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Haiku Review: ‘Death Takes a Holiday’

28 Jul


A Note: I don’t normally deviate too far from my usual system for the haiku, but for ‘Death Takes a Holiday’, or, as I like to call it, ‘A Little Night Music at the Titanic Cabaret in Grand Hotel’, I’m making an exception. In addition to the haiku, I am including my favorite dramatic moment of the show (with spoilers, FYI), retold. And I’m pondering writing something longer about this show – it’s honestly a tricky one, a mess of some lovely music beautifully sung by talented people and some of the weirdest direction I’ve seen on a professional stage. So we’ll see about that, but for now, enjoy these:

Comedy Servants
Stand deadpan, waiting for laugh.
Godot will come first.

Death tastes the pleasure
Of earthy life, including
White shiny leggings.

Car crash staged on stage
With slo-mo waving arms, chairs.
Corky would approve.

Many characters,
But all easily ID’d
By their one trait each.

Souls wandering, lost.
The dead in afterlife? Nope.
Actors in this show.

Death’s back on the job
Because somewhere mid-Act 2
My patience died.

The show’s emotional conclusion:

DEATH: Grazia, my love, I must show you who I really am.

      (DEATH walks up the aisle. Comes back.)

GRAZIA: (Gasps)

DEATH: Yes. You thought I was just a man in a tuxedo, but now you see my true identity – a man in a tuxedo in a lighting effect.


‘Death Takes a Holiday’ Teaser

28 Jul

Having attended ‘Death Takes a Holiday’ last night, I am formulating some haiku for your pleasure. However, before I do that, I had to give a shout-out to Scott Brown, whose review of ‘Death Takes a Holiday’ in New York Magazine included this, which put me in serious danger of spitting coffee all over my keyboard:

“I admire Yeston’s commitment to large-canvas ambition in an age of general musical penury, but his lyrics are (forgive me) deadly. Duchess Lamberti (Rebecca Luker) on her late, lamented son, Roberto: “He sat at his window / Stared at the moon / Wrote in his diary / Played bassoon.” Really? “Played bassoon”? Not “ate a prune”? Or “Re-read Dune”? Because those options sound equally uneuphonious and just as vaguely silly.”