One-man play in unforgetable
In a one-man show, it takes raw talent to slice through the glitz, falsity, happiness and pain of Hollywood. By playing two characters and implementing various elements of pop culture, Mark Pinkosh, who came to Bowdoin last Friday evening, showed that a true passion for movies lies behind the plastic surface of Hollywood.
In the play Don't Forget Me, written by partner Godfrey Hamilton, Pinkosh played Angus, a film producer whose love for movies is jaded by Hollywood business, and Chip, an actor breaking into the industry. Angus promised to help the young actor move up the Hollywood ranks, and the two initiated an affair and moved in together.
However, Hollywood sucked Chip in-as his career took off, he left Angus to pursue more influential producers.
The surface story of movies complimented the theme of artificiality well. Hamilton said, "The air in Hollywood is magic but also unkind and mean-spirited and daunting and addictive. Like being in love." Angus's knowledge of the hollowness of the film industry paralleled his discovery of the cruelty of love when Chip left him. He told Chip he was in the business of making money from films, to which Chip responded, "Is that why you're so miserable?" Instead of making money, the simple love of movies made Angus happy.
Hamilton's script made terrific use of details to expose the hollowness of Hollywood. He alluded to classic movies and stars better times, talking about "the next Orson Welles" and films such as Casablanca. Also, to illustrate the struggle between independent and commercial films, Pinkosh used audience participation at the beginning of the play. He asked everyone to stand and then told them sit back down as he named a movie they had not seen. After rattling off The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to a standing crowd, Pinkosh lost almost the entire audience when he said Whale Rider.
Several small details also contributed to the tone of artificial Hollywood. Angus developed an obsession with a photograph of an actress named Nancy Green, claiming that image of Nancy dancing in the rain, car headlights flooding the Central Park street with light, was the essence of spontaneity and authenticity that Hollywood missed. Later in the play, Nancy (played by Pinkosh, of course) revealed to the audience that the entire photograph was staged on a Hollywood back lot.
Pinkosh's monologues were full of these little stories that revealed Hollywood's nature-as he said, "Everything comes up to the surface. It's the earthquakes, I think."
Through Angus, Pinkosh delivered his most poignant and emotive performances. The audience saw that under the hardened exterior, there was a man simply searching for love. However, Chip was an undeveloped character, serving as a foil for Angus. Pinkosh's strength lay in Angus's and even Nancy's monologues instead of the scenes involving Angus and Chip.
Overall, Pinkosh and Hamilton succeeded in cutting under the surface of Hollywood to explore the lost passion for movies and true love. Behind the movie stars, the red carpet, and the business of making money was a hope for what the industry could be. In the words of Truman Capote, "When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was dance and go to the movies."
For information on sending a letter to the editor, please click here.