My wife and I both love live theatre. We went to London on our honeymoon and saw four plays, two of them memorable, in our week there. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of regional theatre in the U.S. I’m a special fan of the shows at the Yale Repertory company in New Haven. We’ve also made frequent forays to Dublin where we’ve seen some of the best — and some of the worst — productions imaginable. Although we’ve been able to go less often to the Edinburgh festival, I could say the same for it — much great work and the occasional stinker.
These days, we try to go to New York once or twice a year and we pick carefully. Among the best shows we’ve seen recently were “Once” this year and “The Book of Mormon” last year. But we also check out theatre here in Atlanta, where you can see some surprisingly good work. The best we’ve seen recently was Onstage Atlanta’s version of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Not long before that we also saw a wonderful “Confederacy of Dunces” at the Theatrical Outfit.
Last weekend we went to the city’s top theatre, the Alliance, to see “What I Learned in Paris,” which is set around the time Maynard Jackson became the city’s first black mayor. My wife worked in that campaign and was particularly enthusiastic about the prospects. But the play was a major disappointment for the four of us who went. The cast tried hard. But the script was shallow, the dialogue trite, and the whole production needed to be sent back to re-write. That’s the way it goes when you are a theatre goer. Sometimes you discover wonderful things. Sometimes you wish you had stayed home and saved your money.