Wednesday, March 2, 2011
SAN DIEGO Garrison Keillor came, he saw, and he conquered the audience at San Diego’s Civic Theatre on Saturday. In this blog I spoke of my plans to attend his show. Here’s my review. It's a few days late but what the hell.
Keillor’s monologue “The News from Lake Wobegon” was brilliant. He rambled about various residents of his mythical town, eventually blending theology and social science as he described the Bunsons’ marital détente that has allowed them to live together for 30 years. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you don’t listen to the show and that’s okay. Just know that Garrison’s monologues are funny and they’re masterful story-telling if there is such a thing.
There were a lot of San Diego references embedded in the show. Garrison joked that San Diegans insist on calling rain a “winter storm.” Minnesotans are not impressed by our storms.
For those who have never seen it, a Prairie Home Companion show really looks like a radio show on stage. There are no big entrances. Garrison shambles onto the stage as he anticipates his next introduction, sketch or monologue. Tech guys wander around, handing out sheet music and setting up microphones while the program’s in progress. Garrison often performs with his back to the crowd or his head buried in a script.
The comic sketches were the show's weak point. Guy Noir and The Lives of the Cowboys are routines that have grown stale and should be put out to pasture. Should we say the same of Garrison Keillor? No. But he is definitely getting old. I saw him perform 30 years ago so I have some context.