Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oleanna

Tribe Theater and The centerRing
December 3, 2005; closes December 17, 2005

Stuttering, run-on dialogue of Mametspeak isn’t easy, but it’s that poetic naturalism that’s essential to the construction of his storytelling. You gotta nail timing and inflection in order to drill down to character subtext — the point of the polarizing story — but less-than-effective direction kept this performance from an emotional hammering.

6 comments:

DP said...

Wow - the Oregonian had a much different opinion.

Anonymous said...

So did the Mercury and the Portland Tribune. So its 4 to 1 - sorry followspot!

miles m. said...

Here to backup followspot. Sadly, I didn't read any of those other reviews, but saw the piece myself and, well, that director doesn't understand Mamet. Or, to be fair, failed to manage to communicate his understanding to the audience through good direction. Never believed for a minute that Teuful was married, and could never have suspected him of making sexual advances on the girl. Lighting was inappropriate and distracting. Rhythm and motivation were sporadic. An attempt to make both characters sympathetic made neither of them believable. I agree that they are both victims, but they are also both victimizers, and that is completely missed. Sabra Choi was very honest and focused.

Michael J. Teufel said...

Who said I was making sexual advances on the girl Miles? Did you miss the whole point, or what? Apparently you didn't see the play we were in, rather a version of it in your own head. You obviously missed the whole point, for whatever reason.

If you didn't believe that I was married, which I am in real life, I don't know what I could have done to convince you better. Guess you didn't like my acting, oh well. And for the love of Christ if you are going to slag me in a public forum have the courtesy to spell my name correctly. Thank you.

miles m. said...

Michael and whomever else,

First of all, I apoligize for misspelling your name. It was spelled thus in the Portland Tribune article as posted on the Vertigo website, and I don't know how I missed the correct spelling in a million other places. It was unintentional negligence, and I apoligize.

Now, as for "who said you were making sexual advances on the girl," well, she does. Carol, that is. Now, it may be true that, in your production, your character is completely blameless, that he never crossed any boundaries of sexual appropriateness. This, in itself, strikes me as false to Mamet's intentions, but each production in entitled to it's own interpretation, sure. But it still has to be supported by the dialogue, and the dialogue implies that you ARE a flirt, and somewhat uncautious and inappropriate in your dealings with female students. The dialogue tell us this, but we never see it.

Instead, we see a professor genuinely concerned for his student, and a student who seems to be in love with her professor, and lash out at him purely out of jealousy (this I mainly conclude from choices such as Choi's tearful "don't call your wife baby," etc). But your character admits to the charge of negligence, admits that he may have been inappropriate with female students, admits that he may need to change. But the character we see is, as I said, guiltless, and there is no indication of the monster within that attacks a student with unrestrained violence at the end.

As for your acting, and believing you were married, etc, I have no doubt you followed the direction you were given, and I have no basis on which to judge your skill other than this production. I think you were asked to make some difficult choices, many challenging and abrupt changes and outbursts, etc. I obviously was not a fan of the production, mainly because I felt these choices to be unsupported by the text, but had no intention of attacking you as an actor or a person. Please accept my apology if my criticism caused you to feel slandered.

-miles

stageleftjt said...

Jeepers! I don't think that anyone is being 'slagged in a public forum". . . that seems to me to be more than a little hypersensitive, not to mention counterintuitive to the premise of this site. I don;t think that Miles owes anyone an apology for an honest assessment. What actor hasn't read reviews that hurt, or that we'd like to respond to - I know I have! But in my humble opinion, it's best for all involved to resist the temptation to personalize reviews or see them as an attack. Certainly taking a combative or accusatory approach doesn't reflect well on anyone involved.

Artists who put their work up for public consumption must know that they are inviting appraisal, positive or negative. It's not fair, or healthy for the process of honest analysis, for an artist to be so angrily defensive of reviews that don't 'see' what he or she is trying to communicate. Rather, an artist ought to have the strength, or at least the grace, to either accept, ignore or thoughtfully rebut any review that is posted in a forum such as this one.

Certainly, Miles had a strong rection to the play and voiced his opinions candidly (the purpose, I'm prone to think, of this website). The beauty of this site above others is that Mr. Teufel has the opportunity to respond. In a perfect world, this response would be geared toward shedding further light, and not attempting to disprove or discredit a genuine response to a piece of art.

Miles' comments were not mean, biting or malicious. He gave supporting reasons for his reaction and spoke directly, but did not go out of his way to insult or 'slag' anyone.

Anyone who chooses to put his or her art on public display is inviting a reaction - it is disingenuine and harmful to the art to lash out at any honest response to their art.

Now I'm repeating myself.

a' course, like everything on this site, this is just my opinion. (I guess that's my whole point. . .)