Saturday, September 25, 2010

smarmy old liars

I've seen several plays in Wellington during the past 3 weeks, and I thought I'd take some time to talk about them, and about theater in this city as I've seen it so far.
Last week I saw "Shipwrecked!" by Donald Margulies at the Circa Theater, which is a bit like the Geffen Playhouse in LA. Kind of stuffy, old school, celebrity-filled programming for everyone. They are doing a more risque show (that I'll see next week) but the show that's packing the houses is "Shipwrecked!"
It actually played at the Geffen last year.
Overall, the acting and production aesthetic was very impressive- The narrator was stellar, vibrant, lithe, charming, and the two supporting actors who play multiple roles (and multiple instruments) were dynamic. Their speedy character shifts were beyond virtuosic. But I felt that we didn't have enough depth into any one relationship within the exciting life of our hero. No matter how playful and surprising all the little vignettes were, the pace of the show got exhausting.

Even an hour in, the writing got flat, and for me the singular, biased voice of our narrator was so seamless and convincing, without any dissension for so much of the play, that when his tale is thrown into doubt, we are blindsided as an audience.

So: great performances, cool design, sadly emotionally flat. AND it's creepy to watch men in their 60's make out with women in their late 20's. No way around it.

Oddly, the first Google entry for Shipwrecked the play is a review of the NY premier, which starred Donnetta Grays, one of my former FAVORITE UC Irvine grad actors. Tiny little world.


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