Uncle Josh goes to the theatre, and the theatre, and the theatre…
I am back from Ashland. Five plays in three days. Over the years I have tried to talk about each one individually, and some years I do a big lump summary. This is a big lump summary.
Anthony and Cleopatra
Fine fine fine. Costumes were good, acting was good, there were lighting tricks my family is still arguing about exactly how they puled it off. I did not read the play beforehand, so I don’t know if this is in the original, or in the edits, but I didn’t get the loyalty so many characters showed to Anthony. I didn’t see the great leader who inspired such loyalty, but the old man forgoing his duties to spend more time with his trophy mistress.
On the plus side, exploring those ideas of loyalty led me to outlining four stories in a cycle.
One of the remaining four on my bucket list (Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, and King John are the remaining three), and well worth it. It was produced in the Thomas Theater, the black box of OSF, and everything they do there is magic. Pericles as a hero is well worth watching, other than one fatal flaw, which is endemic of Shakespeare. One letter, written and delivered, would have saved all the grief in the world. The idea that Pericles wouldn’t write his daughter in 18 years is a bit much (or was it 14? I think it’s 14 in the play, 18 in this production).
In short, go see it.
I haven’t read the book (but I now have a hold for it in the queue) and I haven’t seed the movie (also in the hold queue at my library). I thought the story was something else than it was, but it was a great story. Two intermissions, the experience of which made me think of Box by the Pulp Stage in January. There is a lot of discussion about storytelling around this play that I hope to write up sometime soon.
Guys and Dolls
Memory lane. I did this show in high school. I played a drunk, a cuban dancer, and gambler, and a janitor. I think there was another role, too, but memory fades. It’s a fun show. They didn’t do anything to it other than change the dates to Runyons original stories, and that doesn’t hurt a thing.
The Count of Monte Cristo
I wanted to like this more than I did. I wanted to be wowed, but wasn’t. The two acts had two different tones, and I think there are some vital clues about the timeline that need addressing. Dantes is arrested shortly before his 21st birthday, spends 18 years in prison, and in play time appears as the Count of Monte Cristo to enact revenge just weeks after his escape and is even commented as being “no more than 35” by the judgement of one of the other characters (granted, that character is a youth). For the Count to learn everything he knows after his freedom could take years, not weeks.
There are good aspects to this show. The dancing is good, especially the waves, and the clap-quickaside in a spotlight-clap trick works for the most part, even when characters are pointing out the blindingly obvious.
Personally, I survived the Forced Death March through Lithia Park, but we did not have time for the Annual English Brother’s Arm-Wrestling and Bashing-of-Sandals-upside-the-Head contest. I am sure I would have won. Again.