This was a question that has been percolating in my mind for quite some time and caused a lot of soul searching for a vast multitude of reasons. I go and see shows and support people I know, friends, etc… just like most anyone else, but not everyone writes their thoughts down… so why do it?
I think the better question is “why am I questioning myself?” Afterall I already have a bit of a following on the Pure Dancing with the Stars blog with my predictions and not everyone is going to agree and really opinions shouldn’t have to agree. Take it with a grain of salt and move on that is the constant mantra over there. (You think I’m kidding? There are a lot of passionate fans over there and they get offended by everything big and small… it is getting rather ridiculous if you ask me.)
But predicting who is going to get what score is very different from reviewing a production that your friends and acquaintances are in. There are more (familiar) egos at stake and are much more prone to bruising… everything is so subjective. Over in the Pure TV Network it is a series of media sites with several writers with differing opinions, while this is a blog of my own thoughts.
So how did I get started in reviewing in the first place…?
So technically this was written a month or so ago, and even though it is probably a moot point to post this, I decided instead to just wrap it up and post it anyway since I enjoyed this production regardless:
Show: GOD OF CARNAGE By: Yasmina Reza Translated By: Christopher Hampton
Several days ago I found myself seated and waiting for BrightSide Theatre‘s God of Carnage to begin. Front row… dead center, which for a lot of stage setups would have been perfect, except for this particular set up it wasn’t, not exactly anyway.
But before I go on… the quick and simple: Acting: Like Set Design: Like Staging: Love Directing: Love OVERALL: Like
After this particular production there were so many thoughts running through my brain that I truly couldn’t find a way to organize it all. So for the sake of simplicity before going into detail, here are a little bit of what I was thinking when the show ended:
- The men felt more consistent than the women
- Veronica showed a lot more subtlety and layers
- The gag was obvious than I would have liked
- There was a lot of material added that fleshed out the characters, comedy, and story
- It never once felt like this was on stage and I was watching from the audience. It felt like I was there in the living room with the characters and just watching this unfold in front of me.
That last one is probably the most significant of all the pieces. The feeling that you are a part of the conversation without having to utter a word. That feeling of being a part of the conversation, of the chaos between the two families is what sets this production apart from others… Continue reading →
CHARACTER / ACTOR BREAKDOWN
The first thing I noticed was that aside from six characters:
- Elinor Dashwood
- Marianne Dashwood
- Mrs Jennings
- Edward Ferrars
- Colonel Brandon
- John Willoughby
Everyone else in the cast was playing dual (if not triple) roles… most as an ensemble-ish group similar to the Liebeslieders (or the Quintet) of A Little Night Music. Though unlike in A Little Night Music, the ensemble fluctuates from as little as four players to as many as eight/nine (I do not remember which).
However, there are two others within the cast who are not necessarily part of the general ensemble but do play multiple roles on stage.
This ingenious casting piqued my interest because it gives performing arts groups the flexibility of having a medium sized cast of 16 actors (maybe less depending on how things break down) to as large as need be for high school groups… and yes I am thinking very far ahead.
It has been a year and well… I did end up making that trip to Colorado specifically so I could see this production live. Don’t judge me.
First… the quickies:
- Acting: LOVE
- Vocals: LOVE
- Music / Orchestration: LOVE
- Set Design: LOVE
- Directing: LOVE
- OVERALL: LOVE!!!
I was seriously considering buying another ticket for the matinee production on Sunday but thought better of it.
But where to begin? Well to start the one thing I like is that there isn’t some massive ensemble in addition to the cast, there is a group of five to seven actors/actresses who help move the story along (a la A Little Night Music). Why five to seven? Because not only do they help move the story along, but some of them also play smaller parts in the production when needed:
- Lucy Steele
- Thomas (Dashwoods servant)
- Peter (London servant)
- Miss Grey (Willoughby’s bride)
- John and Fanny Dashwood
And others, but the above are the most “obvious” I would say.
Personally I didn’t notice when each of the above players were in the “ensemble” so to speak until much later in the production… which was a good thing… otherwise I would have to watch the show again just so I could see if I had missed anything.
Since this is my impression / review of the production itself I won’t go into detail about changes from the original novel… that is going to be a post in and of itself. However what I will say is this:
When it comes to the storylines of the Dashwood sisters the stage adaptation is fairly close to the novel (with a few changes here and there). When it comes to where a lot of where particular points of the storyline happens, there are far more changes that a total purist may not be too keen on, but for me being a purist… I find that the changes made were probably the best ones that could have been done.
Now, let’s be honest, I really wasn’t planning on going to see this show at all… I didn’t have the time (all things considered) and I didn’t want to watch a post-war drama about soldiers living with PTSD and trying to survive. Why? It’s not because I’m heartless… it is because I have seen and read many of those stories from friends who were deployed and their extended circles.
But since a friend of mine wanted to go… I carved out a timeslot in my crazy schedule and went with her.
So… this was an interesting show, tugs at the heartstrings at moments… though in a different way and there are moment that are so comedic that you can’t help but laugh.
However at the core of it all is the young man from war who has been hiding a drug addiction from all those who love him except one.
First the quickie thoughts: Acting: Like Staging: Like OVERALL: Like
So what now? What is there to say?
This story of a young man who was terribly injured in the Korean War provides a look at drug addiction through the eyes of society in 1955, and how it can tear a family apart or bring them together. This emotional drama can be related to soldiers of today with PTSD.
Yes, another Profile Theatre production, and yes I went to go and see it… why make the trip? Because, first and foremost I am a friend, and as a friend I make sure I support (a select number) my friends in their endeavors…
So since one of my friends happens to be filling in as understudy for one of the leads of Profile Theatre’s current production of The Dream of the Burning Boy… I made sure to squeeze in time in my crazy schedule to make a trip to see him with the original cast (though i suppose I would make the trip to understudy night as well but I digress).
Upon entering the “alley stage” of Profiles Theatre I was struck by the classroom setting and am immediately intrigued by the ambience and environment of a production I am walking in knowing nothing about.
Well considering that this is a matinee show (and as much as it pains me to say it) the pacing felt slow right at the beginning. This isn’t always the fault of the actors or the production team, because I find this to be an issue for professional theatre productions as well as on Broadway… matinee shows just don’t have the same kind of energy as the evening shows. Period.
From the Profiles Theatre website:
Since the sudden death of his favorite student, high-school teacher Larry Morrow has been falling asleep at his desk and dreaming. Steve, the school’s guidance counselor, hangs inspirational posters designed to help everyone “process their emotions” while the student’s sister and friends find little solace in their schoolwork. The Dream of the Burning Boy is a bittersweet story of choices made, opportunities lost, and finding the strength to move on.
Why yes… I have been quite busy… busy doing a lot of things, seeing shows, going to conventions, listening to audiobooks… here is what is upcoming as soon as I find time to sit down and write them out:
- Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job
- The Blind Side and other related audiobooks to Michael Oher’s life
- Veronica Roth’s Divergent
- Kill Shakespeare Graphic Novel Vols 1 & 2
- Kill Shakespeare: the staged graphic novel
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Chicago Tour Stop
- Catch Me if You Can: Chicago Tour Stop
- Big Fish: Pre-Broadway Engagement
- American Idiot: Chicago Tour Stop
- Anything Goes: Chicago Tour Stop
- Village Theatre Guild’s A Hatful of Rain
- Denver Performance Center’s Sense and Sensibility (Musical)
- Fabletown and Beyond Convention in Rochester, Minnesota
- Disneyland / Disney’s California Adventure (from February)
Yeeeeeaaaaaah, I am a wee busy. Not to mention that I am also in another theatre production (on and off stage work) and have other blogging duties to catch up on….
At least you all will know why I’m a wee slow at the moment. Hopefully I’ll start picking at that mountain before it becomes too high.