf wannabe writer, insanely isolated and dry who develops a psychotic connection to the new art "Sex Teacher" at her school (Blanchett). Think Single, White Female meets Mary Kay Laterno.
For as much as I love listening to those accents, when the "love" scenes are framed with unbridled lust with no mention of crime, I tend to squirm in my seat and wish I'd chosen Love Actually for the umpteenth time.

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