Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company's Born Yesterday

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Born Yesterday. It was by Garson Kanin and it was directed by David Darlow. It was about a woman named Billie (Eliza Stoughton) whose boyfriend, Harry Brock (Sean M. Sullivan), wants her to be more proper because he is rich and in Washington D.C. So he hires a tutor, Paul Verrall (Greg Matthew Anderson), who instead of teaching her how to be proper helps her learn to think for herself. It's about knowledge, doing what's best for you, and earning what you get. I think this is a funny and great play. I really love the message of the show. I think that a lot of women in the '40s when this play was written didn't see women learning in plays, books, and movies, so I think this play is very meaningful.

I think that the message of the show is great. It is basically that education is important to fulfill your duties as an American, like voting and understanding the government. I think the evolution of Billie is a really interesting one to watch. She evolves from someone who just follows around a boyfriend and mostly values having things to someone who is a intellectual person who reads books and has conversations about current events. She starts to read the paper and learn what is happening in the real world and not just in her bubble. Also her ideas on love change. She thought that relationships were more about attraction, but now it is about attraction but also having conversations and enjoying time together. I like how she doesn't transform into someone who is completely different; she still has her accent and her sassy personality. But she uses her knowledge to make herself actually happy by getting a life she wants to live instead a life following around Harry who treats her like crap.

There were a lot of funny moments. One of my favorites was when Harry and Billie were playing gin rummy and Billie kept winning and got amazing hands. She was also taking the whole game really seriously. You can also see in Harry's eyes that he was slightly mad how much she was winning. That was pretty funny to watch. I also thought it was funny when the lawyer, Ed Devery (Shawn Douglass), was stumbling around drunk. He seemed like he didn't even know that he was intoxicated. When anyone seemed to notice that he was, he just thought they were weird. Also, when act two started, you see Billie reading the paper, and when she takes down the paper you see that she is wearing glasses. I think that's really funny because she had been strongly against glasses. It seems they have grown on her.

Money is a really big topic in this play. It means a lot of different things to different people. At the top of the show you see Helen (Maggie Clennon Reberg), the maid, talking to Paul about how it dumb it is how rich people pay for really expensive hotel rooms. She is telling him this as she makes up the fancy room that costs two hundred and thirty five dollars. She would have to work for months to spend one night there, which I think is pretty crazy. It shows you how some people by doing the wrong thing get rewarded, and some people can do the right thing and work hard and all they get is eighteen dollars a week. On the other side of the spectrum we have Harry; he thinks that money is the meaning of life. In Harry's mind, his money shows that he is powerful. He thinks he got rich without any help and by working hard, but he wasn't working hard honestly. He was taking what belongs to others. And now that he is rich, he thinks he should be able to make all the rules. He is bribing Senator Hedges (Brian Parry) to be able to make even more money than he makes already which was already a huge amount. It kind of reminded me a bit of how Trump is trying to make life easier for rich people but not for poor people. And it is already harder for poor people! Billie at the beginning of the show also thinks money is the best thing ever. But as the story goes on, she realized that you don't live life for money; you live it for knowledge.

People who would like this show are people who like stories of change, intoxicated lawyers, and gin rummy. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I think it is such a great story and it is so relevant for today. I loved it!

Photos: Johnny Knight

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