Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Hyacinth Macaw

defunkt theatre
September 16, 2005; closes October 22, 2005

Occasionally ambient, largely indecipherable. More poetry than theatre. All those words and so little spoke to me, intellectually or emotionally. Wellman’s acquired taste, I know, but the only thing I felt was drowsy, even as delicate execution of Kenya DuBois’ subtle sound design creeped lithely in and out of consciousness.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lot of words. It took me a few scenes to adjust to the language, but once I did I realized that this was an absurdly amusing piece. Here is a play that inspires the audience to think a little and for that I would say it is worthwhile. Strong performances by all. Very impressive set for the $17 budget, and any sound design that includes Miles Davis is OK by me.

Anonymous said...

I'm far from genuis, but I would consider myself a highly intelligent person who usually is the only one who "get it" when it comes to difficult theatre pieces, and I would say the same for my companion who accompanied me to this show. However, I just didn't get it. I don't think it's Wellman's fault, though. After a very unpleasant scene with little action or movement featuring the monotone dronings of one unnamed performer, I dropped out after the pants trade and stopped caring about this production altogether. The final moments with the television tap and the burial were nice but they weren't enough to pull me or my companion out of our malaise over the incomprehensible blathering barely made bearable by a funny Asian cameo.

Anonymous said...

An addendum to above - I decided it just wasnt fair to the show to not say more. I think it was well-executed with a pretty darn good set and sound design and a couple of fantastic performances from Tom Moorman and Frances Binder, but I just didn't care anymore after it got so terribly boring. It is a shame that the exquisiteness of the final scene couldn't bring me back, because it was beautiful. However, by that time my brain was numb. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I love these guys -- Tom and James are always fun to watch and here they even trade pants -- and I held out hope for a long time that something would come of all this -- that I wasn't a "geezer," but it all turned out to be so excruciating that I wondered if I had walked into an Imago production by mistake.

But don't worry, defunkt. I'll be back for the next one.

Anonymous said...

I think defunkt's affinity for Mac Wellman, Pinter, and other, heady language-intensive playwrights is to be commended. After all, who would do Wellman in Portland if it weren't for this brave little company? Still, the actors that work there -- and I'm speaking very generally -- seem to lack sufficient chops to both deal with and make vivid the style of the play, which is entirely wrapped up in the text. Directors routinely miss the mark on this, hiring actors for their unique "qualities," as opposed to those who possess the requisite craft necessary for the job.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a person who has studied theater, gets all cozy and familiar with particular playwrights or attends a whole lot of theatrical performances. In short, I think I am just the sort of person that defunkt is trying to reach. I found their interpretation of this piece an absolute pleasure. My jaw ached by the end from laughter and smiles, and the lyrical rhythmic aspect to the monologues made this performance a word-geeks delight!
To those who can’t make sense of the nonsensical, I wonder how you get along in the world at all.
I say go see this play. Relax, have fun with it and enjoy yourself. If you come away from it feeling like you just don’t get it, maybe you’re simply trying too hard.

Anonymous said...

or... maybe they weren't trying hard enough! Those of us who attend theatre regularly like to be stimulated with more than just words, unless it's reader's theatre, and even then give us something! Otherwise, I just might as well read a book and call it a night. Toward the end of the play, it seems liked the director and one of the actors just stopped trying, and all that was left was pretty words...

Anonymous said...

i guess my question for defunkt would be: who was this intended for? maybe it's reaching its (narrow) target demographic. but if they wanted to bring wellman to a larger audience, i think last year's "murder of crows" worked better than this piece.

on a separate, but related note -- did y'all read the pretentious program notes from the playwright? i.e., if you don't get it, you're just too old -- or something along those lines

methinks emperor wellman has no clothes

Anonymous said...

Isn't this precisely what a play is supposed to do? It has provoked thought and debate and created a bit of a stir...8 comments after one weekend of being open...whatever your opinion of the show is, at least the show has given you something to think about. I applaud defunkt for doing something different and taking a risk. Isn't theatre supposed to be about risks anyway?

g said...

can't wait to see it.

Anonymous said...

The show is lyrical and beautiful…and by the end my sides hurt with laughter. I was touched by the tender moments throughout. I thought the acting was stunning; James was great as usual – hysterical, compelling and a bit creepy. Frances’ reprisal of Susannah was breathtaking (I love her work), Lori Sue’s Dora was complex; touching, brutal and funny. kollodi as Mad Wu is really sublime, and Tom’s Ray was biting, hapless and some of the best work I’ve seen him do. I loved the show, as I have loved all the previous Mac Wellman I have seen, I find the language empyreal, and engaging all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of hipsters stroking themselves and bragging about how great their groovy, disheveled friends are and how risk-taking their hamfisted, indecipherable "art" is. Please go smoke your cloves elsewhere. Jesus h. Wanna see risks being taken? Head on down to the Big Easy, ya poseurs.

JD said...

angry guy, did you see the show, or are you just feeling a little left out of the "groovey friend club"? I noticed you signed anonymously... interesting.

JD

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah call him/her out on posting anonymous as if the initials JD reveal just who you are.

JD said...

Who called who out first?
They called out the entire group, insulting not only the posters but the company as well. I would simply like to know if they saw the production in question.
And tho JD might not reveal just who Iam, "anonymous" hides not only "angry guy's" identity, but yours as well.
This blog should be a critique of the show, not of the posters.

JD (my real initials)

Anonymous said...

JD -

I was hardly angry when I posted that, and I did NOT attack the company. In a previous post, I indicated what I thought of the production itself. Nice try at disinformation, but look at my post again. I expressed my dspleasure with some of the posters' comments, and as far as I can tell, I may feel free to do so, whether you like it or not. This blog is not under your jurisdiction.

ANONYNONYNONYMOUS

Anonymous said...

Not to get in the middle of anything and I have don't have much of an opinion on poster anonymity... but it does make it impossible to know that you were the same "Anonymous" from a previous post.

Darius... no! I mean... shoot...

Anonymous said...

Hbfdd! Bgrdlyoppd! Smkt! Smkt! BLBDPDYDPDGRK!! neefy-deefy-dee, sprninny-nppy-nff. mffni. shreeeneeee... Zbdbdb. Smngrgrg, Brdrdbrg, y DbdddyObddyShtrdbrg. ufiby yubj sbt ig iy...RBDYRBDYRBDYRB! Ap pA Ap, pA. Nrnynrnynrnynrnyrnrnyrnrynry...

Follow Spot said...

All right, settle down kids, or I'll take you all back to the classroom and we'll practice our multiplication tables instead of talking about the ins and outs of the Hyacinth Macaw.

jeff woods said...

Whee! This is fun!

My real name is Steve.

Anonymous said...

No Neal, no pants, no way.

Doctor said...

Maybe we should all take a few deep breaths, and...

olga said...

Ah Devo. Thanks everyone, I laughed so hard I cried reading this chain. Haven't seen THE HYACINTH MACAW but now I really want to. Writers are pushing the envelope re: what's drama ~ it is challenging to theatricalize non-traditional 'plays.' But since we enjoying the combative mood, come see ELLIOT, A SOLDIER'S FUGUE for related issues. (Please forgive me Followspot B, if I've crossed a blog-etiquette line with this near-shameless plug.) Challenging yes, but I like it too.

Yours.

Dylan said...

Okay, gotta throw in my two farthings.
The play was great! I saw it on the first Friday and was a little tense when I went in. Due to the playful language, the music and the wonderful performances, I left relaxed. It was a perfect meditative/contemplative dramatic performance. Fine, its not rocket science. Sure, they aren't curing brain-cancer. But it worked for me. Call me subjective.
And my name is Dylan, you anonymous chicken-turds! You blog-snipers are the critical equivalent of the Keystone Cops. Grow a pair and sign your freakin' posts!

David said...

My, my, my. I haven't seen such a goofy extended cat fight since rehab. Now I'm feeling nostalgic. And just to see what's got you guys all twisted up, I'm definitely going to see this show.

Follow Spot said...

Now that another weekend has gone by, who else has seen this show and wants to add their two cents?

Also, as Olga mentions, both Hyacinth Macaw and Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue are "nontraditional" plays ... any comments to compare and contrast the productions? For example, if pressed, I might say that Wellman's script is more interesting from a literary point of view, but that Miracle's production worked better ... but that's just my gut reaction without more than one cup of coffee and five minutes of contemplation ...

Thoughts, people?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if people will notice that there are now 27 comments instead of 26, but...

This is the first time I've liked Mac Wellman. The production is engaging and thought-provoking and I found it very accessible. You'll never get everything watching Wellman. This production (and strong performances) gives you every opportunity to get as much as you can.

A great, entertaining way into a tough text, a tough playwright.

Darius

Anonymous said...

Of course we notice, Darius! And the more feedback, the better. Art may be subject to an individual's interpretation, but it's not limited to one person's point of view. Thank god defunkt is around to stir things up.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a lot of comments. That's great to see. Yes, there were lots of words. I'd like to give a shout out to Ben & Sarah Jane for the beautiful movement and staging. And I'm consistantly impressed with how big they can make that little room feel, those defunkters.

I've been to this production twice, once with a companion who has seen only two other plays before, and loved it. To the point where I got a message on my phone half an hour after leaving the theater that simply said "More theater, we have to go see more theater. Everything there is." I think that's pretty high praise from a civilian.

Also, I heart Tom Moorman.

defunkt rocks, I'll go see whatever they do even if it's not up my alley, because I can expect that their work will be smart, beautiful, and I'll lose myself in their world. I don't feel that way often enough.

Nicole
from the industry/nexus

Anonymous said...

Remember, the program says "$17 budget", not "$17 total cost"; hell, I could put on a show with a $0 budget, but I'd go over my budget.

james said...

good point. i caught that miswording sometime during the second week (after having printed enough programs for the entire run). allow me to clarify: $17 was spent on the set (kollodi came in well under budget). thanks for catching that.

Anonymous said...

the budget was 200