Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Here’s a tip for any Bay Area-based SLIFR readers looking for a good live theater experience this weekend— Improper Ambitions: Two Women in the Paris Art World, a new production in the Theatre Rhinoceros at the Bella Union Theatre Company in San Francisco, has been getting some terrific reviews and will be closing its short run this weekend. The Bella Union Web site describes the play’s action thusly:

“From the doomed court of Marie-Antoinette to the radical Impressionist circle, two painters confront war, romance, and the French Academy in Paris. This exciting new play is based on the true lives of Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the queen's favorite portraitist, and Berthe Morisot, one of the original Impressionists… Written by Bella Union company member Christine U'Ren, and featuring a delightful ensemble cast, this production brings to life such luminaries as Marie-Antoinette, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Mary Cassatt.”

I haven’t been able to make it up north to see the play myself, but having seen several productions in the Bay Area over the past ten years or so featuring the work of actor Bruce Lundy* (who plays, among others, Degas, and who will soon, it seems, be adding the credit of producer to his already impressive resume with another upcoming theatrical project), I’d be willing to recommend seeing it based on his talent alone. Lundy has become one of the East Bay’s most respected and sought-after actors since entering the Bay Area theatrical scene over a decade ago; in powerful and inventive productions such as Taking Sides, A Man of No Importance, She Stoops To Conquer and his terrific turn as the Marlowe-esque noir alter ego of a frustrated writer in City of Angels, to name but a few, he has delivered a string of magnetic and thoughtful performances. If I were a betting man (and maybe I am), I’d say the odds are exceptionally good that Lundy, and the other members of the cast of Improper Ambitions, will deliver a engaging, enjoyable evening of theater. Catch it if you can—I wish I could.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I will now not-at-all reluctantly cop to the fact that Bruce Lundy is my best friend and has been for almost 30 years, and I’m thrilled to have some kind of forum to highlight the fine work he does on the Bay Area theater scene. Maybe next time I can deliver some good words before the onset of the closing weekend performances…

(Photo courtesy of the Bella Union Theatre Company)


Anonymous said...

OH man, is my face red. Thanks--you're far too kind, and I WISH I were one of the bay area's most respected, sought-after actors, though I'm certainly making good progress. Still, I appreciate all the very nice words about my stuff, and especially the plug for this wonderful show. I wish it had a longer initial run, but I'm sure this first production is just the beginning for the play--many thanks for giving it an extra boost!

Lester said...

WoW! I had no idea. If Dennis sez you are good, then you are good! Does he caption your plays so that I may enjoy one of them someday? :-)Ha Ha. Keep up the good work Bruce, who knows where it could lead!. Nice article Dennis, it feels especially good to drum up the positive of a great friend doesn't it.

Lester said...

Bruce, speaking of captioning a play, it can actually be done in an odd sort of way. Dennis and I had a freshman english teacher that would make us read and memorize a Shakespeare play as an assignment prior to taking the whole class to Ashland to see that play. Those of us who paid attention in her class were rewarded with the knowledge and understanding of what was really going on with the play onstage and it gave us greater appreciation of the performances of the actors and actresses performing the play. Dennis do you remember Martha Cory? My son and daughter were both in High School drama, I seldom missed thier plays, but I always managed to get the script to read prior to attending so that I could easily follow what was going on. So, if I ever get a chance to attend one of your production, all I would need is a script ahead of time, caption problem solved. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support, Murray, and for the great idea! I should mention it to my sister Laura, who's also an actor (and a director) and has a master's degree in teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing kids (I doubt that's the actual title, but you get the idea). It'd be great if sometime when I'm in a show you and Dennis could meet up w/me here, stay at my house, and I'd send you the script in advance. Haven't seen you and yours since the Round Up in '98!

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