Saturday, October 13, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation

Profile Theatre
October 10 - November 11, 2007

October 14, 2007
Posted by Followspot

Erratic direction slows down, confuses Guare’s smash success. Production feels uncertain and tone deaf. None of the three lead characters is convincingly of their world. Many of the actors play the roles we know them for, yet how that fits into THIS particular play is less than clear. Incomplete vision.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone else question the implications of Followspot’s last statement? (To wit: Actors doing their usual thing doesn’t benefit the production.) I ask because I had the same reaction when I saw House (didn’t see Garden). I questioned my reaction, however, and bit my tongue. I wondered: Should familiarity with local Portland actors and their idiosyncrasies have any bearing on a well-considered critical response? Is it fair to hold actors responsible for the personal characteristics they put on frequent display? If the answer to these questions is yes, what’s the solution? Are we calling for new actors? Or, are we asking more of the ones we have?

Anonymous said...

this is a terrific topic to discuss, especially in a small pond like Portland where actors are inevitably going to be utilized over and over and over.

I think for the "straight" actor ... i.e., one that is malleable and chameleon-like, this is less of a problem.

but for character actors and those who just rely on their gimmick or their niche (or their singular talent) ... well then it's either a smart or lazy director who casts them. What's the difference? That's the question.

Personally, there are many fine actors in town who I would love see step outside their boundaries (or be invited by directors to do so), but they have become so well known and reliable in what they can already deliver, that directors or they themselves are not pushing further, or casting them in other types of roles.

Typecasting, sometimes self-inflicted.

So, in response, I think as a CRITICAL response, yes, it is fair, to hold the production (not necessarily, though perhaps, the individual actor accountable), but whether it truly matters or not depends on the taste of the audience. If the audience wants to see Joe Joe do his monkey tricks one more time, then ... well, the almighty dollar has spoken.

I think the "solution" is to get directors fired up about the possibilities that lay beyond the obvious choices. All its hype aside, casting Storm Large as Sally Bowles was a heck of a lot more interesting than Wade Mc as the emcee.

I know: easier said than done.

Anonymous said... an avid reader of plays, thus I rarely attend performances. I left last night's performance rather bored. The actors were fine, I thought, but I am not a long time resident of Portland. This play, though, deserves a much better space and set, which both were utterly plain.