A crisis of journalistic ethics
So here I’ve been blogging just over a month, and already I have a crisis of journalistic ethics.
Gail and I went to see Coming Home at Berkeley Rep last night. I have some things to say about it.
But it is still in previews, and it is considered bad form to review a play before its official opening, which is next Wednesday. In theory, this is to give the production time to perfect the performance and make any last minute tweaks needed. In practice, this play was performed in New York already, and they know what they are doing.
What to do, what to do? I’d hate to lose my Ted Koppel cred so early in the game. What if the New Yorker likes what I write, but can’t have a preview-reviewer in its ranks?
Well, I can tell you what is in the program, at least:
Time magazine calls Athol Fugard “the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world.” Now South Africa’s master dramatist comes back to Berkeley Rep with a new show: Coming Home. Ten years after running off to the city to pursue her dreams, Veronika returns in rags. Among her meager belongings, she carries a desperate secret—and determination to plant the seeds of a new life for her son. It’s a “sad, sweet, and gently moving” show, says the New York Times, “a beautifully acted production directed by Gordon Edelstein.” In Coming Home, Fugard once again confronts the hard truths of his homeland while celebrating the power of hope.
The acting was stupendous. One comes to expect excellence from the Equity Actors of Berkeley Rep, but this performance includes two children–one of whom, Kohle Bolton, is only 5 years old. His performance was every bit as professional as that of Roslyn Ruff, the lead player with the Harvard MFA.
Athol Fulgard writes of the troubles of his home country, South Africa. His stories are all allegories, reflecting in small personal experiences the history and future of two troubled cultures clashing violently in the small townships and large cities. Gail and I both felt that while the first act was deep and captivating, the second act denouement was either too simplistic to be taken seriously, or so deep it just went right over our heads. I’m leaning on the former theory.
I hope I haven’t blown my career as a big city Mr. First Nighter, but I just had to say something. If you see it next week, leave a comment.