Archives October, 2012

11 October
ibrews

I can’t imagine a world where this could actually be performed (unless you had much older actors who looked this age), but it felt therapeutic for me to get out this strange and somewhat traumatizing story of my first girlfriend. Call it, 87% true.

 


10 October
ibrews

This 5-minute play came about after I rediscovered The Sims, a Maxis game I played a lot back in the early 2000s. After a couple weeks, I found myself explaining to someone the events of a recent game and realized how ridiculous it would be to have all of this happen in real life. So I threw this guy together.

 

While not necessary, I would love to have the little ++ and — symbols projecting above the actors heads as they talk. And I think the weird long pauses that happen in the game between conversation bouts (often interrupted by a random compliment or joke) could be a lot of fun. That being said, I don’t want to overdo it, or make the play too inaccessible for people who have no idea what The Sims is. Anyway, if you have 5 minutes, take a read and let me know what you think!


8 October
ibrews

A-

Hoo-rah!

  • Love the reconstructed Globe stage and how they still treat the audience like groundlings (they even keep the lights on!)
  • Such a playful production, and it worked. Hamlet can be a real downer (which is fine– it’s clearly in the text), but this was actually a lot of fun.
  • The play within a play was indescribably hilarious and masterful.
  • Loved the use of sound and music– from the opening and closing songs to the ambient noises punctuating key moments of the play. They used a violin bow on a cymbal!
  • Loved the pace (no pun intended). The play was nearly 3 hours but felt like half that.
  • All 8 of the actors were fantastic and filled the 20-odd roles extremely well. I particularly enjoyed seeing the same actor play Claudius, Hamlet’s father, and the King in the play within a play.
  • The actor playing Hamlet reminded me a little of a young Ralph Fiennes in his cadences and expressions, and that’s never a bad thing.

Blech…

 

  • I was distracted fairly often by the costume changes and whatnot happening backstage. It wouldn’t have been hard to close off the audience’s views to this and I don’t know why they didn’t.
  • By making it a ‘fun’ production, some of the dramatic weight was lost. I’m typically close to tears at the end of Hamlet and didn’t feel it this time.
  • Likewise for the speed– the pace kept it entertaining, but there weren’t a whole lot of pregnant pauses to allow for an exploration of the weight of a moment.

 

Wacky side note: My wife Liz and I had some crazy telepathic synchronicity during this production and afterwards found ourselves with basically the same proposal. Today, audiences are smart and they’re pretty darn familiar with the story of Hamlet. Why not spice it up a bit and remove some of the ‘givens’? What if Claudius didn’t kill Hamlet’s father? What if Hamlet is truly insane and is the only person who sees his father’s ghost? What if Hamlet killed Ophelia? What if when Claudius is praying, he’s praying for Hamlet’s mental health– maybe  he truly cares for the boy? What if Hamlet is responsible for his own father’s death? What’s interesting to us is not making any of this overt, but like the ending to such films as Inception and Looper, why not provide enough evidence to allow audience members to make a case either way? Don’t have Claudius confessing to the murder. Don’t have the guards see Hamlet’s father. Allow for the reaction Claudius has to the play within a play to be a debatable one. Maybe add a couple small scenes and remove a few that are too on-the-nose?

 

We think this would be fun. What say you?


3 October
ibrews

B

Hoo-rah!

  • Wonderful use of the space– a large studio with a flat floor. It felt spacious and free when it served the story, and empty and cold when necessary.
  • A fully multimedia experience. Sound, sight, cameras– awesome. Reminded me of ‘…some trace of her’ in some very good ways.
  • Good restraint of the ‘infinity effect’ the cameras create when filming their own projection. Glad it was saved for the end, and it worked well.
  • Great humor/comic timing. Loved the guy– especially in suave casanova mode.
  • Mustaches! Somehow worked very well for allowing the female actors to play multiple genders.

Blech…

  • The whole production came off as a little cold. There were a lot of ‘emotional’ moments that would have worked better if more time was spent making us care about the characters.
  • Didn’t feel any stakes. Wasn’t rooting for anything. It was an interesting exploration of the whole art versus love thing, but not a particularly interesting story. It kind of just washed over me.

 


1 October
ibrews

A-

‘Whhaaaaa…? But that’s not a theatre performance!’ I hear you grumble. But here’s my definition of theatre: a live experience involving suspension of disbelief. Here’s my definition of good theatre: theatre that moves me. This was good theatre. That being said, because it does not define itself as theatre, I will choose to forgo my usual ‘Hoo-ra’/'Blech…’ format of bullet-point review. Instead, think of this more as a recap. A thorough-recap. My goal here is for you to understand–to empathize with–how wonderful this experience was. Here we go.
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