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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Second Look at "Yosemite" on 2-5-2012

Last Sunday afternoon I took in another matinee performance of Daniel Talbott's play "Yosemite" at the Rattlestick Playwright s Theater on Waverly Place. I wanted to let the play sink in after having seen the Jan. 22 preview before seeing it again. As I told Kate afterwards, all the performances, including hers, seemed much more natural and the play had found its rhythm since the previews and she readily agreed. I was also able to absorb more of the dialogue this time and complimented Kate on her heartfelt speech near the end of "Yosemite" about Julie's love for her late husband and their courtship. When she described her husband's hands as "long...beautiful" and broad shoulders, I could actually visualize Vincent as the husband, which I mentioned in my previously posted review of "Yosemite." Julie is the least sympathetic character in the play up until this moment, when she breaks down in front of her children and confesses her failings after that shocking fight with her eldest son Jake, who accuses her of abandoning her family after their father's untimely death-"You're guilty!" I was relieved that Jake's rant against his sister Ruby was slightly toned down in that he didn't throw the R-word at her as had occurred in the preview. Jake does claim that a teacher he disliked thought he was "retarded" and later muses about getting a job in another town and sending Ruby and Jer to live with Grandma so they could excape their miserable existence living in a dilapidated trailer on welfare, eating bad food and wearing ugly donated clothes.

Early on in the play, Ruby's nervousness while holding baby Nathan is palpable as she and Jer sit on the log while Jake is busy digging the hole in the winter earth that must be deep enough to conceal the remains of this unloved and neglected child from Julie's second marriage to ne'er do well second hubby Mike, whom Jake despises but Ruby calls "nice." Jer spends most of his time snapping twigs and silently observing his older siblings bicker and reminisce about their childhood in Mendicino where they "grew things" and raised chickens and goats. Julie also shares her girlhood memories as the first paper girl for her local newspaper and is rebuffed when she tries to hug Ruby. Later Julie lashes out at her children for being "ungrateful" that she used to make "fucking pancakes and apple butter" and accuses Jake of wanting to bury her in the hole with Nathan. After their brief but spectacularly profane row, Julie rambles on about the "haunted" forest being full of dead babies and women and the Native American custom of "feeding the trees" with their dead, a foreshadowing of her off-stage suicide while Jake, Ruby and Jer are dreaming of a brighter future away from their chronically depressed mom.

I had the chance to talk with Kate again after the matinee and was pleased to also meet Erika Hampson again. While we were talking outside on Waverly Place, who should happen to walk by but actor Josh Hamilton, who played Justin Reid on LO:CI episode "On Fire" during Season 5. He and Kate greeted each other and chatted briefly about the Superbowl and Kate invited Josh to see her play, but "not on Wednesday." Don't know why she told him that, because the second "Yosemite " talkback with playwright Daniel Talbott and the cast was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 after that evening's performance. I received an invitation to attend via e-mail from the theater, but didn't go because of the bad weather. I will attend the February 26 performance, which will be the last Sunday matinee.

Update: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater recently posted the news on their Facebook page that "Yosemite" has been extended throught March 3, 2012. Woo hoo!

After Josh Hamilton left, I continued to chat with Kate and Erika about "Yosemite" and "Robot and Frank," which recently debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Several other fans asked Kate about "Yosemite" and whether her character, Julie, actually did commit suicide off-stage and she confirmed it. We also talked about baby Nathan and how he really died, and Kate also confirmed that he was neglected by his parents and probably died as a result. I asked Kate how she and the other actors could keep up the level of emotional intensity needed during the play, particularly during the fight scene. She said "Oh, it's only one hour and twenty minutes, so it's not so bad." Modest, much? :)

My last question to Kate before leaving was about her plans after "Yosemite" ends its run. She said she didn't know what was next, but that "hopefully, more plays." I told her that NBC should give her a call and invite her to appear on "Blue Tilt" with Vincent. I was surprised to hear that she and Vincent hadn't spoken recently but I think she should be back on TV. I also think Kate could carry a network or cable TV series. If KyRa Sedgwick, Mary McCormack and Callie Thorne, among others, can do it, why not Kathryn Erbe? I might even start a Facebook page about this topic. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you took the the chance to see Yosemite again.