Sunday, April 26, 2020

54. BLOOD. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Patrick Fox, Harold Griffiths, Alexandra Borrie.
 "In Lieu of Reviews"


For background on how this previously unpublished series—introducing all mainstream New York shows between 1970 and 1975—came to be and its relationship to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and revival between 1920 and 1950), please check the prefaces to any of the earlier entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.

BLOOD [Musical/Youth] CN: Doug Dyer; M/LY: The Company; CH: Cora Cahan; S: Doug Dyer; C: Theoni V. Aldredge; L: Keith Nelson; P: New York Shakespeare Festival; T: Public Theater/Martinson Hall (OB): 3/7/71-3/21/71 (14)

A musical in the energetic, youthful, free-form style initiated by Hair, a few years earlier. Blood claimed a kinship with the Orestes legend of ancient Greece. It recounted the experiences of a hip-talking, Orestes-like Vietnam vet through the use of music and words created collaboratively by the ensemble in a workshop run by Doug Dyer.

The show’s novelty derived from its mobile, environmental staging, apparently influenced by a production of Orlando Furioso that recently had visited New York from Rome. The scenic platforming kept being dismantled and moved into new spatial patterns, forcing the audience to constantly be on the move, carrying their folding chairs around with them. This device so disconcerted Walter Kerr, who found himself already tuckered out by the long staircase climb to the theatre that the dwelt extensively on his discomfort and said relatively little in his review about the show. (In later years, an elevator would be available for access to the space.)

The critics were not able to make much narrative sense of the occasion. Clive Barnes, who thought it “confusion run riot,” failed to see much connection between it and the Greek story, aside from its “concept of a man running from fate, chased by the Furies.” Some thought it superficial, others illogical. John Simon liked the music and Martin Gottfried commended the pieces as “honest” and “freshly conceived” because of its skilled staging.

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement/
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
Alpha Beta
L’Amante Anglais         
American Gothics
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little       
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anna K.
Anne of Green Gables
Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead
As You Like It
The Au Pair Man

Baba Goya [Nourish the Beast]
The Ballad of Johnny Pot
Barbary Shore
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera
Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellens
Be Kind to People Week
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill
Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half-Shell Revue
Black Girl
Black Light Theatre of Prague
Black Picture Show
Black Sunlight
The Black Terror
Black Visions
Les Blancs
Blasts and Bravos: An Evening with H,L. Mencken