Back from last night's dress rehearsal of Hughie, the Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of Eugene O'Neill's one-act mostly monologue, starring Richard Schiff (you'd remember him as Toby from West Wing but you wouldn't recognize him as Erie, the down-and-out Broadway johnny of O'Neill's world).
Richard Schiff rehearsal photo by Nella Vera.
For me, it was a mid-week adventure after a frustrating first half of the week at work. Journeys downtown on the Metro, with rain and wind threatening, fans heading to the Georgetown Hoyas game to compete with for a decent meal. Kinda exhausted and fed up before I even got to the play.
Picture it, a talker and a listener. The talker is full of what a big shot he is - name dropper, gets into all the best clubs, limos, Broadway, knows a guy that can get him all the best dope and dolls... yeah, you know the type. And the listener checks in and out of the talk, under the weight of this overbearing ego but stuck with it for the duration.
And then after I finished my meal, I headed to the play.
Yeah, my otherwise wonderful dinner at Ruby Tuesday's kindly gave me a preview of Schiff's performance of O'Neill's low-life character study, a warm-up act courtesy of a pot-bellied middle-aged Hoyas fan in the booth across from me loudly recollecting his glory days.
I will say my waiter/Night Clerk, Kevin, was a delight. I was undecided about dessert, so he brought me a plate with chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream, and cherry sauce all over. Yum! And he didn't put it on my bill. I hope I tipped him enough. Thank you, young Kevin, for being the sweet interlude in my two-act reality/fiction experience of one of the things I hate most about humanity: Middle-aged men full of shit.
Anyway, as a 50-minute one-act play, my friend and I felt that this production of Hughie might leave a typical theater-goer a bit short-changed. I recommend you eat out first and go on a night when the Hoyas are playing. (I suspect Caps fans are not so O'Neillesque.)
Hughie by Eugene O'Neill
Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre
January 31 - March 17, 2013
Doug Hughes: Director
Richard Schiff: "Erie" Smith
Randall Newsome: Night Clerk