Category Archives: THEATER

IVO VAN HOVE’S ALL ABOUT EVE

The origin of Joseph Mankiewicz’s legendary screenplay ALL ABOUT EVE is a true story the actress Elisabeth Bergner told author-actress-playwright Mary Orr about a stage door waif, Martina Lawrence, who insinuated herself into Bergner’s life to a threatening degree. In Orr’s fictional telling, the faux-naïf schemer—Eve—takes over the great actress’ career, husband, and stardom, ending the tale with a thousand-dollar-a-week contract from a Hollywood studio.

Since studio Code dictated that villains must always be punished, 20th Century Fox couldn’t film that version in 1950. So Mankiewicz devised a brilliant ending: the star—Margo Channing—wouldn’t lose everything to the interloper, and Eve ends up with her own Eve to thwart.

Ivo van Hove—the European avant-gardist-turned-unlikely Broadway powerhouse—and his designer Jan Versweyveld have transformed ALL ABOUT EVE for the London stage. Gillian Anderson pulls out all the stops, playing Margo at 50—not the film’s 40—and more obsessed with surface aging as a harbinger of irrelevance than Bette Davis was in her indelible star turn. The essential difference between EVE‘s sparkling 1950s urbanity and its 2019 iteration may be explained by Ben Brantley’s take on van Hove’s sensibility:

“He is a tragedian, first and foremost, though I think we can make room for tragedians in a time when they’re a rare breed among directors… What I think fascinates him, and what often works for me, is the idea of monolithic personalities, damned to suffocate under their own passions (or egos).”

The National Theatre production of ALL ABOUT EVE co-stars Lily James in the title role. Monica Dolan is Margo’s best friend Karen, Rhashan Stone is her husband, playwright Lloyd Richards, Julian Ovenden is Margo’s lover-director Bill, Stanley Townsend is critic Addison DeWitt, and Sheila Reid is Birdie, Margo’s dresser (played in Mankiewicz’s film by Thelma Ritter). PJ Harvey composed the score.

This weekend, L.A. Theatre Works presents the NTLive screening of ALL ABOUT EVE at UCLA.

ALL ABOUT EVE—NT Live

Sunday, June 23, at 3 pm.

James Bridges Theater

Melnitz Hall, UCLA

235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles.

From top: Gillian Anderson in All About Eve, Noël Coward Theatre, London, 2019; Sheila Reid (left), Anderson, and Monica Dolan; Lily James; Julian Overden and Anderson; Rhashan Stone and Anderson; Anderson and Dolan; Overden and James; Anderson. Photographs by Perou, courtesy and © the photographer, the performers, and the National Theatre.

SYLVIA

“Sylvia’s best friends are her boyfriends. They’re always handsome, young, and unemployed. They follow her. Sylvia doesn’t follow anybody.

“The most famous thing Sylvia ever did was throw a plate of spaghetti, brie cheese, and salad on John Simon’s head. She was furious at him for calling her ‘a party girl and gate crasher’ in one of his reviews. She said, ‘Take that! Now you can call me a plate crasher too!’

“Sylvia never crashes parties, but she is a party girl. During the 1977 Democratic primary in New York a reporter asked Sylvia how she could go to a Bella Abzug fundraiser one night and a Mario Cuomo fundraiser the next. Sylvia replied, ‘I’m not for any candidate. I’m for the party.’

“Sylvia goes to at least three parties a night. One for cocktails, one for dinner, and one for dessert. One night she arrived at her dessert party and a big black waiter asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee. Sylvia said yes and the waiter asked, ‘How do you take your coffee, Miss Miles?’

” ‘I like my coffee the way I like my men,’ said Sylvia, eyeing the waiter up and down.

” ‘I’m sorry, Miss Miles,’ the waiter said, ‘But we don’t have any gay coffee.’ ” — Andy Warhol*

Sylvia Miles, who died on June 12, costarred with Joe Dallesandro in Andy Warhol’s Heat, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress twice: for seven minutes of work in Midnight Cowboy (1969), and five minutes of work in Farewell, My Lovely (1975).

*Andy Warhol’s Exposures, edited by Bob Colacello (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1979), 176.

From top: Sylvia Miles and Joe Dallesandro, publicity still for Andy Warhol’s Heat; Miles and Tennessee Williams; Vieux Carré poster for London production; Miles and Dallesandro on set, Heat; Warhol (left), Miles, Geneviève Waïte, and Bob Colacello, 1974, photograph by William E. Sauro; Miles and Dallesandro in Heat.

GUILLERMO KUITCA AND NO EXIT

In conjunction with the GUILLERMO KUITCA exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in L.A.’s Arts District, Tim Robbins‘ troupe The Actors’ Gang will perform a staged reading of Jean-Paul Sartre’s NO EXIT, directed by Brian Finney.

Participating Actors’ Gang members include Pierre Adeli, Hannah Chodos, Cihan Sahin, and Paulette Zubata.

NO EXIT—THE ACTORS’ GANG

Thursday, June 13, at 8 pm.

Hauser & Wirth

901 East 3rd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

Guillermo Kuitca, from top: The Family Idiot, 2018, oil on canvas in artist frame, triptych; The Family Idiot, 2019, oil on canvas in artist frame; Untitled (Teatro Real), 2013–2015, oil on canvas; The Family Idiot, 2018, oil on canvas in artist frame, and The Family Idiot (Sleeper in the Mirror), 2019, both photographed by Gonzalo Maggi. Images courtesy and © the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

MALIK GAINES AND ALEXANDRO SEGADE — STAR CHOIR

Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade —founding members of the performance collective My Barbarian—”work at the intersection of theater, visual arts, critical practice, and performance to play with social difficulties, theatricalize historic problems, and imagine ways of being together. Realized as drawings, texts, masks, videos, music, installations, and audience interactions, their projects employ fantasy, humor, and clashing aesthetic sensibilities to cleverly critique artistic, political, and social situations.”*

Gaines and Segade present STAR CHOIR, a new work developed while serving as Park Avenue Armory artists-in-residence. The 45-minute musical performance “tracks a group of humans who attempt to colonize a hostile planet after the Earth’s decline. Following some wonder and violence, a hybrid species is formed.” STAR CHOIR is performed by six singers and six musicians—Hai-Ting Chinn, Tomas Cruz, Tomas Fujiwara, Ariadne Greif, La Toya Lewis, Anthony McGlaun, Ethan Philbrick, Riza Printup, RaShonda Reeves, Kyra Sims, Luke Stewart, and Jorell Williams.*

MALIK GAINES and ALEXANDRO SEGADE—STAR CHOIR*

Thursday, May 23, at 7 pm and 9 pm.

Park Avenue Armory

643 Park Avenue (at 66th Street), New York City.

See “Questions of Representation: Malik Gaines in conversation with Barlo Perry, PARIS LA 16 (2018), 178–181.

Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, Star Choir in performance at the Levitt Pavilion on the opening night of Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler at the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, with video and sheet music from the exhibition. Images courtesy and the artists.

PORTRAIT OF CHARLES WHITE

This weekend, the actor, writer, and performance artist Roger Guenveur Smith and singer and composer Marc Anthony Thompson will present PORTRAIT OF CHARLES WHITE at LACMA.

Smith and Thompson will “navigate White’s career as an artist, educator, and political activist, as well as his compelling personal profile, to devise an intimate meditation on a man of immense complexity and enduring influence.”*

PORTRAIT OF CHARLES WHITE*

Saturday, May 4, at 7:30 pm.

LACMA

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Charles White in his Los Angeles studio, 1970, courtesy the Hammer Museum; Roger Guenveur Smith; Marc Anthony Thompson; Charles White painting Mary McLeod Bethune, 1978, © Charles White Archives, photograph by Frank J. Thomas, courtesy of the Charles White Archives and the photographer.