Monday, April 2, 2007

And Speaking of Weather...

Many of my friends believe that Global Warming is a case of Chicken Little, a melodramatic non-crisis encouraged and staged by alarmists.

I don't agree with them.

And I am somewhat encouraged by the actions of the Australians today. It was lights out. Read about the chosen darkness here.

Lots of Weather We're Having, Eh?

Yesterday, we walked for almost 4 hours.

First, we covered most of Queen Elizabeth Park, including visiting the macaws and parrots perched among the exotic plants of the Bloedel Conservatory. We considered playing Pitch & Putt Golf, but at $11.75 per, plus a dollar for each club, plus balls and tees, this seemed an unnecessary extravagance.

Then, after enjoying a wonderful coffee and pastry outside at the Epicurean Deli, we went to Kits Beach and beyond to the rocks and sand and huge, gnarled driftwood below Point Grey Road.

In all, between both our tiny digital cameras, we snapped 80 photos. Too often, the bright and most welcome sunshine washed away faces.

Then, last night, at about 11 pm, a snowstorm hit.

What the devil?

Remembering a Great Actress

I’ve been thinking about Anne Bancroft.

It’s not often that an actor finds the perfect role and then inhabits the role so utterly that we can scarcely imagine another person doing it.

Lerner & Lowe wrote the songs especially for Rex Harrison.

Could anyone other than Brando have been Terry Malloy or Don Corleone?

The list of people who were offered and turned down the lead in Lawrence of Arabia is astonishing. But finally, there is O’Toole up there. Singular and unforgettable.

So, just think of the impact that Anna Maria Italiano had in her five decades on stage and in the movies and television…as Anne Bancroft.

And look at these two – that’s right, not one, but TWO – characters that she completely owned: Annie Sullivan and Mrs. Robinson, above.

The other day, I caught the last act of The Miracle Worker. Bancroft won both the Tony and the Oscar for playing the role of Helen Keller’s teacher on stage and in the film. Patty Duke was young Helen, blind and deaf and wild and unteachable.

The climactic moment happens at the well. Annie Sullivan is making an out-of-control hysterical animal-like Helen pump the water. She repeats over and over the finger signs for the letters, w-a-t-e-r, when suddenly the world stops. Where there has been nothing until now, no hint of cognition or recognition, no connection between substance, sound, touch, idea and language, suddenly The Dawn appears. Helen gets it. Then she gets ground and face and Mother and Father and teacher.

I confess. Every time I see this moment, including but a few days ago, I behave crazily. I yell and scream and sob and cry. It seems to touch something so elemental and primal in me that I just completely lose it. It seems to me one of the great moments ever put on film.

If you’ve never seen this classic, I encourage you to rent it now. But be warned. Its power is irresistible.