Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 24, 1975 · Page 113
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 113

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 24, 1975
Page 113
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i t * i * « J ' Frolicking in an Edgar Allan Poe nightmare By Martha Smith Before I cease, desist and otherwise discontinue writing about my remembrances of the National Critics Institute, I want to leave- you with one final word: tacky. The conference wasn't tacky. It was wonderful. What was tacky was the crumbling mansion thai served to house the critics. Lest anyone think my time was spent in luxury and splendor. I will set the record straight. The O'Neill theater foundation folks '-- sponsors of the National Playwrights Conference and National Critics Institute -- leased one of the oldest houses in Waterford. Conn., to house the critics. Regrettably, the house was in the throes of a $100.000 romodi'linn job. which c e r t a i n l y was long over- due.To say that nothing worked in the house -- nicknamed The Villa by the critics - is gross understatement. There were, for instance, no window screens. It goes without saying there was no air conditioning. Every insect known to man dined each night on fresh critic. ic. My room could easily have inspired one of Edgar Allan Poe's more macabre stories -- even before I settled in. The bed was canopied and partially shrouded in dark, musty velvet hangings. They may have been brown or black. With all the dust it was hard to tell. Other delights of The V i l l a i n eluded seven televisions, none of which functioned, and a number of bathrooms with faulty plumbing. For several days, the women critics waded around in raw sewage because the toilet was on the frit/. The shower never really worked properly during the one-month stay. lising any electrical implements -- hair dryer; clock; lamp, typewriter - was equal to taking one's life in one's hands. The house was so old and the wiring so antiquated that the lights constantly were dimming and brightening, dimming and brightening. I predicted early on that we all would be featured in a remake of the burning of Tara before it was over. The closest we came was a breakdown at the fuse box that plunged the entire second floor into darkness just as everyone was frantically trying to complete reviews in time to meet a deadline. Certainly the most remarkable element in our accommodations was the owner of the house. Although he was supposed to vacate the premises, he fudged a little on the deal. We were awakened each morning with the sound of hammering and electrical sawing as the landlord and another workman made like Dickens and Fenster on the front porch. (The front door, incidentally, had a lock that did not work, rendering the keys for which we each plunked down $5 utterly useless. The favorite trick of the landlord, however, was sudden appearances. He always materialized to fix the plumbing just as the women were hustling around on the second floor in various slates of undress, preparing to go to the theater. It never failed. There we were in our undies, and he appeared, whistling. "Hi. It's me," he smirked. "Just making sure everything's okay." What better way to learn about theater of the absurd? FOOTLIGHT FOOTNOTES: Charlestonian Bob R. Patterson, an intern with the Barter Theatre in Abingdon. Va.. is appearing in a production of "La Ronde," a comedy set in Vienna in the 1880's . . . Ralph Goodall, a St. Albans native, is p e r f o r m i n g in the musical "George M" in a dinner theater just outside New York City . . . Melea Haines, who used to sing, dance and act up a storm at George Washington High and with the Guild, Kanawha Players and Children's Theater, recently performed in "The Boy Friend" and "Godspell" aboard a showboat owned by the City of Cincinnati. There's talk of touring the "Godspell" production . . . During one of my junkets up north, I attended a performance of "Very Good, Eddie," at the Goodspeed Opera House. The Goodspeed, dedicated to performing obscure musicals, did a splendid job with this 1916-vintage Jerome Kern musical comedy. Bill Wiant has fond memories of "Very Good, Eddie." He played it in Wheeling at the Court Theatre in 1926 with a professional road company, and remembers all but two of the cast members. Very good, Bill .'. . BSM^MMUllE \ DUPONT TEDLAR 5 UUMWMAWIMC SALES And the decor! Ah well, where to begin? The spacious living room looked for all the world as one would imagine an 18lh century French bordello. Red carpet, red velvet hangings from windows 'and entranceways. Gold velvet sofas strewn about. Gold baubles and ropes tying back the velvet dr.aper- ies. An out-ot-tune grand piano. At any moment. I expected Madame Bovary to appear. From French brothel downstairs, the upstairs was a turn to the Golh- NatiM'$#l wireless BUMLM/FRE ALARM SYSTEM protect yew aritaintss ·tth «l SECURITY SYSTEM CALLTODAY WCKCICCARELLO 342-3222 AMERICAN ACADEMY BALLET ANDRE VAM DAMME, DIRECTOR BALLET MODERN FOLK ACROBATICS 213 KNIGHT BUIDMG, HUMMER STREET FOR PIE-SCHOOL TDINCN MULT lEGBTIATION 3W-1S11 342-8541 Monday "FIRECREEK," .(1968) '**%; .7 . p.m.. (D with Henry Fonda and James Stewart/It's the timid sheriff against the gangleader, whose men are terrorizing the town. ' ·· "THE LEGEND OF LIZZIE BORDEN," (1975) "'/i, 9 p.m., 3). A carefully handled version of the famous Lizzie Borden murders, which casts no new, light on the Massachusetts legend, but entertains in its fashion. Elizabeth Montgomery has a tour de force in the complex role of the celebrated ax : murderess and capable Ed Flanders scores in the chief supporting role of the District Attorney who tries to convict Lizzie of the heinous crime. -. ·- ' . ' · · "ON THE WATERFRONT," (1954) ****. 9:08 p.m.. (D with Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. Forceful, super-charged melodrama about the docks of New Jersey--the workers, the bosses, the criminals, and their families. Brilliantly acted by all with Marlon Brando a superb standout. +· "MAROC 7," 11987) **. 11:30 p.m., O 3D. Gene Barry is a secret agent after clever jewel thieves. Slow chase, nothing exceptional: Klsu Martinclli. ('yd Charissi 1 . and ,!«V3holi]rKllj()U ajrv.iiJii.i.-HJ,,.,.;.; WILLIAM HOLDEN STALAG 17 Life In A German POW Camp STEVE MCQUEEN BULLITT Super T h r i l l e r 1 TONIGHT 7 P-W. .i"^livT'"'^^^^"''^''- t!1 ' r "'"'"""'"' ' UJOOJ CHARLESTON,,

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