Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Heard: "Biloxi Blues" by Neil Simon

Heard: Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon, 2008 (release date, live performance was 2007), OverDrive download.

I've watched parts of the film version.  I mainly watched the flick because of Christopher Walken but also for Matthew Broderick.  I've wanted to see some live theater in either Madison or Milwaukee but still have not gotten around to for all the usual reasons.

Eugene Morris catches a train from Fort Dix, New Jersey to basic training in Biloxi, MS.  Like most people Eugene is not a great fit for the U.S. Army but he makes do.  Other platoon members are better soldiers.  Other platoon members are worse soldiers.  Eugene goes through the mandatory melting pot of World War Two Army life.

Eugene's Sergeant is insane - probably from from a battle head injury.  A couple other recruits are dickheads and hate Jews.  One recruit is gay, gets caught, gets jail time.  Another recruit, Arnold, is Jewish and stubborn.  Arnold says he is fighting Army nonsense and institutional cruelty.  I think Arnold was just a contrarian because that was in his nature.  But, I live with a 7-year-old that argues about everything so my judgment is colored.

One of Eugene's goals is to end his virginity.  Eugene is successful with a local prostitute.  Eugene meets a Catholic girl at a dance.  Eugene and Catholic Girl have chaste romance, Eugene falls in love, Eugene is shipped out.

Eugene sent overseas and is injured in English vehicle collision.  Eugene gives epilogues of other characters: wounded, missing in action, so on, so forth.

1.  How much has the stage production changed?  The film version differs in a several ways.  A notable exception are the character epilogues at the end.  I remember the film version ending with the war ending before any recruits are deployed overseas.
2.  This recording has a brief interview with Simon after the play ends.  I was going to write something about what Simon said but now I cannot recall what. 

1 comment:

George said...

I listened to BILOXI BLUES last summer when I was recovering from total knee replacement surgery. As I recall, the play was part of a trilogy. And Neil Simon said all three plays were very autobiographical.