Sunday, May 28, 2006

The girl theatre blogger fails to post for a while

Bad non-poster, bad, bad.

Kittens, I'm off to workshop my play, Erratica, in Muncie, Indiana. Check it out here: http://www.bsu.edu/calendar/event/0,1361,142828-10675-17824,00.html and here http://www.bsu.edu/theatre/article/0,,27114--,00.html (Reina afficianados will be amused to note that I'm once again tangling with that unconscionable title-stealer, Wendy Macleod.) Forgive the lack of new reviews for next week.

But this week? Time to play our favorite game: catch-up. Last Saturday I took in Spamalot and ehhhhhhhh. Pleasant enough, but something made me uneasy about the way the audience roared in anticipation of its favorite bits from the movie. Wouldn't you have more fun doing that at home with your friends? Also, the rampant silliness of the staging was cute, but would have been much cuter on a millionth of the budget with thirty people in the audience. My snobbery again? Perhaps, but there's just something about invention in response to a low budget that flicks my Bic. I mean, that's part of what made the coconuts so great in the movie version- who can afford horses?

I caught a Thursday matinee of the Clean House at the Goodman with my friend Liz. I enjoyed it, but I don't really get all the fuss. Number one sin for me: not funny enough. The writing had a certain bland sitcomishness at times that COULD have been intentional, but I wasn't sure to what effect.

And of course, best for last. "The Boy Detective Fails," now playing at the Viaduct, is lovely. I hearted it with all my heart. The little red curtain, the witty, dingy sets, the teal harpsichord. It had a bit of Wes Anderson aesthetic going on, which is a new trick for the House Theatre and very pretty. And Shawn [smashes the keyboard randomly] was precious in the title role. So earnest! I was right there emotionally, and I will have that boxed, please.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course, best for last. "The Boy Detective Fails," now playing at the Viaduct, is lovely. I hearted it with all my heart. The little red curtain, the witty, dingy sets, the teal harpsichord.

You're not really on my side in the "style versus substance" debate specifically as references the House. Detractors of the House whine about a lack of substance and maturity in their storytelling and accuse their plays of being full of nothing but impressive stage tricks. I find this argument to be absurd, (I've never been to a House show in which the dialogue didn't crackle, or the plots weren't involving or the actors weren't inspiring) but I'm not sure your problem with it is quite the same as mine. The difference between you and them is that you LOVE the visuals, where I don't think, in the case of "Boy Detective", they were all that neccessary. Don't get me wrong I loved the show, but I loved it for the writing and acting (you did mention Shawn's lead performance, which was nice)

Live spectacle impresses me, but not that much. I've seen and loved the mega Broadway musicals of the eighties, in the case of Les Mis more than twice, but I remember sitting there and thinking "You know I really wouldn't love this show an iota less if that rotating barricade wasn't there". In the case of some of the House's previous shows, the Valentine trilogy being the obvious example, that larger than life aesthetic did enhance the show, we all loved the samurai on wires and whatnot, but you get around to a show like the Boy Detective, which is a much more scale model life story, despite its genre elements, I really don't think they needed half (or two thirds) of the stage effects they used. Some of it was cool sure, but it wasn't strictly neccessary and I think it gives the critics ammunition. I came away from that show thinking, "Wow, what a powerful story", (and on an irrelevant personal note, how uncomfortably similar to a story of my own)not "What witty, dingy sets". If they had stripped down that show a little more, I think they could have proven that they can produce great theatre on an even smaller scale. For Genesius' sake must theatre constantly be regarded as a purely visual medium as opposed to a largely verbal one? It is the words that endure.

-You Know Who

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I DID enjoy the obvious Wes Anderson homage, that made me smile a lot.

-Same guy

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Bill V said...

Loved Spamalot! Very fun and of course the Monty fans were giddy with anticipation of their favorite scenes. How could you blame them?

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Liz Gorinsky said...

Y'know, I'm not sure how we totally failed to discuss The Clean House in person. I'd mostly agree with your assessment, and raise it to a conjecture that I think we both would have left with a much better taste in our mouths if they'd just left out the second act entirely.

I also feel mildly silly that I'd managed to convince myself that Clean House had gotten its Pulitzer nom in the year where no award had been given (2006), when it was actually nominated in the year when the award went to Doubt. So I guess I have no particular coplaints about either decision, but isn't it a little bit appalling that they're so wedded to the "preferably dealing with American life" clause that they nominated Red Light Winter over Bach at Leipzig? Bastards. And... and... and I really oughta leave off here before I actually give in to the temptation to catalogue all of the shows that should have been considered but totally weren't.

Anyway, I hope Muncie is smashing. I wish to heck that you'd been able to share a truly fantabulous That's Weird, Grandma with me, but I guess there'll always be a next time.

10:56 AM  

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