Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

20 Days of Theatrical Thanks: Days 14 & 15

Today I’m thankful for… my grandpa.

Christopher Plummer as John Barrymore, staging an imaginary comeback.

For many years now, I’ve been referring to Christopher Plummer as my grandfather. The reason for this is largely inexplicable except that when I was young — and watched the Sound of Music innumerable times — I desperately wished that he and Julie Andrews would be married in real life. And that they were my grandparents. Now, this was not to diminish the value of my actual grandparents, it simply spoke to the extent of  my childish imagination. And for some reason, it stuck: my friends seem to find it charming that I refer to Mr. Plummer as my Grandpa, and so tradition carries on.

But beyond my silly attempt at blood ties with the regal Canadian, he’s a truly great performer who finally — finally! — won his first Academy Award this year. And while he does mostly film these days — though I did manage to catch him as Lear in a Stratford Festival production many moons ago, which only amplified my admiration — he is a man of the theatre:

I loved the theatre and I stayed in the theatre most of my life and I was a bit snobbish about it. I made a lot of movies through the ’60s and ’70s which were pretty awful, but then most of the movies in the ’60s and early ’70s were pretty awful. The quality wasn’t always there, unfortunately, but the money was. And I was grateful for that because I could afford to then do what I wanted to do in the theatre.

And, though he turns 83 in just a couple weeks, he’s still workin’ it, hard. He’s won two Tony Awards, including one for his work in the title role of Barrymore (1997), essentially a one-man play which imagines the famous actor John Barrymore’s comeback. In 2011, the play was adapted into a film, which was released today in New York for a limited engagement. It’s currently playing at the Village East, and if anyone wants to go see Grandpa with me, well, just say the word.

I once again lost internet service last night (thanks, Sandy!), so was unable to blog, hence the combined days (which also probably means no blogging this weekend. Sigh.) But if anyone deserves double thanks, it’s Christopher Plummer. So: Thanks, Grandpa!

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2012 by in Editorials, Theatre, Theatre Topics and tagged , , , , , .

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