Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Review
A second text that seems part of the scaffolding here is Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and The Murderer. Malcolm's non-fiction novel arose from a libel case between convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald and his biographer Joel McGinness, who first befriended and then vilified his subject. Malcolm couldn't help but pass judgment not only on McGinness's ethics, but that of his entire profession. She memorably pronounced that a journalist is a "kind of a con man."
A spare bedroom, attached to what appears to be Section 8 housing, is the play's physical universe. Bed for sleeping, closet for wardrobe, desk for writing, and videocam forů confession. We're not told why, but Early is "coming clean." This is the story of his rise and spectacular flameout. It is a tale about the pursuit not of happiness, but of avarice.
For the evening to work, and it does, actor Chris Pine must command. He is a churl, but with considerable charm. The type you could admire from afar, but wouldn't trust to deliver a letter, much less trust with your life. By his own admission, Early's star was born when he managed to marry his facility for guile with a talent for letters. And voila— he emerges a celebrated journalist at the local paper, The Tribune, by exploiting a news angle for a frontpage exclusive. Early maps the trajectory of his ascent by leveraging the players in his life: his mother, the newspaper's editor, a girlfriend who herself aspires to fame, a mayor with a peculiar fetish. All are human chess pieces, and the consequences of his actions don't seem to ruffle the young man's feathers. For a time.
There have been a handful of plagiarists unmasked this year, from Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan to memoirist James Frey. But this tale is less about fudging the facts than the manipulation of the fame factory itself. What is already an intriguing monologue becomes in the hands of Chris Pine a thrilling ride. In the age of insta-celebrity and of YouTube where Macacas and LAPD are exposed for their brutality, The Atheist is not to be condemned, but savored.
The theater critic from Variety found the events in the play to beggar belief. Where was he in the week where Litvinenko, an ex-Russian spy, was poisoned to death, possibly by Putin himself—when a leaked White House memo forced the Prime Minister of Iraq to cancel a meeting with the President who laughed behind his back? What is disarming here is the revelation of a man with a worldview so corrosive and cynical that he would sacrifice his own happiness for a whiff of success. And to what extent is this a national epidemic?
Links to Other Plays by Ronald Noone:
The Blowin of Baile Gall/
The Lepers of Baile Baste
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide