I gotta say: Living in a time when the ice caps are melting, bees are dying out and the end of the Chevy is nigh, it's as reassuring as a glass of Makers by the fireplace to know that New York playwrights still hate L.A. I was reminded of this becalming fact last night during a performance of Douglas Carter Beane's smash comedy, The Little Dog Laughed. This sendup of Hollywood industry types, and their attitudes toward literature and to homosexuality, was the toast of New York when it opened Off-Broadway early in 2006, and again when it moved to the Cort Theater on the Great White Way later that year. It's a viscerally jokey piece but I'll leave it to L.A. Weekly theater editor Steven Leigh Morris to analyze it in his review today. (See his Stage Raw blog, immediately above.)
Julie White as Hollywood agent Diane
Photo by Craig Schwartz
I'll admit to being a sucker for Tinseltown farces, although I didn't find Dog to match the intensity of Arthur Kopit's The Road to Nirvana or Craig Lucas' The Dying Gaul. Still, I was waiting for the line that killed New York and which was quoted in seemingly all the reviews there: “We don't have a problem with cell phones in the theater in this town,” says Diane, Beane's Hollywood agent character. “We've simply stopped doing theater altogether.”
Now, two things here: One, the audience at Culver City's Kirk Douglas Theater went beserk with laughter, showing how universal (or masochistic) comedy is. (The line also figured in a Steven Leigh Morris piece about New York theater and one about its attitudes toward L.A.) But Two, I can think of plenty of times cell phones have gone off during New York theater performances. Still, as I say, there's something comforting in the way that part of New York's economy depends on bashing L.A., even though I'd imagine the play's many cell phone gags would have had a tired creak to them by 2006.
Oh well, I thought, leaving the theater, let them have their jokes. I took even more comfort when I realized that not a single phone had gone off during the show's two hours.