Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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The Oldsmobiles at the Flea

October 19th, 2009 by Oscar E Moore

Perched atop the Manhattan Bridge on a clever shadow box set by Jerad Schomer sit The Oldsmobiles, Mr. & Mrs. – Richard Masur and Alice Playten – a somewhat aging couple who call each other “stupid” that are in relatively good shape and are contemplating their thirty five year old marriage, life and death in general, Alec Baldwin (the running gag which made me gag) and whether or not they should jump.  They do.  But not fast enough (I was ready to give them a push) in this 60 minute elongated Saturday Night Live sketch.  I’m being kind.

They have the credentials.  All of them.  Including director Jim Simpson and writer Roger Rosenblatt but the results are disastrous.  It is not funny.  It is not ironic.  It is not edgy.  It’s a car wreck.  Devoid of sub text.

In no way do we believe that this couple have lived together happily or not for thirty five years.  There is absolutely no rapport between them.  Why are they together?  Why have they decided to commit suicide?  Why has this skit been produced?

There they sit contemplating the scene below and above.  Boats.  Helicopters.  Firemen and Policemen.  All off-stage voices.  Their adopted children (or are they) show up.  A news reporter asks ridiculous questions including the last which you will have no choice but to hear as there is no intermission and no commercials. 

No wait.  The Flea does a pre curtain advertisement of their current and future shows.  If The Oldsmobiles is any indication of the rest of their season they are in deep trouble.

Do the Oldsmobiles love each other?  Do they have Alzheimer’s?  Is this meant to be real or a satire or just crazy?  Do they really want to commit suicide to avoid dying?  Are they already dead?

Not to belabor the point but what’s the point?  I couldn’t help but wonder why Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson were not cast as The Oldsmobiles.  They would have been perfect with this imperfect script.  I believe that they could have made some amusing sense of this mess.  At least we would have believed their love for one another.


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