Monday, June 16, 2008
the contrarian: The (Godawful) Tonys
Say what you will about The Oscarcast and its well-fed bloat, it isn't nearly as annoying or as pathetic as The Tonys, which seems to exist within a universe unto itself - a world of entitlement, driven by the bliss of delusion.
Nothing else explains the rampant pretention or the misguided, insufferable sense of self-importance and solipsism that New York's theater community regularly exudes, especially on Tony night.
It's as if everyone connected with what Variety calls The Rialto watched "All About Eve" once too often, committed Joseph L. Mankiewicz's sharp, scathing but highly artificial script to memory and now actually (mis)takes it for reality.
It's camp, people.
This year's show reached its nadir of snobbery when playwright Tracy Letts in accepting his award for "August: Osage County," thanked his producers specifically for mounting "an American play on Broadway with theatre actors." Take that, you lowly film actors, so presumptuous enough to dare think that you're actually good enough for the theatah.
Frankly, to be fair, just about all show-business awards shows are anathma to me. But this one is absolutely the worst.
And why is it that only show people shower each other with fawning, pointless adulation? Why don't carpenters celebrate their crafts?
Or plumbers even?
I'm dead serious.
Note in Passing: The only tolerable moment on this year's Tonys came when "Boeing-Boeing" best-actor winner Mark Rylance - the risk-taking actor who notoriously performed unsimulated, real sex on screen in Patrice Chéreau's "Intimacy" (2001) - handily deflated the evening's parade of poseurs by reciting an extended quote from Lewis Jenkins' prose poem "Back Country," in lieu of an actual acceptance speech. It prompted a head-scratching response from the supposedly sophisticated audience.
It wasn't Rylance who was bizarre; it was everyone else.
He was also dead serious.
(Artwork: Poster art for Mankeiwicz's campy "All About Eve" and the amusing Mark Rylance)
Posted by joe baltake at 7:47 AM