Monday, December 29, 2008

Parabasis: It's A Norbert Leo Butz Smackdown!:

But I also sympathize with something that I think underlies Mike's comments on this whole thing (and Mike, if I'm misrepresenting your feelings about this, please let me know!) the whole coverage of the Butz/Macy drop in has been deeply strange.  Jeremy Piven left the show (exciting and weird story!). With Piven leaving, audiences who had already bought tickets are allowed to demand their money back.  The producers smartly chose two interesting and well-known enough actors to keep some swath of their advance sales from doing that.  Good on them.

But it hardly makes either Norbert Leo Butz or William H. Macy heroes, which is how they're being discussed in the press. They're famous, well compensated last-minute fill-in actors.  This is what actors do, it's part of the theatrical life.  Something breaks, theatrefolk turn it around quickly. Sometimes, actors have to do it on the fly in the midst of a show, because the wrong prop has come out, their costar has gone up on their lines, a piece of scenery breaks etc.  These are thrilling moments in live theater, sure, but it seems weird to treat Butz and Macy like they saved America in WWII for doing their jobs. I'm excited they're joining the show because I like both of them as actors (like I said, Norbert Leo Butz is one of my favs, and I actually saw Macy in a tour of Oleanna before he was famous and he was terrifyingly brilliant) but in a way, their part of the story is the most everyday. . It's hardly a mitzvah to agree to appear on Broadway without having to do a lot of the advance press and marketing bullshit and get paid to do a really fun part that everyone's now paying attention to since the previous guy was a douchebag who left.

It's only a favor if you think doing a play at all is a favor, and that we should be greatful that Macy and Butz, are condescending to appear in the show (TO BE CLEAR: I don't think this is how Macy and Butz are approaching it, I'm talking again of the press coverage).  That kind of self-loathing gets my hackles up.

(of course for marketing the show, it's fucking brilliant. my hat goes off to whoever pitched all of the articles about Speed that appearing everywhere.. How do we make it seem awesome that our lead actor doesn't know his lines?)