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In theater, it’s a rare blessing for actors to have the luxury of the playwright’s company in the rehearsal room every day. Then someone else at the table speaks up:“Sometimes they have the luxury of the playwright being dead.”Ladies and gentlemen, Steve Martin — live (and alive) at the Globe.
The four cast members of “Meteor Shower” are just starting to digest that question as they dig into lunch on a recent break at the Old Globe Theatre.
In Martin's case, there's a lot of competition though. magazine, that reunited Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short and John Landis.
It was a tremendous article, that highlighted the many hugely entertaining moments in Landis' movie.
(Or maybe a trilogy, if you count Martin’s 1998 comic essay “Mars Probe Finds Kittens.”)Martin acknowledges that “I have been interested in astronomy, physics, the universe.
As science it’s thrilling, and as metaphor it’s thrilling, so I do like that imagery.”But even Martin’s earliest efforts at writing and performing comedy, long before his “wild and crazy guy” days of the 1970s, were grounded in a sense of the analytical; Martin studied philosophy at Cal State Long Beach and UCLA, and took a highly scientific approach to his original material and how audiences reacted to it. ”Edelstein, artistic director of Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre (which is co-producing with the Globe), adds that “everyone collaborates completely, and ideas are flying.
That’s what makes it funny, but it’s also complicated.“It seems so simple on the page. It feels big to me, anyway.”Then he adds: “I think all of us feel like we’re in the room with, you know, Moliere.”To which Martin replies: “I feel as though I’m in the room with Moliere, too — looking over my shoulder.”Of the four actors, it’s Fischer — an Emmy nominee during her eight-year stint as Pam Beesly on “The Office” — who ventures furthest into describing the play’s story:“Greg and I play a couple who live in Ojai, and we’re having this other couple, who live in Santa Barbara, over to our place one evening to watch the meteor shower,” she explains.“And we’re hoping to impress them, because we’ve not ever spent time together before, but it might be good for business.
We've done that thing where we split an article across two pages. Rather, we only do it when an article is particularly long, and it makes sense to load it in separate chunks.Because I had a psychological interpretation of who everybody was, and that gave me something to write from.“I don’t want to say what it is, because it’s not even explicit in the play,” he adds.“But I liked writing at the intellectual level, the theoretical level, and then just making sure it was always funny and you believed the characters, and it was very entertaining.”It’s no coincidence that “Bright Star,” the bluegrass-driven musical Martin created with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, and “Meteor Shower” make for a one-two punch of the astronomical.“I liked the idea of it — I liked the idea of a couple going to watch a meteor shower.“And then the next thing is, well, who is everybody?And when I started to think about who everybody is (in the play), that’s when it got worthy.