|Young Buddy (Silvano Spagnuolo) and Sook (Alice Ripley)|
Top: Ashley Robinson, the writer Photo by Carol Rosegg
Monday, December 22, 2014
HOLIDAY RECALL, A Musical ChannelingTruman Capote's A CHRISTMAS MEMORY by Polly Guerin
On Thanksgiving it has become my tradition to revisit Truman Capote’s 1956 short story, “A Christmas Memory.” This nostalgic story with its riveting sentimentality has been made into TV specials, radio plays, an opera and now just when I thought that that was the end of its production life, a new musical, “HOLIDAY RECALL,” makes its debut at the DR2 Theatre in New York City.
CAPOTE'S CHRISTMAS MEMORY: The story itself, one of Capote’s earliest works, is rather biographical. It tells the story of a young boy named Buddy, whose parents are off on some travels or other entertainment, In the film version, Buddy has returned to the Alabama house where he spent the happiest part of growing up with his cousin and best friend, called Sook. In the movie, she was brilliantly portrayed by Geraldine Page, who evokes the character as a simple, country folk woman in her house dress and apron, the kind of woman you might find in a farm house kitchen.
FRUITCAKE PARTNERS: Together these unlikely companions spend most of their activity engaged in their pre-Christmas ritual discussing and making fruitcakes. They count their pennies that were stored in a jar under the bed and determine that they just had enough to purchase the ingredients and moonshine. With a rickety old baby pram as their article of conveyance they triumphantly walk off from the modest farm house to the village to purchase the condiments. The highlight of their tour is a visit to HaHa Jones, the moonshine purveyor, a man whose Native American Indian ancestry superimposes on his personality. He is a rather scary character, especially to young Buddy.
CELEBRATING DUO:This pair of unlikely characters end up in the farm house kitchen making numerous fruit cakes and carefully wrapping them, and sending them off in the mail addressed to assorted friends, random acquaintances and even dignitaries. The making of the cakes is a happy occupation and with the last bit of moonshine left in the bottle Sook and Buddy celebrate. Sook, however, makes the grave mistake of giving Buddy just a wee bit of the moonshine, and that is when Sook’s two haughty sisters in their finery arrive to scold Sook for serving alcohol to Buddy. With the inevitable serious consequences, Buddy is banished to military school and Sook is bereaved by the lost of the one dear friend she ever had. This is an uncanny relationship that tugs at your heartstrings and I wonder--- "Wouldn't it be wonderful, wouldn't it make a difference, for every lonely young child to have a person like Sook in their young lives!"
However, before the end of the film, Sook and Buddy spend one last Christmas together. They both secretly, make kites for one another, but life for Sook would never be the same, a few letters arrived from Buddy but that was short lived and sadly Sook passed away shortly afterward.
HOLIDAY RECALL Sorry, to be so verbose, now back to the musical, Holiday Recall. Alice Ripley, “Neck to Normal,” tony winner plays Sook and Buddy is played by Ashley Robinson According to a review of the musical by Vincentell in the New York Post, the shows fragile charm comes through best in numbers like “Mighty Sweet Music,” in which all seven cast members take up ukuleles.Vincentell says, “With musicals, as with gifts, the best things come in small packages.” Efficiently directed by Charlotte Moore for Irish Rep, the show has nostalgia layered on top of nostalgia. Your in for a treat!!! At the DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St. Shows are scheduled through January 4th. .Ticket info 212.727.2737.
Ta Ta darlings!!! PollyTalk is off to Holiday Recall this weekend to see my favorite film, now a musical. Fan mail welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Pollytalk’s Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column for the Blog of your choice on fashion, amazing women, remarkable men, hidden treasures or poetry