Please, brothers and sisters. Have some self-respect. What message is sent when the stagehands come out to bow? “Oh, there’s the people who couldn’t get into the show. Poor dears. Clap for them, Harold.” It’s embarrassing.
The piece’s themes are interesting – guilt, revenge, submission, and how all are mixed into lust and love. Although Japanese representations of those can seem kinky/bizarre, they are truer to real human emotional lives than most Western depictions, which value bland propriety above all else (think Hallmark).
It turns out that adapting a dud, winking and nudging the audience the whole time, is a more satisfying recipe than adding music to old TV shows or dumb movie comedies. Sure, it’s a jukebox musical, that artistically dubious form, but the players are in on the joke (with dozens more where that came from.)
“Sarah, how did rehearsal go today?” “Fine, except I had to comfort a crying squirrel.”
An invisible show happens behind and underneath what the audience sees. Curtains fly, lights go up and down, sets move, all because of stagehands and technicians. The stage manager coordinates their activity prior to and during the performance. It requires a cool head, a wide understanding of theater craft, and comprehensive knowledge of the production.
Barbara Pratt mesmerized a packed house last night with a tour de force performance of William Luce’s one-woman play The Belle of Amherst.
Louise Maske stretches to see the King pass during a parade, and her bloomers fall to her feet. Her husband Theo, a low-level government functionary, is appalled when he learns what happened (he thinks he’ll be fired), while Louise’s upstairs neighbor is thrilled for the excitement. Soon, men are vying to rent a room in the Maskes’ apartment.
The student company worked extremely well together…they paid attention, which allowed them to pull off some good sound effects, and kept the production hurtling along – the pacing was superb.
What I really want out of a review is “I saw this, I felt this, and THIS IS WHY.” Criticism needs to be more than reporting, more than a PR opportunity for the theater group, more than pap for the incurious masses.
If there’s a given in stage work, it’s that performers and directors get most of the attention (and the credit). Many of my theatergoing friends say, “I don’t really think about lighting.” Well, I’ve been thinking about lighting, a LOT.