Grey Gardens at the Ahmanson

Gordon and I left early for the Music Center last night; I wanted to drop off a note to Betty Buckley before the show. Then we went down to Kendall’s for a glass of wine and some soup. Our last experience at Kendall’s had been so abysmal that I didn’t want to go back ever but Gordon pointed out that it hadn’t cost us anything and he wanted some french onion soup. So we peeked in the door, saw that one of the regular bartenders was on duty, and decided to give it another shot. The maitre d’ who’d been so snotty last time groveled a bit but I wouldn’t even look at him. Chris the bartender took our orders and asked if we wanted to watch Jeopardy. We did but even he couldn’t get the remote from the desk. Don’t know what they have against Jeopardy but at least we didn’t have to watch the CNN loop; the tv was set on the Olympics and that was bearable. The soup was good, we got our bread, and the wine was drinkable. But I still didn’t want anything to do with management. I think it’s going to take a lot more groveling.

We got to our seats at the Ahmanson and Betty Buckley’s assistant introduced herself in response to our note to Ms. Buckley. I suppose I should explain why we even sent the note. Rina Reynolds, one the PR people at South Dakota State University, knows that we attend the theater frequently so she asked if we had tickets to Grey Gardens. Of course we did. She said that she’d mentioned to Betty Bob Buckley, the wife of a past SDSU professor who apparently has a soft spot in her heart for the Jackrabbits, that we had tickets. Through Rina, Betty Bob told us “to tell Betty Lynn that two Jackrabbits were in the audience!” So we typed a little note on a Prairie Is My Garden (SoDak people will know what I’m talking about) note card telling Ms. Buckley that her mother wanted her to know that two Jackrabbits were big fans and were looking forward to the performance. Ms. Buckley’s assistant explained that there would be a 30 minute Q&A after the show but Ms. Buckley would be happy to see us after that. So we stayed for the Q&A (Gordon thought it would be rude to bail).

The show was great. The music was intelligent although there weren’t any hummable tunes. Rachel York played Big Edie in the first act and Little Edie in the second. She was incredible. I liked the second act better because the two leads (Buckley played Big Edie) played off each other beautifully. It was sad to see the intelligent, talented Beale women so trapped and helpless. They couldn’t really do anything for themselves–including cleaning. They hadn’t been brought up to it. It made me appreciate being born not rich. At least I know how to take care of myself. Working people have to. People born rich seem to think manual labor is beneath them. So when the money runs out, they’re screwed. The dialogue was comedic but you couldn’t laugh at these women. I guess they were doing the best they could in a world they didn’t understand. It was a lovely production. I recommend it.

The Q&A was informative about the acting process that went into the development of the characters. Then we went backstage to meet Ms. Buckley. I promised that I’d tell Betty Bob we’d seen the show and we got a picture. The meet & greet didn’t last long; everybody was tired. But it was nice. (I hate this picture; Gordon looks great but me? Ish.)

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About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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