November 25, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Theater Review: Tale of a Teacher:

An aging, unpopular teacher reaches a crossroads at which life’s big questions stare him down en masse. The Browning Version,– Terence Rattigan’s 1949 play, follows English schoolmaster Andrew Crocker-Harris (an entirely breathtaking Bruce French) on his journey toward semi-retirement, a path strewn with feelings of failure in the classroom and agonizing evidence of matrimonial shortcomings.

Saddled with a heart condition, an ailment of the body that also overburdens his spirit, Crocker-Harris is about to leave behind two decades of teaching classical Greek literature, a subject that stands as the great love of his life. On his last day at school, Crocker-Harris learns from the outwardly gregarious, inwardly greedy headmaster, Dr. Frobisher (the always effective Orson Bean) that his pension has been denied. He also learns from his younger, more friendly replacement, Peter Gilbert (Michael Redfield), that the students dislike him more than he thought. Meanwhile, the protagonist’s serpent-tongued spouse, Millie Crocker-Harris (Sally Smythe), is visiting a much younger teacher, Frank Hunter (Michael Balsley), between the sheets.

There’s a bright spot in all this gloom, the relationship between the world-weary teacher and a student, John Taplow (a boyishly charming Justin Preston), who gives Crocker-Harris a parting gift that touches the seemingly untouchable older man to his core. When the teacher takes an awkward stab at sharing the joyful gift-giving moment with his wife, her rebuke plays precisely like a dagger piercing his heart.

The element that makes the story more heartbreaking than your average late-in-life set of crises, is the way in which Rattigan has crafted the character of Andrew Crocker-Harris. The character’s initial stiffness and total lack of emotional availability set us up for some serious pain when we glimpse him in unexpected moments of uncontrollable sadness. The text is in magnificent hands at Pacific Resident Theatre, with director Marilyn Fox delving deep into the complex pathos of a man whose British reserve and complete sense of disillusionment have forced him to live on an emotionally void island, disconnected from his fellow man. It’s no wonder his heart hurts.

French breathes utterly authentic life into the layered lead role. The actor seems to leave his own body to show us the complete heart, soul and mind of a man stranded.

Through January at Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Call 310.822.8392.

Related Posts

Mid-Century Jazz: Bringing the Jazz Club to Homes

November 7, 2020

November 7, 2020

Local quartet bring classic jazz from the 1950s and 1960s to a live setting By Sam Catanzaro Concerts in Los...

Forma Expanding to Main Street: Westside Food Scene

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

Westside Food Scene October 22, 2020 By Kerry Slater Forma Expanding to Main Street Popular Santa Monica Italian restaurant Forma...

Review: “Away”

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

“Away”Rated TV-14Season 1 – 10 One-Hour EpisodesReleased September 4th on Netflix In 2014 Esquire Magazine published a thorough article by...

Beloved Santa Monica Artist Passes Away at 99

August 31, 2020

August 31, 2020

Venezuelan born artist surrealist artist Luchita Hurtado passes away  By Toi Creel For some in Santa Monica, the name Luchita...

Brock on Your Block: Saturday Morning Neighborhood Jazz

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

In the latest Brock on Your Block, Phil discovers an impromptu Jazz Concert by the neighbors – a great way...

Film/TV Review: Upload

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

FILM/TV REVIEWUPLOADRated TV-MA30-Minute EpisodesSeason 1,10 Episodes Released on Amazon Prime May 1st Upload has the guise of a cute rom-com....

Edify TV: Santa Monica Place Food Court Vacancies

March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020

Another restaurant has closed in the Santa Monica Place food court, adding to the number of vendor vacancies. Learn more...

Fried Chicken and Doughnut Joint Closes Santa Monica Location

March 4, 2020

March 4, 2020

All Southern California Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken shut down By Toi Creel After an almost three-year-long stint, Astro Doughnuts...

Edify TV: Free and Affordable Meals for SMC Students

March 3, 2020

March 3, 2020

Santa Monica College has opened its first Everytable SmartFridge. Learn more about this program to make healthy meals affordable for under $5 (and...

Lazy Daisy Cafe to Reopen Doors With New Menu, Ownership

February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

Feb. 28 soft opening By Toi Creel A popular Santa Monica eatery-once planned to be closed for good – is...

Cinema at the Edge Film Festival Returns

February 19, 2020

February 19, 2020

February 21st to 23rd – Edgemar Center for the Arts By Staff Writer Housed at the Edgemar Center for the...

My Own Academy Awards

February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an organization founded by Louis B. Mayer to...