Friday, June 22, 2007

The Imaginary Invalid at A.C.T.

Here's something you should try just for yucks: park your car at the Sutter-Stockton Street Garage, jog/walk 4 blocks down the hill while you have awful back spasms which force you to take a posture similar to that of Pewee Herman, audition for a T.V. commercial for 10 minutes pretending that you are in perfect physical health, then jog/walk back up the hill four blocks quickly so that you and your 10 year old son can get something to eat before the 2 P.M. showing of Molière's, "The Imaginary Invalid" at A.C.T.

When you finally arrive at the Geary at 1:43 you realize that the two stomachs must be filled, and quickly. So, you dash across the street. In front of you is a Pizza by the Slice place that is pretty full of munching yuppies, and next door is a relatively calm looking Thai hole-in-the-wall. You ask your 10 year old son what he wants, and get the all to familiar "I don't know.. how am I supposed to know?" answer. So, being the health conscious father that you are you decide on the Thai place. After all, the pictures above the window show all kinds of healthy looking vegetable laden dishes. So you duck in, mentioning to the Thai-only speaking waitress that you need to eat quickly. She looks at you like you are from Mars. You dash about looking for a worker that understands English. You find one. "No problem," she says. So you sit, order and wait only a few minutes. In no time our healthy looking Thai food is before us. My son has a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup large enough to feed a family of five. And in front of me lies a nice plate of rice and crab. Quickly we start downing or grub. "Not bad," we think, even though the soup is too hot, forcing me to dump my glass of ice water into the giant bowl so that my son wouldn't scald his tongue. Within minutes we are done. The show starts in seven, I pay, we dash out, head to the potty for a quick pee and up to our seats we go. We're there with a couple of minutes to spare.

My back is aching, more like killing me, but I will survive and I will laugh if it kills me. The show begins, hilarity ensues. Suddenly, and without warning my stomach feels like it has a small Thai child in it scratching and clawing to get out like the monster from "Alien". My back is killing me still, and now my stomach is about to explode from what must have been some rotten crab and there is an "imaginary" invalid on stage - a hypochondriac with nothing really wrong with him. And then there is me, sitting there watching him, the real invalid. Stabbing pains are pulsing through my lower back and hips, a small Thai child is trying to force it's way through my upper intestines, and yet I'm laughing. Yes, I am absolutely miserable from head to toe and yet I'm laughing and laughing with gusto!

That's how wonderful this production of "Invalid" is at A.C.T. Everything about the show is exquisite:the flawless comic timing, the physical hilarity, the set the music, the sound and the HAIR! The hair is fantastic.

Go see it!

A.C.T.'s 40th Anniversary Exits Laughing: With the World Premiere of Constance Congdon's The Imaginary Invalid
Directed by Bay Area Native Ron Lagomarsino

Production Features the Return to A.C.T. of Nancy Dussault (The Threepenny Opera), and John Apicella (Glengarry Glen Ross)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, MAY 2, 2007––American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) lowers the curtain on its seminal 40th anniversary season with Constance Congdon’s world premiere adaptation of Molière's riotous send-up of wealth and wellness, The Imaginary Invalid. Directed by Bay Area native Ron Lagomarsino––who directed the original productions of Driving Miss Daisy (off-Broadway) and The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Broadway), as well as A.C.T.’s production of The Gamester two seasons ago––The Imaginary Invalid plays A.C.T. June 7 through July 8. Press night is Wednesday, June 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets—starting at $13.50––can be purchased at A.C.T. Ticket Services, located at 405 Geary Street, 415.749.2228; or via the A.C.T. website, Groups of 15 or more people are eligible for discounts; please call 415.439.2473.