4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Golden Boy's sweeping punches

A Lost Classic is creaky but still makes contact.

Golden Boy at UCSD - Image by Jim Carmody
Golden Boy at UCSD

Golden Boy

Clifford Odets’ great drama (1937) is staged so rarely, it could qualify as a Lost Classic. As in all of Odets’ work, when it becomes “found,” the story of the rise and fall of a man with star-crossed gifts still packs a whallop.

Joe Bonaparte’s hands are a boon and a curse. He could become a master violinist. With music, he says, “I’m never alone when I’m alone.” Music makes him feel he’s “a man. I belong here.” But artists “are freaks today,” and others bully him when they see his violin case. In the midst of the Depression, Joe’s father buys him a $1200 violin. But Joe rejects the gift because it can’t slay his enemies. He’ll make his name, and big money, as a prize-fighter. But lose all feeling in his hands.

The play cleaves Joe in two and clobbers his decision — with success.

Like Joe, almost everyone in Golden Boy is only half of what they could be. Joe falls for Lorna, says she’s “half-dead.” But the disillusioned “tramp from New Jersey” can’t choose between Joe and his manager, Tom Moody. Tom’s half in/half out of a marriage. “It’s the Twentieth Century,” Lorna tells him: “no more miracles.”

According to Odets, a “miracle,” even bigger than the American Dream, would be a whole person.

In an interview, he said his plays are about “the fulfillment of each individual human being – about what develops all the inherent possibilities of each man and woman and what holds them back, what stymies them.”

In effect, Joe was on his rightful path but got re-routed. So was Lorna, so was Tom. Only Joe’s patient father stayed the course. But the play’s most complete person may suffer most in the end.

Golden Boy at UCSD

Golden Boy has a few purple flourishes, and the scenes creak a little by today’s flash-cut standards (it’s easy to forget that people went to the theater in those days for a full evening without having to be up to the minute about trivia).

Directed by Emilie Whelan, the UCSD production honors the piece with a big, sweeping, inventive production. It’s in the round at the Potiker Theatre. The audience sits in bleachers on all four sides. Eight bollards, linked by thick ropes on a raised wooden platform, and hanging lamps, with drooping metal shades, make the stage resemble a boxing ring for every scene.

Because it is. Tom threatens to punch Lorna in the nose. Even Mr. Bonaparte tells his son-in-law to “hit your wife in private.” There’s verbal violence throughout. And music: violin solos, including the jazz standard “Caravan,” and Hannah Corrigan belting out torchy riffs fill in the play’s absent half.

The talented cast obviously relishes the hard-boiled style and staccato dialogue. The script suggests Italian stereotypes. But no one plays them. Though the actors shuffle around too much for the in-the-round configuration (and could play the diagonals more), each makes clear, specific choices.

Standouts: Luis Vega’s Joe Bonaparte, raw, trim, and hurting; Michael Turner’s manic Tom Moody has a violin in him that he may never find; and Hannah Tamminen’s forlorn Lorna Moon, fatality’s poster child.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Remembering Louis Procaccino

“He always had food in his pockets”
Golden Boy at UCSD - Image by Jim Carmody
Golden Boy at UCSD

Golden Boy

Clifford Odets’ great drama (1937) is staged so rarely, it could qualify as a Lost Classic. As in all of Odets’ work, when it becomes “found,” the story of the rise and fall of a man with star-crossed gifts still packs a whallop.

Joe Bonaparte’s hands are a boon and a curse. He could become a master violinist. With music, he says, “I’m never alone when I’m alone.” Music makes him feel he’s “a man. I belong here.” But artists “are freaks today,” and others bully him when they see his violin case. In the midst of the Depression, Joe’s father buys him a $1200 violin. But Joe rejects the gift because it can’t slay his enemies. He’ll make his name, and big money, as a prize-fighter. But lose all feeling in his hands.

The play cleaves Joe in two and clobbers his decision — with success.

Like Joe, almost everyone in Golden Boy is only half of what they could be. Joe falls for Lorna, says she’s “half-dead.” But the disillusioned “tramp from New Jersey” can’t choose between Joe and his manager, Tom Moody. Tom’s half in/half out of a marriage. “It’s the Twentieth Century,” Lorna tells him: “no more miracles.”

According to Odets, a “miracle,” even bigger than the American Dream, would be a whole person.

In an interview, he said his plays are about “the fulfillment of each individual human being – about what develops all the inherent possibilities of each man and woman and what holds them back, what stymies them.”

In effect, Joe was on his rightful path but got re-routed. So was Lorna, so was Tom. Only Joe’s patient father stayed the course. But the play’s most complete person may suffer most in the end.

Golden Boy at UCSD

Golden Boy has a few purple flourishes, and the scenes creak a little by today’s flash-cut standards (it’s easy to forget that people went to the theater in those days for a full evening without having to be up to the minute about trivia).

Directed by Emilie Whelan, the UCSD production honors the piece with a big, sweeping, inventive production. It’s in the round at the Potiker Theatre. The audience sits in bleachers on all four sides. Eight bollards, linked by thick ropes on a raised wooden platform, and hanging lamps, with drooping metal shades, make the stage resemble a boxing ring for every scene.

Because it is. Tom threatens to punch Lorna in the nose. Even Mr. Bonaparte tells his son-in-law to “hit your wife in private.” There’s verbal violence throughout. And music: violin solos, including the jazz standard “Caravan,” and Hannah Corrigan belting out torchy riffs fill in the play’s absent half.

The talented cast obviously relishes the hard-boiled style and staccato dialogue. The script suggests Italian stereotypes. But no one plays them. Though the actors shuffle around too much for the in-the-round configuration (and could play the diagonals more), each makes clear, specific choices.

Standouts: Luis Vega’s Joe Bonaparte, raw, trim, and hurting; Michael Turner’s manic Tom Moody has a violin in him that he may never find; and Hannah Tamminen’s forlorn Lorna Moon, fatality’s poster child.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Why did Faulconer get so much cash from farmers and oilmen?

San Diego looking to replace Patton Boggs as D.C. lobbyist
Next Article

Ralph + Advil = “Radvil”

Kwillipers would be a pretty cool name for a cat
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close