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Moonlight and Magnolias

by Ron Hutchinson

Guess what just went to the top of my Netflix queue? That's right, the epic Gone with the Wind. It's been years since I saw the film and this play put me in the mood for a little melodrama! What a witty, fun, funNY, play Mr. Hutchinson has written! What happens when you lock one desperate producer, one passionate director, and one talented but hasn't-read-the-book-he-has-to-turn-into-a-screenplay writer in a room for five days with only bananas and peanuts for nourishment? You get one of the greatest movies of all time. You also get one helluva funny play about said movie.

Why only bananas and peanuts, you ask? Well apparently:
The digestive juices get mixed up with the creative ones. It's a scientific fact.
Now I know why I can never eat before shows.

This isn't just a superficial door slamming farce, however.. there are moments that go beyond the comic and reach into your heart and give that heart a little massage. Ben, the writer, who strives to "make America look its ugly mug in the face," says to Selznick: 
You remember Plato's cave? Plato says we're like men staring at the wall, seeing flickering shadows from the fire behind us, trying to figure what they mean. What's that but a movie theater? Forget these goddamn melodramas and make something about real people for a change, living real lives. 
The two of them make convincing arguments about the power of the cinema and Vic Fleming illuminates the many difficulties of being a director. To Ben:
Are you going to sit up to midnight because your actors refuse to come to work because they don't like the color of their shower curtains? Are you going to hold their hands, let them put their heads on your shoulders, listen to their life stories when all you really want to do is punch them in the nose and tell them, it's acting, just turn up and say the line, damn it?
Bet some Company Managers feel Fleming's pain! All in all, this play takes us on a zany yet heartfelt journey into the process of creating talking pictures. And America sure loves her movies. After all -- "It's only in the movies where the dead can walk. You have any other way to live forever?"

Wednesday Play-a-day: The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane

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