Friday, February 18, 2011

"Not since George C. Scott has an actor impersonated righteous outrage with the skill and intensity that Jim Brochu brings to Zero Mostel’s paint-blistering jeremiad against colleagues naming names during the 1950s in Zero Hour."

Wonderful new review of Zero Hour by Bill Hirschman in the indispensable blog, South Florida Theatre Review.

Bill is one of the first critics to really hone in on this great aspect of Zero Hour. Zero was a down-right  frightening human being. He could also be cruel. The story of Jim asking him for his autograph on the street corner in New York and Zero imperiously and loudly screaming, at the top of his lungs, with absolute sincerity, "YOU'RE NOT WORTHY!" is not a story unique to Jim.

I keep thinking we should start a blog with nothing but stories people have told us about Zero. Some people absolutely hated him.

This inner rage. Jim channels it like a wide-open spigot and it's completely believable. And the comparison to George C. Scott is apt. Jim has that edge, which is interesting because he has the reputation of being a comic actor from the baggy pants school of comedy.

But, when you think about it, all those old comedians could do "rage." Jackie Gleason? He had so many shades of rage, you watch those original Honeymooners, over and over, just to witness the variety. It can happen instantaneously, or over a long slow burn as his face turns bright red and his body puffs out, threatening to explode.

I remember our first table reading. There was a group of pre-teens and teens, inprov students, in the audience. I was taping it. At the end of act one, there's a door slam.

So, Jim gets up, screams, "This interview is over!" and exits, slamming a door.

There was a brief silent moment, and then we heard, in this tiny girl's voice, "He's scary."

Yeah. He is.

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