Here's the thing Rose, when you've worked on a newspaper copydesk, no matter how long or how long ago, thinking in headlines comes way too easily. Cute? Banal? Overused and outdated joke? A scoop of each dipped in sprinkles? Referencing movie titles is eternal. The last newspaper published on earth will probably have one.
I just returned from a matinee of a Will Eno play at Steppenwolf, so I got me a little theeeater on the brain. ("I always thought botulism was a good word for a philosophy of bad choices" or something like that. It was a good line. Got a good laugh.) If I were in Spain or Mexico, I'd nap away the hottest part of the day, but I am in Chicago so I catch the 3 p.m. performance. Afterwards, I linger at Whole Foods enjoying the a/c and dabbing myself with all manner of bio-dynamic/organic/quixotic emollients and lathering my shoulders with free sunscreen. Then I buy kale, shallots & a funky kombucha beverage. On the way in, I rode up Elston and took the North Avenue bridge over the river to Halsted (first bridge out for construction). I take a different route on the way home. The light is perfect—though not necessarily for the image above—just a few hours of a softer, kinder glow. And I meet Rickie, an ice maker at this 24/7 operation who comes out to see what I am doing, ask my name, ask if I am married, tell me I am just the cutest thing, and offer to show me the icemaker in the basement. What a kind and generous offer but, alas, me and my kale are wilting. I skedaddle.
I liked hearing Middletown, the play, more than I enjoyed seeing the performances. I'm a fan of Tracy Letts, as a playwright and an actor. Seeing him in action/or his work on stage is often satisfying. This was the first time I witnessed him overacting. In the scene where he is dying in a hospital room just down "the hall" from where a neighbor is giving birth (oh, obvious cycle of life) he begins gasping—the last, labored breaths of the dying—and he gets louder and louder. I believe that effect (with the lighting) is intended to draw the audience away from the new birth to his "room" but people seem to find it funny and it isn't. Someone laughs, then a few others join in. (There seemed to be more coughing than usual too). I want to yell: He is fucking dying you morons. Shut. Up. So, then Letts goes into a ridiculous, truly off-the-charts comical convulsion. A cartoon death. I really hope he was playing it up out of irritation and if so, then I love him even more.