Wings of Desire @ the A.R.T

I haven’t written about it, because it unfortunately did sort of did live down to expectations.

As mentioned in the comments of an earlier post, a lot of the film’s success rides on it being a film, and it just didn’t translate well to the stage.

There were some nice touches:

  • Local NPR host Robin Young was featured actually reading the day’s news. (Nevermind that they played the intro to some other newscast, and the fact that hers is not actually a news show). It was also thematically serendipitous that her show is called “Here and Now”. It was a nice touch, but still not sufficient give a real sense of place, not the film was so rooted in Berlin.
  • Right from the beginning, these giant, thin, underlit streams of falling sand fell from above the stage onto the floor (specifically onto some kind of lighting unit), all the way through more or less the whole show. At first, I couldn’t tell what it was, but it looked like clouds flying past from an airplane window (if your airplane were going straight up, or if you were, say, an angel). And then, of course, they started to look like big hourglasses as the sand piled up. Clever.

I’ll not rant about every little thing, so here are my biggest gripes. The angels seemed very earthbound, and were upstaged by the actual trapeze artist. They were also much more buttoned down than Bruno Ganz in the film (whose look I have come to realize is a rip-off of Cary Grant’s look in The Bishop’s Wife, which I had not seen when I first saw Wings of Desire). Their seeming a little too uptight and cold and removed is actually somewhat necessary for the story to work. The actor who played Damiel in particular was way too laid back and physical from the start. The actor who played Cassiel, on the other hand, though scruffy, was actually quite good. He watched the mortals in a way that you could really see that he was watching them, and brooding; that’s hard to do on stage, because it can’t really be done with words or large gestures.

It wasn’t time wasted, but it probably would have been better to just rent the film again. (Have I mentioned how much I love the film? Go see it if you haven’t).

This one is for Holland/Dozier/Amin

If there were a giant Venn diagram of dorkdom, the slice where all the different brands of dork you have to be to get this is very thin indeed. Yet I suspect two or three of my readers to be in that slice, so I pass it along to you.

One or two others might even get the reference in this post’s title.

But Idi claimed he had done all the engineering, recording, and tech work. “Where are these engineers? Where are these men? Show them to me and I will honor them.” No one ever stepped forward to take that honor. Idi claimed he had “digested” the skills of certain producers. Gordy simply enjoyed giving out fewer paychecks.