One of Roger Rees’ lesser-known roles

by Anne E. Johnson

As a besotted fan of the late Welsh actor Roger Rees, I collect the many works to which he contributed. Audiobooks and made-for-TV movies are especially fun ones to find. Yesterday I acquired a TV film called God’s Outlaw, about proto-Protestant William Tyndale, who risked his life to translate the Bible into English during Luther’s early days.
 
To be honest, I was dreading it, but I braved a viewing out of love for Roger. With the story’s shamelessly subjective bent in favor of Church of England (apparently only the Catholics ever did anything ill advised or selfish), it should have been unwatchable nonsense, yet it was surprisingly well done. Then again, when you people a cast with nothing but classically trained British character actors, there’s only so bad a piece can be. I particularly enjoyed Keith Barron as the fickle and irascible Henry VIII.
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Roger Rees as William Tyndale in “God’s Outlaw.”

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Daniel M. Wolpe explores Jewish film archetypes in his play “Forever Intertwined”

Daniel M. Wolpe has written a one-man show that’s very close to his heart. He’ll be performing it in February. Busker Alley asked him to talk about this special work.

Busker Alley: In brief, what is this play?

Daniel M. Wolpe: “Forever Intertwined” examines the six archetypes of Jewish male characters that are found in the movies, and explores who these people actually are.

Why did you write this?

I wrote it for two reasons.  First, I wanted a new one-man show to perform. (I had been performing my other one-man show, “Dear Jeremy” for close to 30 years.) Second, I have always been fascinated by how Jews are portrayed on stage and screen.

What sort of research did you do?

Each character has a profession in the play and I had to research the history of aluminum siding, arachnology (the study of spiders), selling cars, and advertising.

What has it been like performing material you are emotionally attached to?

It has been a lot of fun.  I haven’t felt this creatively fulfilled in a very long time.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing “Forever Intertwined”?

I hope that they will see that in cinema, the Jewish characters are usually boiled down to shallow stereotypes, but that there is greater depth to the archetypes used.

Sounds like a very interesting piece. For those who are curious to see it, here are the details:

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The Incredible Instance of Marlon Brando Being the Wrong Guy for the Role

A vortex of charisma. A supernova of hyper-realistic emotion. Marlon Brando was a Great Actor and a Gorgeous Creature. Of that there is no doubt.

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

But sometimes, it seems, there is such a thing as too much charisma. I discovered that when I went to see a theater-on-film showing of A Streetcar Named Desire from the Young Vic in London.

I was a stage-Streetcar virgin, having only seen the work in the famed Elia Kazan movie with Vivien Leigh and Brando. Directed by Benedict Andrews, the Young Vic production was a revelation to me because of its casting.

In the complex and sympathetic portrayal by Gillian Anderson, Blanche becomes the center of the story, as she should be. On the other side of the conflict, Stanley (Brando’s character in the movie) is an ordinary, small-minded guy as played by Ben Foster. It’s not his story. He just happens to be stuck in Blanche’s orbit for a while, and in for a very bumpy ride.

With these casting choices, the balance of the work shifted, making it into something the film could not attain because of Brando’s magnetism. And surely this particular brand of domestic mess was closer to the mess Tennessee Williams intended.