Saturday, October 07, 2006

More good stuff ...

... that I may not get to personally:

Ghosts Northwest Classical
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Oregon Children’s
The Birthday Party Arts Equity
Little Shop of Horrors New Century
No Exit Third Eye
Blithe Spirit Columbia Arts
Tommy Live On Stage
Miss Witherspoon Integrity Productions
The Blue-Eyed Hare Play-After-Play

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

here's one you won't get to but i feel compelled to counter the review in the O.
molly ringwald as "sweet charity" is altogether charming. her singing is perfectly swell and her dancing is not stiff as the O says -- it's the slightest bit tentative -- which for me worked better that seeing a dance diva attack the role. just as liza was too good of a singer to play the down on her luck sally bowles, anyone who is a legend in the dance world who plays charity is overkill --- charity is a dance hall girl -- she is not a hoofer.
molly was charmingly game and that is a perfect fit for the role.
her speaking voice is a bit like meg tilly when she projects and her appearance is that on a young carol burnett. never mind tho, just go and have a great time!

Anonymous said...

GHOSTS is worth attending for BiBi Walton alone! She is a find. Closes Sunday though so go see it fast!

Anonymous said...

Actually, this is a dull production of Ghosts. As a rule, NWCTC's actors and directors run through their beats, fail to physicalize, and do not make specific choices, failings all visible in Ghosts. The actors speak the lines but don't tell the story. This company needs a more imaginative and efficient rehearsal process.

All of that said, this production may be worth seeing as an introduction to Ghosts, which is why I went. It's worth something to have a story merely read aloud, sometimes. And, the company could use the support. I think this company comes up to it's audience, sometimes, and will do so more consistantly, with a consistant audience--if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

I love it when people say "as a rule" because it makes one sound so very authoritative on the subject...as a rule.

I disagree with "anonymous 8:38" regarding Ghosts. I must say that I don't understand what "fail to physicalize means"...I saw action and subtext. I don't understand what "do not make specific choices means"...I saw clear choices.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about NWCTC is that they are not pretentious in their productions. It seems that they sometimes invite actors to work who have little experience which has tremendous potential to be dangerous, but they always seem to counter-balance with fine professionals. True, the first 15 minutes was somewhat painful to watch...however, the production I witnessed really blossomed from there. Both Bibi Walton and Daniel Shaw did wonderful work in their respective roles, and Grant Turner is always fun to watch.

I think it a conflict of interest to tear down not merely the show but the company, say "as a rule" the company fails, but then add they need your support. If you are trying to gather support for NWCTC anon, I think your pleadings just failed miserably.

In short, I was able to get over the shortcomings of the production and found it not only educational but ultimately enjoyable...

...I will certainly return to see what direction the company takes with The Tempest.

Anonymous said...

I certainly didn't mean to imply false authority by saying "as a rule." I just meant that certain less-successful qualities seem to be marks of the company from one show to another. I think your praise of how they combine amateurs with professionals is right on, though. It's one of the company's most endearing features and probably fits their mission. I also agree with you about Dan Shaw, for the most part, though I think he--and the rest of the cast--were missing opportunities (perhaps "missing opportunities" is the way I should have coached my criticism, in the first place, it's less harsh, and perhaps, more accurate.)

I, too, am looking forward to seeing what they do with The Tempest.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know: A) how many NWCTC productions "as a rule" Anonymous has seen; and 2) whether he or she has ever been in an NWCTC show. I don't ask to undercut your comments, some of which I would not dispute, but to ascertain how much authority they presume to possess. I've been in one NWCTC production and seen two others, I believe, and I posted comments on those shows here on followspot, because as uneven as individual plays and their general output might be, NWCTC deserves more attention than I think they've been getting. They occupy an interesting zone between the dreaded "community theater" (an archetype, more than something one should make the mistake -- as has been done by occasional posters to this blog -- of offering Lakefront or New Rose as a true example of) and the more serious and sober companies in town. They take risks; maybe not big ones, but risky enough to be interesting.

Anonymous said...

miss witherspoon is not what i expected it to be. christopher durang is a very funny fellow, but i found this to be more of a contemplation than a comedy. i thought it was well done. i thought that while it may not have been a barrel of laffs, when it was all said and done, it left you feeling comforted about this crazy journey we all seem to be sharing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous about "Miss Witherspoon". And even though I don't think it's comedically typical of Durang, I will say that towards the end of the show was, to me, 30 of the funniest seconds I've ever seen. Tears, I tell you. Tears.
Darius

John San Nicolas said...

Thanks, Darius.
I don't know you personally, but certainly heard your uncontrollable laughter during that scene, and one of my fellow castmates identified you. So, thanks.
John San Nicolas-Gandalf in "Miss Witherspoon"

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the website you have linked for Oregon Children's Theatre is incorrect. Their website is www.octc.org, not www.oct.org.

Follow Spot said...

The link is now fixed. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Anonymous said...

WEST SIDE STORY AT PCS
This is a very fine production of a classic musical. The acting,
singing and dancing are all very high caliber. The orchestra, while about half in number of what the show is scored for, acquits itself admirably. They are also however, one of the shows detractions. Used as a bold Brechtian alienation device, the orchestra (including conductor Rick Lewis' Bernstein like locks) are well lit throughout the show, and because they perched in full view on a mezzanine behind the
action, we are always privy to every downbeat; every retard.
Inexplicably, they are lit boldly and differently for every scene,
which simply exacerbates the focus problem.
Another quibble is with the numerous and transparently double cast roles, done no doubt to save money -- afterall, they are still
$9 million short on the note for their new digs.
Amy Palomino (a local treasure) is Anybody's. Intense and on the mark, she deserves her own
vehicle at PCS.
And Anderson Davis is a formidable Tony -- one of the most notoriously difficult and thankless roles in the American Musical Theatre Canon.
As for the $60 ticket price, consider it a donation to the building fund.
________________________________________________________________________

Anonymous said...

now that we are on the topic of the new pcs digs, here's a first timer's impression.
the whole enterprise feels cramped a bit --- small lobby and balcony --- the appointments are a bit spartan. the studio theatre is the size of a classroom. contrary to rumor, the main stage
acoustics are splendid -- it's a theatre -- seats, a stage, some lights -- you can see and hear just as you should.
the most notable thing about the place is its environmentally friendly construction and operation. while the sidewalk is not done, and the price seems absurd ($36.1 million according to published reports) all in all its a good thing. pcs now has the container --- what they fill it with is the key to the future of big budget theatre in our town.
to quote the current production:
"go man go"

Follow Spot said...

It doesn't matter to me if you wanna start PCS and WSS comments here, but FYI: I will be starting a WSS-specific thread after I see the show 10/24 ...

Anonymous said...

speaking of WEST SIDE STORY: yeah, anonymous -- what was with the orhestra as a supporting chracter thing? not only are they lit, but in many scenes, actors are staged up on the mezzanine with them pulling even more focus up there. yikes. rick lewis could have drawn 2 paychecks as conductor and actor.
and what was with those shopping carts?
and check out this logic: let's move to a smaller theatre and then do a big musical.
it was good though.

Dan said...

Hey Followspot, when are you seeing Mr. Maramalade?

Follow Spot said...

Soon, Dan, soon!

Oh, the pressure ....

Alison said...

Mr. Marmalade is so great! Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

JINGLE SPREE at CoHo is a very strong new work. This play has nothing to do with the holidays, despite the name!

CoHo's minimal promotional and PR efforts this season have not got the word out very well. Sadly, there were only 9 people in the audience Saturday night.

This show is tight, fast, and terrifying. I was impressed with the cast and playwright.

Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Minimal promotion, 9 people in the audience. This is what happens when you lay off your best employee ever.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Marmalade was so bad it truly took my breath away. What is ART doing here?!

Sight gags, sex jokes, food fights, drug slumming and other stunts cannot compensate for the fundamentally lacking script and the absence of any dramatic action.

The directing betrays ambivalence about what to do with this piece. Painful. Did not feel any vision. Sad to see so many talented actors trapped onstage in the burning building of this play. Get them a ladder!

The thought that this script might be seen by the selection process as somehow edgy or current or...anything...is discouraging.

This felt like simple dereliction of artistic duty. ART knowingly exposed their loyal audience to plain and simple dreck. There should be controls and filters in place to make sure that doesn't happen.

Harlan said...

Maybe ART should hire whoever CoHo layed off.

Dan wowed said...

Anonymous who disliked Mr. Marmalade: I completely disagree. I was blown away, and I have been known to be incredibly critical, almost Silvis-like in my assessments. I was just floored. Of course it had incredibly juvenile moments. This was a show told through the eyes of a child who has witnessed the degradation of her parents violent and volatile relationship. She has experienced the abandonment of her deadbeat, abusive father and is now home alone because her irresponsible mother leaves her to her imaginations in her basement while she is gone at all hours either at work or on random dates.

The little girl, played absolutely amazingly by Laura Faye Smith (Drammy worthy in every way imaginable) acts out all the terribly painful experiences she has witnessed between her parents through her imaginary friends. Yes there are sight gags and crude silly jokes, food fights, and the like, but this is a little girl's life. She is a child and her imaginary friends only have the emotional maturity that she possesses. However, when we see the imaginary friends of her new 5 year old playmate, we understand in comparison just how deeply complex and horrifying her acting out really is. Act II takes you to an even darker place where no one though this little girl could possibly go. Where did she learn this? She has got to get out of that basement. She needs to heal. She has to go outside and be a kid again, if she's ever going to recover from this trauma.

The dramatic action was all there and the story is just disturbing. But when you step back and realize that this is the mind of a young child, the story becomes so much more impactful. I kept asking myself, "how does this little girl know about these things?" She had to have witnessed them. Glimpses of her current family life clue us in on just how real her imaginary life is and it makes it that much more haunting and deeply painful. You must go and see this show, and when you do, try to follow the journey Laura Faye takes you on and as she jumps into the body, mind, and soul of this 4 year old girl. Imagine you are inside her world, and you will be haunted more than you could have imagined.

Anonymous said...

Mr Marmelade.....South Park does all of this stuff and way better.

Anonymous said...

WSS

Will be curious to see the discussion once that thread goes up!

Relevant? Challenging? Safe?

Anonymous said...

Followspot, what do you have to say about the two NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADs?

Follow Spot said...

I don't really have anything to say because I haven't seen -- and probably won't be able to get to see -- either one.

How about everyone else?

Anonymous said...

> WSS

> Will be curious to see the discussion once that thread goes up!


Me too. Saw it last night. Kind of liked the orchestra onstage, because for me Bernstein's score is the heart and soul of this show. Orchestra's presence didn't bother me much, but its stripped-dwn size and sound (and a few missteps -- not many, and the singers occasionally made it extra challenging for them with shaky entrances) did a bit.

More on the actors when we get a thread. . . .

Anonymous said...

...I will certainly return to see what direction the company takes with The Tempest.

So, did anybody see it this weekend? I'm trying to see if it's worth spending my $18 on it.

Anonymous said...

The Tragedies Theatre Co's "Le Grand Guignol" is just a bloody bucketful of fun. You gotta' live through the tradition Guignol melodrama, but the enthusiasm and humor and utter glee in, oh say, chopping things off, carry the evening. Worth a look.