Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An English Professor's Opinion on Redshirts

Mr. B. has previously
posted on the St. Paul production of Redshirts at the Penumbra Theatre as well as a Washington Post review of the same play at the Roundhouse theater in Maryland.

Margaret Soltan, the author of University Diaries, recently attended the play and has posted her reaction to it.

A few choice words:

UD's basically impressed by the play, but she agrees with the reviewers who say that the author tried to pack much too much - plot, character, idea - into it.

And they're really keen [the players] on English lit too. The funniest scene in the play -- and it's a smart, well-written play -- is a poetry-analysis practice session with coach, when the guys try to make sense of Emily Dickinson:
My nosegays are for captives;
Dim, long-expectant eyes,
Fingers denied the plucking,
Patient till paradise,

To such, if they should whisper
Of morning and the moor,
They bear no other errand,
And I, no other prayer.
The many ways the guys say what the hell? are hilarious, and UD loved it.

The English professor is a thankless role in this sort of drama -- if she doesn't care, she's contemptible; if she does, she's a scathing schoolmarm destroying the school and the players' prospects. As this character pursues sanctions against team members for cheating, one of them says to her: "You think the coach is gonna let a pissant professor knock out his game? He makes two million dollars a year."

The play concludes a bit awkwardly -- its plot meanders and never finds enlightenment -- so that UD doesn't leave the theater with the aesthetic payoff she'd have liked. But the heart of the thing is pure, with a pure appraisal of the inhumanity at the heart of Division I university football.

[What the hell? is bolded in the original. I've bolded the other two sentences.]

Ciao, Bonzo

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