Living in today’s post modern world is all about the speed, from moving to and fro physically to the time one has wait in order to get the thing or substance of desire. Such, when people are traveling, be it while driving a car, traveling or a plane, or using roller skates, the faster you go, the better it seems to be. The mentality of the classic bumper sticker “Drive like hell. You’ll get there” still rings tried and true!
As to wanting something, the wait time desired is even shorter, if it exists at all! When it comes to shopping for a specific good or service, speed really matters here. Unlike the speed one may go through while driving at 100 miles per hour, many people has that same notion to get things right away, akin to shopping at 1K MPH and higher.
Thanks to the good ol’ internet and the devices its attached to, it’s a whole lot easier to look for the goods or services one might want or need. A simple click of a mouse, a tap on a keyboard or glass screen, or a even simple app swipe will give one all of the options for the wanted and/or needed thing or another in order to grab what’s desired.
But when it comes to actually getting the good or service, that’s a whole other issue. Sure, it may be fun (or mentally exhausting, depending on how one looks at it) to shop on line. It beats wasting time and energy of trekking from one store to another to see what’s available. Once that is done, then it’s the time to get that hunted item. However, when one will get that whatnot is a totally complete saga as that stands.
The folks at Oracle conducted a marketing report called Consumer Views of Live Help Online released in March of 2012 that reported upon their notion of receiving assistance or help while on line through various platforms. Among the many facts and figures this report collected in the fall of 2011, it noted though their survey examining when one expects a reply over an issue of a question or complaint posted via the two biggest players in social media: Facebook and Twitter. The report stated that 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints posted at the newsfeed. 30% of other Twitter users expect a response within 30 minutes, 22% expect a response within two hours and 29% expect a same-day response. Within the Facebook world, 29% of consumers expect a response within two hours when they post a question at a company’s page, and 22% expect a same-day response.
When it comes to searching for goods, shopping in person can’t hold a candle to making a buy online in terms of speed and the ability of getting the goods right then and there. In another report filed by the accounting and marking firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in a report entitled Total Retail: Retailers and the Age of Disruption, nearly three quarters (73%) of those polled say they browse online, yet prefer making the actual purchase in a store. This method of shopping “the old fashioned way” is done in order to beat delivery fees (65%), or to have the item immediately or to try it on. (The latter two replies are tied with 61% each.)
In spite of what physical retailers may be fearing, people do want to come in to a store to get what they want just because when they make the commitment of purchase, they can get what they desire immediately! No waiting for the letter carrier/UPS/FED-EX person to arrive at one’s doorstep to deliver the item(s). Once at a store, the item can be placed within one’s hands. When it comes to a service, then demeaning it in person or through a live human still reigns on top.
This method of getting your junk now is called “Instant Gratification”, and many people, especially the demographic called Millennials (those born from 1981 onward) that had been weaned on today’s technology, getting what you want at a near moment’s notice is something that is expected, rather than an act that’s a privilege. Those in the middle, the Gen Xers, learned to wait. However, if they can grab it now, they will! It’s the ever present Baby Boomers–the demographic that supposedly hold the power, money, and fame, were the ones that learned to wait, because they learned how to get what they want with the lag time associated between first request and final end product.
There is (was?) an old saying that went something like “Rewards come to those who wait.” This phrase is augmented with another old(?) byline: “You snooze, you lose”. So as time and tide moves even faster in the go-go hurry up world that’s been hurrying up for longer than one may realize, perhaps there will be an app for the act where one can order a product only to have that same item delivered within a day’s time. Maybe there is an app for that already–unless one has to wait for it!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre West presents Jim Beaver’s VERDIGRIS, a drama between a budding student actor living in rural Oklahoma, the lady that serves as his employer, along with the family and others that she keeps, or keeps her.
The story takes place in 1972–not too many years before, in the town of Edgar, Oklahoma, home to two regional colleges, a lot of farmland, and nothing much else. Richard Muldoon (Adam Conger), a student in theater at one of those colleges, calls to an ad in the local paper for a spot working odd jobs along with getting aid for his tuition, at the once stately home of Margaret Felding (Sheila Shaw). Once upon a time, Margaret was a charming belle, being the desire of many a beau within the community. In the present age, she’s a widow, confined to a wheelchair, lost most of her sight, and holds a rather harsh and feisty attitude. She has many caregivers, yet treats her family consisting of her adult son Carl (David Goldstein), as well as the others around her with limited respect, although these folks do make an effort of giving respect back to her in spite of her not returning the token favor. Carl would like to take his mother into a nursing home where she would be taken care of, in addition to living in a much better place than her home; a place that’s been long falling apart due to age and neglect. Richard as an outsider, sees all of this as such treatment even affects him–now taken in as part of a family that he didn’t expect, let alone wanted!
This melodrama masterfully directed by Mark W. Travis, is a prime example of intense characters studies that playwright Jim Beaver creates. (He also appears in this play as Jockey, one of those characters that are part of Margaret’s so-called humble household!) This same play isn’t just a straight drama. There are bits of comedy relief abound, never leaning toward total seriousness yet sober moments do appear. The lead performer, Sheila Shaw as Margaret, is the prime focus. Most of the conflict and pathos revolves around her, although the rest of the cast stand out for their own, playing characters that one can possibly find in rural Oklahoma. These characters are far from sophisticated, teetering toward being friendly Midwestern type folk to part of a substance of a pack of backwoods hicks.(Okies in training?) That ensemble cast consisting of (listed in their alphabetical order), Katie Adler as Linda Hopkins, Cal Bartlett as Cater Cobb, Ian Lerch as Farley Kern, David Mingrino as Bruce Bagnall, Chloe Rosenthal as Bonnie Fern Fielding, Corinne Shor as May Bee Burley, and Dylan Vigus as Ben Bo Burley, hold on to that friendly attitude that should be part of the rural community that the story’s location fulfills. They do try to show their consideration to the center person who has been reduced to being an invalid; a term that Margaret’s hates, yet that is what she is!
As to the technical side of things, Jeff G. Rack creates a home setting that is well lived in yet run down, complete with peeling wallpaper, worn out fixtures, and other forms of discrepancy that displays a grand estate that isn’t as grand as it once appeared. And Naomi Carly provides the incidental transcribed opening song that sets the mood to what one will discover in this domain whose allure has long passed.
The title of this play VERDIGRIS, is taken from the term that describes the blueish rust- like residue found on bronze, brass, copper, and related metals that form due to time and oversight. That “rust” describes Margaret, her household, and the people within. However, it doesn’t describe the play itself! Theatre West first presented this play in 1985. Playwright Jim Beaver tweaked some of the play’s workings over that time, but after thirty years since its world premier, the stage piece holds up improving with its age rather than falling as a heap of green tinted corrosion found on formally elegant brass home fixtures. Time may not have been kind to the homestead where the action revolves, but the play is just as shiny and bright as a brass piece free from–well, verdigris!
VERDIGRIS, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until April 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for further information, call (323) 851-7997, or via online at http://www.TheatreWest.org
The Kentwood Players present the modern classic MAME, a stage musical journey about an orphaned nephew who is adopted by his eccentric aunt who teaches the child a few lessons on the extensive book of life.
Spanning a period of nearly twenty years, it tells the tale of Mame Dennis (Patricia Butler) who lives a free wheeling high spirited lifestyle in the heart of New York City. She hosts lavish parties and takes part in outlandish activities. Her young nephew Patrick (Anderson Piller) enters her life from the passing of her brother. Mame takes the kid in, only to introduce him to many of her friends and associates, along with the vices they possess. She feels that these life milestones and the people involved will enhance the child’s education with these needed lessons of life, even if those lessons can’t be taught through a stuffy textbook.
Adding in to these antics are Patrick’s nanny Agnes Gooch (Elizabeth A. Bouton), Mame’s “gal-pal” Vera Charles (Catherine Rahm), as well as Dwight Babcock (Harold Dershimer), the executor of Patrick’s late father’s estate. Through her vast experience along with the many ups and downs she faces, Mame shows to the world at large that she can and will live life to the fullest while others only starve themselves to death!
This show, with music score by Jerry Herman and book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, still continues to hold the charm and appeal that this musical has fulfilled for its nearly fifty years of existence. The rendering as presented by The Kentwood Players exhibits a tight production. Patricia Butler as the lead and title character fulfills her part in a vigorous manner. Her presence is as robust as the character she portrays. Patrick Dennis is played by two performers, the young Dennis at age ten played by Anderson Piller as previously noted, and as a young adult as played by Thomas Guastavino. The two match one another as they place themselves in their respectable eras, while Mame is still her eccentric self as she doesn’t age per se in spite of her freewheeling!
This show also boasts a huge ensemble cast as stage musicals of this type tend to do. The trait to hosting a production with a full ensemble doesn’t allow this column to acknowledge them all! But these players are just as important to keep this production moving along from scene to scene with a bevy of interesting background characters.
The music score is presented with a live five member orchestra lead by Mike Walker that also features Colleen Okida on flute, piccolo and violin, Jonathan Stehney on reeds, Brent Dodson on trumpet, and Nick Stone on keyboards and percussion. This musical ensemble adds to the liveliness this piece was meant to bring to the stage.
In addition to the live musical sounds, Lawrence Hatcher provides the choreography, Tony Pereslete creates the set design (complete with its spiraling staircase), and Maria Cohen designs the costuming. Many of the outfits are as lavish as the lead character’s matchless style of living life to the hilt.
Directed by Ben Lupejkis, MAME is a musical that is well liked and respected. The Kentwood Players showcase this time-tested classic as one that’s up close and personal. It’s community theater in its finest.
MAME, presented by The Kentwood Players, performs at the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Avenue (at 83rd Street), Westchester, until April 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Due to ticket demand, an additional 2pm matinee has been added on Saturday, April 18. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 645-5156, or on line at http://www.KentwoodPlayers.org
CORRECTION: In the review of Einstein Is A Dummy published in the previous issue (Vol. 20.-No. 10), the incorrect name was listed as the director. Derek Manson is the director of Einstein.
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