Josh Burton and Rod MacDonald… an irrepressible team at the New Court Theatre
By Edith McCauley
By Edith McCauley
Opening the summer season at the New Court Theatre on the campus of Beloit College, Josh Burton and Rod MacDonald, the dynamic duo, give theater goers an evening of comedy, nostalgia and the reality of aging in todays complicated world. Two one-act plays, Eugene ONeils Hughie and David Mamets The Duck Variations, are the perfect vehicles for the two talented actors.
Hughie, set in a shabby New York hotel, is the home of Erie Smith (Burton), an inveterate gambler, down on his luck. Hughie is the night manager, whose only friend is dead. The entire play is a monologue that details a strange relationship between the naive clerk and the gambler whose focus in life is getting over. Convinced that his luck has vanished with the death of his friend, Erie bemoans his fate. Hughies replacement, Charlie (MacDonald), becomes the sounding board for the flawed Broadway con man. Tales of glory fade in the bright light of the real world. Burton keeps the action going with his recreation of a character that weve seen many times before.
The Duck Variations showcases Mamets genius with language. Two geriatric gentlemen meet in a park on Lake Michigan and define their world by the life and death of the ducks they observe on a daily basis. Irascible and irrepressible, the two old guys represent perfectly the experience of aging. The details enhance exactly. Georges box with his name and 911 embossed in bright red letters is his safety net. Containing everything he needs, including a sandwich and his crossword puzzle book, it represents security in an uncertain world. George (Rod MacDonald) and Imil (Josh Burton) become the beloved characters so much like those in Im Not Rappaport and Walter Matthaus and Jack Lemmons Grouchy Old Men.
Many friends were there on Saturday supporting two of the areas favorite actors. The season continues with Sea MarksJune 26-July 14 and Jacques Brel is Alive and WellJuly 17-Aug. 4. The theater is located at 134 W. Grand. You can get further information by calling (608) 368-3060.