File puptcrit/puptcrit.0601, message 310

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 03:34:48 -0800
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Jay Johnson- The 2 & Only



I think your review of the review is excellent and makes some very 
good points.  I think you should send it to the editors of the L.A. Times.

-Bob Stone

At 02:04 AM 1/26/2006, you wrote:

>I have known Jay for many years, and was a big fan of his work on 
>the 1970s TV success, SOAP, but I have never had the chance to see 
>him work live until Wednesday night in West Los Angeles.
>The Los Angeles Times review of the show appeared Wednesday morning. 
>The damn review starts with an unoriginal variation on the old joke 
>about the puppeteer's hand up (implied) the puppet's butt. Methinks 
>Charles McNulty protests too much. I can't help wondering what 
>physical problem is bothering him. And he needs fresh material to 
>engage the discerning reader. I might add that it took a puppeteer 
>to tell that joke with greater skill. I think anyone who ever saw 
>Wayland Flowers would agree.
>McNulty calls the show "unremarkable" though "genial", as if a 
>genial show today is somehow not remarkable. I disagree.
>The show is kind of a biography of a ventriloqist, and yes, the 
>ventriloquist beares the curse, God forbid, of being naturally 
>genial as well as gifted.
>McNulty, the wannabe shrink conjects the "loneliness that must have 
>been the driving force" which directed Jay into vent puppetry. Oh 
>puhleeeese! No wonder Sigmund Freud has fallen into disfavor.
>As a kid I provided other voices at home, when playmates weren't 
>available. My mom often thought we had guests. Well, chalk it up to 
>an artistic gift called IMAGINATION which can be shared with 
>AUDIENCES, which is exactly what Jay is doing at the Brentwood Theatre.
>Which is one reason I recommend that puppeteers in Los Angeles and 
>New York GO and SEE!
>Our commercial culture is so sated with Hollywood & celebrity 
>gossip, that we seem unaware of the mess much of the world is in. 
>And few of us are nudging our senators and representatives to change 
>course. A bit of talented geniality offers a welcome respite.
>But McNulty wants the lowdown on what went wrong when SOAP ended. He 
>just may have missed the point---the show is about why Jay IS a 
>ventriloquist, NOT about backstage bitch-fests.
>All is not lost in the L.A. Times review: he somehow manages to 
>mention the importance of vaudeville ventriloquist Arthur Sieving, 
>Jay's mentor and carver of Jay's first professional figure and the 
>connection which existed between generations--the 17 year-old Jay 
>and an old guy in his 70's who shared a great love of ventriloquism. 
>Well, that is what brought tears to my eyes. I can't guess how many 
>of the non-puppet world will "get" the import of this but having 
>asked many puppeteers who were their mentors and their inspiration, 
>I know there will be tears similar to mine  among the puppeteers who 
>see "The Two and Only", and judging from the audience around me, 
>that resonse will not be limited to puppeteers and vents.
>What is disturbing about many theatre reviews is that the reviewer 
>missed the point of the evening. So something in the review was 
>missing, resulting in disappointment in this newspaper reader.
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