Monday, February 6, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: February 6


Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 689

Barnabas finds David about to enter the mausoleum in which Chris is secreted as the werewolf. David is silent as to his real reason -- Quentin’s orders -- and instead claims he is hiding from Maggie, now his new governess. Barnabas takes him back to Collinwood, where Maggie is unsuccessful at getting a clearly tortured David to reveal exactly why he’s behaving so strangely. Meanwhile, Barnabas retrieves a reverted Chris from the secret room, where he tells the manwolf that Ned Stuart has been asking about him. Chris explains that Ned is the brother of his former fiance, Sabrina, the first person to see him transform. Her fate was a dark one, and Ned has been on the hunt for Chris ever since. Meanwhile, David tells Quentin he no longer wishes to serve him, and Quentin responds with a touch that delivers searing pain. 

We may be through with the past, but the past isn’t through with us. It’s (one of ) the message(s) of MAGNOLIA, and encapsulates so much of DARK SHADOWS. An episode like this is theatre at its best, since theatre is about consequences while film is about action. It’s an actor-driven episode, and it’s a prime example of Don Briscoe’s subtle, deep, and humane use of the text. Even better is Kathryn Leigh Scott. When she reasons with David about divulging the secrets that torture him, you can hear the echo of Maggie’s own experiences with Barnabas. Both the writers and the actress establish Maggie as a very different governess than Vicki. In all candor, Vicki was designed for ignorance. Maggie was designed for worldliness. This is evident. It ups the stakes for the writers and other cast members, and is more appropriate for a David rapidly growing up.

On this day on Broadway, Jerry Herman’s show, DEAR WORLD, opened. Starring Angela Lansbury, the play is a musical adaptation of THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT co-written by Lawrence and Lee, the authors of INHERIT THE WIND. A fine and overlooked show, it displays a tremendous evolution in style and temperament by Herman, in some ways fusing the brassy tradition of the Broadway musical with the more sophisticated Sondheim/Kander and Ebb sound to come. He even evokes a style that ALW would ape in a song such as “I Never Said I Loved You,” while the complexity of “Dickie” is pure Sondheim. An upcoming production is set to star Tyne Daly, John Karlen’s onscreen wife on CAGNEY & LACEY.

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