Sunday, June 24, 2007

Watching the detectives

Silent Theatre's inaugrual production, "Lulu," totally knocked me out last year. It was sexy, weird, and brought all the most satisfying conventions of silent film to the stage. The troupe's sophomore effort, "Noir," had that old devil of high expectations to deal with. Despite having a lot of cool stuff going on, "Noir" was kind of a disappointment.
Ok, maybe too much cool stuff went on. The performers brought back the virtually wordless, stormingly physical, slightly herky-jerky acting style that gave "Lulu" so much punch, but now there's this talky-talky guy that keeps spewing hard-boiled chatter. Occasionally he shuts up, and things improve drastically. Something about all the verbosity drains one's attention from the gestures.
Still, I have high hopes for "Noir." When I saw Lulu, it was on its third of fourth revival. I've read some interviews with the director, and I think she's a whittler. I bet she ends up 86ing some of the characters, streamlining the plot, and severely restricting the narrator. I hope she gets the chance to do it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Nine corpses at the least

On Thursday I took in "Mr. Spacky, the Man Who Was Continuously Followed by Wolves," a title that's fun to say, not just once, but over and over again, in increasingly absurd accents. It's very much a style piece, Edward Gorey in pastels, with civil-war hoe-down songs about killing other people's fiances, and I quite enjoyed it.

Towards the end, the cast gave us a chance to vote for a happy ending, or an "every-one dies" ending. We were a small but vicious audience, and voted for tragedy, almost unanimously. Bad choice! There were only four people to kill, and they died in rather arbitrary, unsatisfying ways. (The seven-piece band remained untouched.) Perhaps the happy ending would have been more fun.

I mean, really, there's no point in killing everybody unless you can match or exceed the death-count in Hamlet, and Shakespeare sets the death-count bar pretty high.