I had a week of an embarrassment of riches, starting with Wolf Hall, Part 1, on Wednesday night, a gift from Canadian critic friend Slotkin (The Slotkin Letter). Very different from the PBS version, but same dialogue, plot. How different? The wit. The theatricality of the lighting. A stage audience responds, responds to being there, in the moment. This is not to say the PBS version isn’t brilliant. It is. And I think Mark Rylance can do no wrong. But on stage, it’s gloriously Shakespearean.
On Saturday, it was The King and I at Lincoln Center. A rich and beautiful revival. A real overture. Wow. The sensational score. Kelli O’Hara was perfect as Anna. And Ken Watanabe? His great performance, washed away all memory of Yul Brynner. The audience cheered when “Shall We Dance” began. I found myself a little teary. As the theater filled, and it was packed, I saw a lot of grandmas with mostly little girls. Before the curtain, Fathers took children down to see the orchestra pit. The proscenium was gorgeous as were the house curtain, the costumes, the supporting players, the voices. This is theater as it should be. Thrilling. A major event. Congratulations to director Bartlett Sher and Lincoln Center Theater.
Read Euphoria for my book group, which meets tonight. It’s not something I would have chosen, but I liked it. Good writer, Lily King. And while there wasn’t really anything graphic in it, I found the atmosphere sensual. Now reading comfort food: Lee Child’s Never Go Back, which I plucked out of the pile. I also found Bethlehem Road Murder, one of the late Israeli crime novelist Batya Gur’s novels. Probably bought it after I read one of her earlier novels. I like translated crime novels. They are much denser and while the murder does turn up early, they don’t get right to the point and zip along as ours must for our readers.
My short story “Wang Dang Doodle” (along with 22 others by terrific writers) was published by Three Rooms Press this week in the anthology Dark City Lights, edited by Lawrence Block. On May 7th, 6:30, at the Mysterious Bookshop, there is to be the official “launch.”