Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meanwhile, back in Dainsville

The rapid-fire text of Valhalla, with its constant shifting (and overlapping) of time and space, requires a streamlined set - yet the difference between its two main locales (Bavaria and the mythical Dainsville, Texas) is also central to its meaning and action. And therein lies one of the play's theatrical challenges: making real for the audience the phenomenal distance between the creature comforts of Ludwig II and James Avery, Paul Rudnick's fictional gay boy growing up in Texas in the 1930s. Perhaps the photograph above will help make the contrast clearer - by the famous Dorothea Lange, it's a portrait of a migrant farmer's wife in the doorway of her home near Childress, Texas, in 1938 (her three children are inside). Could this be James Avery's mother (compare and contrast Marie of Prussia, Ludwig's mother, below)?

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