Sunday, February 11, 2007

Those are the breaks.

Just got back from "Landscape of the Body," or, more accurately, from that play's reception, which closed down the restaurant that we'd been intending to have post-show snacks at anyways. So I went, and shoveled down croquettes in an aloof manner, trying to ignore any idea of the journalistic ethics I'm not entitled to. Real critics don't have to deal with this problem- they are rushing home to make their deadlines.

Still, I see the problem. The people were so nice to me that I now feel guilty for disliking the show! I'll throw most of the blame at John Guare's script, which just irritated me. The man set forth, decades ago, to buck kitchen sink realism, so much so that his characters rarely have actual conversations. I rather prefer it when people on stage are not talking endlessly past each other, not because it's unrealistic, but because I find the spectacle of actors affecting each other to be more aesthetically pleasing. I also got sick of the long poetically elaborate philosophical monologues, again, not because they were unrealistic, but because they were unnecessary. In my favorite plays, the action has a rightness that doesn't always sink to inevitably (a total surprise can seem perfectly right.) The plot twists and added characters in this show just seemed arbitrary, and again, unnecessary.

It was well staged, and beautifully lit. It's hard to say what I would have felt about the acting if I didn't find the script so problematic. Bah! After two years, and after hearing a lot of great things about the company, I had to come see this for my first show at Artistic Home. I'd also heard good things about John Guare, though not about this specific play. How did I get so unlucky?


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