Bryan Cranston is mad as hell on Broadway in 'Network'

The Frame


When the movie network was released in theaters in nineteen seventy six you could count the number of TV channels on one hand. There was no twenty four hour news, no cable, and no internet network was dark satire about a news anchor who was fired for lagging ratings who then ranted against our addiction to TV only to become a ratings hit. And at all struck a nerve. I wanted to get up right now. Go to the window open it and stick your head out and yell. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore. I want you to Peter Finch when a posthumous Academy Award for his lead performance. Now, his character of anchorman. Howard Beale is being played by Bryan Cranston in a stage adaptation of network on Broadway out of your tears right now. Go to the window open. It stick out your hedging, yo. And I want you to go. How I take this anymore. The play was adapted by Lee hall from petty chef skis screenplay when I recently spoke with Cranston. He told me how he imagined Beal's life before he loses it on live TV when I choose projects. It's something that really moves me already. I without any effort at all. I start daydreaming about a project that I really am attracted to. And I know that's a good sign it stayed with me. It resonated. And so I just follow those instincts in what Patty and Lee had put together, and I came up with Howard Beale being and feeling irrelevant past his prime that he was about to go out to pasture and his wife has passed. He has no children. So he's basically alone. He's an island unto himself. And you'd think that some that person is reaching out to find connection connectivity with other human beings, but to serve the play. I realized that he had to invest in his aloneness and that deepened his sense of depression. And so it's out of that kind of low ebb that all these things are starting to transpire. In other words, he's a man with. Doubt anything to lose. And then he gets fired at the top of the show. And so he's like to heck with it. All. He drinks too much. He's he doesn't take care of himself. He doesn't eat. Well, he doesn't sleep. Well. And he's headed for a collision course, and he does in a way. But fortunately for him. It's more of an epiphany. He does have a sense of enlightenment that hits him and he tries to use that as a device to be able to communicate to his to his viewers. The other thing that was important about Howard Beale. And this is what Diana who is the woman who comes in to promote his rage says Howard Beale sat there last night and said what every American feels that. He's tired of all the B S Bs is my word not the place where he's our ticky relating the popular rage. Not gonna trick. You. Let's go. Let's look. Oh, look. You know, I I think that's also where Patty chef ski was on top of things that Howard Beale is tapping into something that is almost primal. And there's a moment in the play where the audience is encouraged to share in that rage, and that anger, and I'm wondering where you feel that fits into its relevance. And what it's like to hear the audience become as whipped up as they can be whipped up on any given night. We'll play is intended to entertain. But the most important thing that any storyteller. Whether you're on stage or film or television is to elicit an emotional response. I would rather have someone be angry at my performance than board. If I don't move them to some emotion, I feel like I've failed. So in this case, Patty and our production team for the. The version of has created an instigation to be able to light a fire under people. And actually when we get them to say, I mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore. It's giving them permission to be angry as a legitimate emotion. And I think our society has been lacking in that we can accept someone who's irritated or sad or. Despondent. But anger has not been an embraced emotion for many, many, eons, we see someone who's angry we will get away from that for that. Or that's and usually as a human being it's appropriate to be tolerant and accepting and embracing of of all different beliefs in opinions and religions and lifestyles, it isn't lovely thing to do as a human being to be more open to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of human beings. But perhaps right now in this unprecedented. Time in our country's history. Perhaps. Now, the appropriate emotion is anger because anger does stimulate activity. I remember in the sixties when anger stimulated a whole movement of antiwar protests and songs and art, and and style and plays and movies, and it it was a a movement that really moved the needle and had an influence on our political leaders in that period of time, and maybe there's room for that now, and it can really help to promulgate change.

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