Saturday, August 20, 2011

Out of Town Performances

There was Dan Lauria, in a place I am sure he knew nothing about. This was the initial out of town performance of "Lombardi". The actors would work hard that evening to remember their lines, to try to sound natural and real. The director would listen intently for the flat parts that should be discarded, as well as the effective ones to be emphasized. In time, it was hoped this show would be ready for Broadway.

Like the actors I watched that night on the stage in the Berkshires, I now view the political play of Republican hopefuls seeking the nomination as their party's 2012 candidate. Each performer works to refine his or her dialogue. Bachmann, Perry, Romney and the rest of the cast move from stage to radio and tv, and anywhere else their voices can be heard, seeking to perfect their message.

The out of town auditions play in small venues in Iowa and New Hampshire for now, but they will be moving to a city near you sometime soon. Those whose acting doesn't measure up will be cut loose. Pawlenty has already suffered such a fate. Huntsman, Cain and others will follow in short order.

I had trouble that night in the Berkshires envisioning how "Lombardi" could translate to success on the biggest stage in the world. It seemed flat, and forced, lacking in depth and true examination of the heart and soul of its central character. Ultimately, even as it had a limited run on Broadway, it would fold.

As I listen to the words of the various Republicans, there is, much like "Lombardi", the unmistakable air of an unpolished and contrived play. Perry's words strike discordant and ugly tones, Bachmann fumbles and stumbles and Romney seems to have lost his voice completely. If one of the assembled is to become the lead in the Broadway version of this show next November, he or she will need a major rewrite.

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