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Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Night At The Theatre… Finally!

Since March I’ve been working 60+ hours per week in film production, which has left little time to check out theatre, or any other of my favorite pursuits. It seems like ages since I’ve been to a concert, cooked a gourmet dinner, flown a kite, hiked the canyon, gone bowling (well… not going bowling has been a conscious choice), or gone on a road trip to wherever the wind blows.

My sense of adventure has taken the backseat to work. And we all know that all work and no play leads to depression, bitterness, and incontinence.

I was feeling all that and more, so last Thursday night I ventured to the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles to see “The History Boys.” I really didn’t know much about the production except that it won acclaim and numerous awards in Britain where it debuted, and subsequently on Broadway. It was made into a movie last year but I never found time to see it (again, work took precedence). I just figured that if it earned this much acclaim it must be worth seeing.

As the lights dimmed and the stage lit up I was full of anticipation, and I wasn’t disappointed.

“The History Boys” is the story of eight history students in the North of England in the 1980s that are working hard at gaining acceptance into Oxford and Cambridge. Their pursuits are guided by an overly zealous headmaster, a headstrong teacher with a non-conforming teaching style, and a new teacher who wants the boys to think above and beyond what they’ve been taught. As the play unfolds sex, camaraderie, acceptance, loyalty, and dark secrets are confronted.

The play uses a large video screen above the stage to move the story forward. At first it was a bit jarring mainly because I’ve never experienced this in a major theatre production before. Once I realized what was happening I found it rather exciting. It was device that worked. The video used 80s music and that MTV fast paced editing to keep the action going.

Under the direction of Paul Miller this incredible play written by Alan Bennett shines with a wonderfully talented cast. Most notable are Dakin Matthews as the headstrong teacher, Peter Paige as the new teacher, and Alex Brightman as the sexually confused student.

“The History Boys” is definitely worth seeing. Don’t miss it.

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