Performances of critically acclaimed play begin March 2

From staff reports

Joplin Little Theatre will present the French comedy "Don't Dress for Dinner" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, through Saturday, March 6, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7.

The critically acclaimed play centers around an evening of confusion that arises during a man's meticulously planned dinner with his mistress. Mistaken identities and frantic improvisation result when things don't go exactly as planned.

Directed by Diane Humphrey, the play features Todd Yearton, Greg Green, Kendra Dearing, Kender Newby, Becky Seidl and Steve LeMaster.

The theater will give away gift certificates to local restaurants as door prizes following each performance. Participating restaurants include Club 609, Champ's Bar and Grill, King Creole's, Red Onion, Sweet Basil and Little Connor.

Tickets are $10 for adults, and $9 for senior citizens and students. The theater advises that the subject matter may not be suitable for children.

Details: 623-3638.A 'Monster' performance

There are several reasons why I don't trust John Stossel.

The first is the "20/20" anchor's ridiculous mustache.

That silly clump of hair on Stossel's upper lip is the kind most likely to be found on a too-manly cop or a bad porn actor, which makes it a little difficult to take seriously anything that he says.

The second is his reliance on a catch phrase - "Give me a break!"

There's nothing cheesier than watching someone who claims to be a serious journalist look into the camera and, with a straight face, deliver the same, lame catchphrase week in and week out.

The third reason is Stossel's bizarre report last Friday where he chided actress Charlize Theron and the director of "Monster" for making a film that's allegedly sympathetic to Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was put to death in 2002.

From Stossel's report, you'd think that filmmakers had digitally added a saintly halo over Theron's Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who began killing her customers.

I'm thinking that either he saw a completely different film than I did, or else hairs from that crazy mustache have become ingrown and are infecting his brain.

Take another look at that description ... "prostitute who began killing her customers." If you're scratching your head and thinking that there's no way you could play that part in a sympathetic way, you'd be right.

Theron's portrayal of Wuornos is courageous in the sense that she plays her as human - someone who laughs, loves and dreams of a better life for herself. But above all, she plays her as an unremorseful murderer, a person who you could only really feel sympathy for if you happened to fall asleep 15 minutes into the movie and didn't wake up until the credits rolled.

The movie opens with Wuornos under an interstate bridge with only $5 to her name and contemplating suicide. Things begin looking up for her when she strikes up a friendship, and later a relationship, with Selby (Christina Ricci).

Wuornos walks the streets to help support their nonstop party, but winds up killing one of her johns when he attacks her. When she learns that the police have no leads in the case, she decides that killing her customers would be an easy way to collect extra money (and a few cars) to support herself.

To be honest, the film as a whole isn't that great. But given the subject matter, a director would be hard-pressed to come up with something terribly appealing.

It's Theron's searing performance that's the big drawing card for "Monster."

The actress deserves whatever awards come her way for her performance, but one glaring omission in this year's nominations are for the film's effects.

Forget the epic battles of "Return of the King" or the storms that toss the ship around in "Master and Commander." The special-effects budget for "Monster" must have been somewhere around $300 million.

Frankly, it would have taken at least that amount of money to create enough digital trickery and prosthetics to make Charlize Theron look as hideous as she does here.

Her skin is blotchy and covered in freckles, her hair is a stringy mess, her teeth are bad and she has frown lines that threaten to swallow her entire face.

Make no mistake, "Monster" isn't for everyone. It's a breakthrough performance for Theron, set amid some subject matter that's bound to make you a bit squeamish.

But leaving you feeling sympathy for Aileen Wuornos?

Give me a break.

Address correspondence to Scott Meeker, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, Mo. 64802.

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