Ah, the seventies! To be young, gifted and gorgeous in that era seemed to be a passport to a glorious future. Or so the fairy tales from that time say. Bill Rose’s “The Loss Of Nameless Things” is about playwright Oakley Hall III, founder of the Lexington Conservatory Theatre. He seemed to be on the fast track to theatrical immortality until he fell from a bridge in 1978. Rose’s documentary, hosted by Edie Falco, aired Tuesday 2/28/06 at 10 pm on PBS’ Independent Lens. It shows what happened to Hall after his fall and how it affected the actors in his company and the members of his family.
The accident is depicted as the turning point between endless promise and a drastically limited afterlife. Yet the wild life and alcoholic consumption of young Hall make the fall seem far more inevitable than mere happenstance. The Oakley Hall of today looks and sounds like a weather-beaten cowboy with occasional lapses in memory. He plays with his little nephew. He got to see one of his unproduced plays, “Grinder’s Stand”, receive a theatrical production and finally took the bow meant for the young playwright he used to be.
Although Hall’s story seems sad to the people who know him well, it does not play that way in Rose’s documentary. Life is more than writing plays and getting drunk and showing off and chasing fame. Sometimes it’s about getting through a terrible loss and being warmed by the affection of the people who love you.
© 2006 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 2/22/06
The Loss Of Nameless Things
USA - 2004