“Back-to-Back with Annette Bening, actress who tamed Hollywood’s Seduction Machine”


One cold San Francisco night years ago, a date and I went to the American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) to see the play “The Good German” starring the actor William Hurt. The play was later adapted to the screen for the 2006 movie of the same name starring George Clooney. George is not the seduction machine referred to in the subject line. That would be the actor Warren BeattyThe same Warren Beatty who dated Natalie Wood, Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Faye Dunaway, Madonna, and countless other starlets before marrying Ms. Bening.

The play’s subject matter that evening was not light. It was about war time Nazi Germany. As we took our seats and waited for the production to begin, a colorful face painted clown appeared at the front of the stage to apparently try to lighten the mood prior to this dramatic production.  I think my date might have hand-motioned the clown over to our particular orchestra section seats because, for some reason, the clown suddenly was standing over me pretending to hit and sometimes actually hitting me with a rolled-up program or magazine.

My date thought it was hilarious; however, I was just hoping the clown would move on. At that point, I looked down the row and across the aisle in the same row (different section) the actress Annette Bening was seemingly smiling and laughing at the clown and me. I quickly glanced at her, trying to smile and pretend I was enjoying the clown’s antics.  

Finally, the clown left, the lights dimmed, and the play began.  Soon, it was intermission and time to stretch. As we made our way outside for some fresh air, I noticed I was kind of stuck in the crowd standing next to the lovely Ms. Bening (or Mrs. Warren Beatty). In fact, I could hear her speaking on her cell phone, perhaps checking back home on the kids with her famous husband. We never spoke, but were definitely in tight quarters being back-to-back in a small crowded lobby.

It turned out the future “American Beauty” star was a graduate of the A.C.T. and was back in town to celebrate an anniversary the theatre company was having.  My date and I eventually made it outside, enjoyed the fresh air, and returned for the play’s conclusion. “The Good German”  was dramatic and the acting intense.  If you’ve never seen a movie actor on stage, you should try sometime, especially an actor with the talents of William Hurt. Later that evening, I thought about my moments with the woman who was now married to the world’s former most famous ladies man. I thought about how she, of all those that proceeded her, was able to seduce the seducer.

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