Saturday, November 11, 2006

B is for Basil, assaulted by bears

Just returned from Gorey Stories, at the Viaduct, a show-with-music based on Edward Gorey's beloved, laconic, and unsettling books. Despite having been mounted twice before, the show had a slight case of the opening night stumbles. Or maybe not. There was something odd about the pacing, and it was hard to figure out if it was intentional. It was - an extra beat- after practically everything that happened. And before practically everything else that happened. And it kept the evening from taking off.

Here's what they did right- wonderfully detailed costumes that could have stepped right off the page. Several really funny performers- particularly the men, and particularly little Henry. And some quite nice music from live musicians.

The trick with story theatre, I believe, is generally to keep the flow going. You want to avoid saying something, and THEN having somebody do it. This happened in "Gorey Stories" pretty much constantly. My date for the night suggested that the pauses were an attempt to capture Gorey's essential dryness- the spare words that face you every time you flip the page. But then many members of the cast performed in a way that was positively wet- making Gorey's mildly deformed characters positively grotesque. I think the show could be really lovely with some cuts to the first act, a severe pacing adjustment, and a lighter touch from the actors. Oh, and thicker make-up. White-face works, people! So cake it on, and don't be shy.

Click for show details...


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did ERRATICA go at Ball State?

8:32 AM  

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