Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Photo: Owen Carey

Artists Repertory Theatre
September 18, 2007; closes October 14, 2007

Many of Portland’s finest actors keep this light ball bouncing. In between waves of titanic volume and drawing room foot races, what stays with you is the quiet, impressive short game of O’Connell, True, and especially Porter. Several perfect gestures and pauses pack in more than any speech ever could.


Anonymous said...

I liked this very much. An array of Portland's finest actors strutting their stuff, yet never going overboard. Agree that Porter is first among equals in this show. True strong, O'Connell refreshingly light on what could have easily been an overbearingly sinister character. Lots of laughs mixed with truly moving moments. Burch and Caffall hold their own among the vets. Wonderful set, too.

Anonymous said...

Thought the set was very good. And the concept of dual plays is a fascinating one that ART pulled off splendidly.

However, having read both scripts, I thought that too many of the 'jokes' were overplayed to the point of camp. And it got old. Because of this, I found myself not really sympathizing with any of the characters when it came to a more serious scene. There were no "truly moving moments" for me.

This, I believe, was due to direction. There were many fine performers up there...but in the end, I just didn't care about their characters or what they went through.

Nonynonynonymoose said...


I had almost the complete opposite reaction. I didn't see any camp at all - and I truly cared about the characters.


will said...

O'Connell stood out for me in this production, and the interactions played between him and the talented young Burch, not to mention the wonderfully tense moment at the door with Caffall, was very well played.

Set design was top-notch, and I fell in love with this space, even though I was a slightly fascinated by the architect's decision to locate the light-box where it was.

A previous poster mentioned that there were no "truly moving moments" for him/her. They might be right, but there was one moment for me...a moment between Porter and Burch on the couch.

**Spoiled Milk**

About 5 minutes to the conclusion, when the mother tells the daughter that her attitude is arrogant and that she is wrong in supposing that everyone else in the world is extraordinarily, talk about convicting. That moment made me realize why I love theatre, or at least, the potential of theatre. To move, to motivate, to reveal. I walked away feeling humbled, as though I should have been the one on the coach that was receiving the reprimand for all the times I have judged the path of others as being "insignificant."

**Spoiled Milk Cleaned Up**

This show also raised a question that I would like to pose you folks. Forgive me if it doesn't make sense, because I am not really sure how to articulate it. One the nice aspects about "amateur" theatre (I truly hate calling it that, if not for the clarification of terms) is that the actors haven't learned how to speak- an actor. Does this make any sense to any of you? There isn't the slight, subtle bravado in speech that rings untrue, there isn't that presentational pause in between thoughts (not because of subtext, but because that is how "a great actor sounds").

Someone help me out if you know what I am talking about...otherwise, ignore it. This is probably going to come off causing more confusion, but I figure this is a good forum for it.

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting point. I think I know what you're talking about, although I've noticed the "experienced actors talking 'like an actor' " more than I've noticed inexperienced ones appearing more natural because they haven't acquired that . . . whatever it is. It's especially noticeable if you only hear the person, and can't see her or him (like through the door, at auditions). On the inexperienced side, I've seen folks who are so much like the character they're supposed to play, so perfectly cast, that they AREN'T able to bring it off believably -- their acting mannerisms regularly spoil the illusion. And that reminds me of an acting gesture I see everywhere, from amateurs and some pros alike: that arms down, hands open and then raised forward slightly thing. I keep meaning to watch for it out on the street, because I suspect real people don't do it half as much as actors on stage do. I think we do it because we feel we have to be doing something all the time, but real people sometimes just let their arms hang limply for minutes, simply minutes . . . I suspect.