Friday, May 6, 2011
The Lower Depths and The O.C.
In life and writing Gorki was loyal to the concept of freedom. He'd been friends with an early version of Lenin and criticized the later, repressive and vicious version. The Lower Depths is modern to the core and chatty, packed with conversations of the eternally bamboozled (who are always with us). His bamboozled are in a basement. That alone put me on edge because I'm allergic to mold.It's not a bar but did remind me of the dark bar and bar stool-ees in The Iceman Cometh.
Booze, more booze, hitting wives, greed and centuries of resignation also put me on edge. The production counted among its beautiful czarist-era sluttish derelicts a dear relative of mine. And was intelligent, witty and dark. Nothing there to displease Gorki. The audience was especially attentive and supportive.
Oddly I was reminded of the O.C., a t.v. show that takes place in a dreamy Southern California bedroom community (in, duh, Orange County). Characters in the O.C. have dental and medical plans, great bodies, great wardrobes, great skin, great nutrition, sun, fun, school, and a little tribulation but troubles always work out. And there's a lot of hanging out and talking about life.
And that's why it came to mind last night. I guess. I was laughing at myself (on the inside) when I thought that, but in a weird way that outlandish comparison with smooth, sunny Southern Cal. makes the play even more universal. People hang out. They have problems (who to take to the prom or as is the case of Gorki's characters, how to avoid eviction in the dead of a Russian winter or stop a husband from relentless beatings of his wife or flat-out life-sucking despair).
I'm so proud my relative was riveting. And in a classic. Acting was strong. Set was spot on. Wardrobe close to perfect. Gorki's depiction is a reveal on possibilities of higher natures. Of course I'm American to my positive thinking core. And still proud of my grand niece.