Monday, December 08, 2008

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe

Portland Center Stage **Photo credit: Owen Carey**
October 14 - December 14, 2008

Review by peanutduck

Bucky, triangle devotee, explores the universe; platform for stimulating theatre, if well structured; otherwise, touchy-feely science lesson – love solves all. Doug Tompos’s rabbitish overbite endears, if attempts at levity disingenuous; production, script distrust audience’s intelligence, loses itself; sound, visuals manipulate (see tv movie). Post-election, conclusion will be laughable or inspirational.


Anonymous said...

Ummm . . . does anyone else think the photo looks more like Bruce Willis than Bucky? Is that who PCS got in to play him? Bold casting!

Anonymous said...

A little autobio, a little song, a bit of multimedia, a little audience participation, and a lot of lecture. One has to lean in to catch everything -- mostly due to the thicket of ideas, occasionally due to the actor upstaging himself and speaking too quietly. Not sure whether it adds up to effective theater, or theater period, but it's pleasant and engaging to be reminded that such a man existed, and some of his ideas still provoke and inspire. Bucky was sort of a cross between Carl Sagan, Deepak Chopra, and an art teacher. I enjoyed this.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think this show might not be theatre?

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm all for an inclusive definition of theater, but this show seemed a little weak in certain traditional aspects of theatrical construction, such as conflict or or story arc. Absorbing, certainly, but in what way that would distinguish it from a lecture with visual aids?

Anonymous said...

Compare to some other recent one-man shows. "Underneath the Lintel" (2005-06) had an explicit lecture format, yet presented more of a dramatic arc with mounting tension and denouement. The one-man "It's a Wonderful Life" and "I Am My Own Wife" had ready-made dramatic appeal (one, a long-time and familiarly winning story; the other, an overwhelming and unbeatable threat-context), but the single-actor-plays-three-dozen characters thing tends to distract from the story, and gets old fast.

This one was more down-to-earth, dramatically, and packed with thought-provoking ideas, but . . . not that emotionally engaging. Fine acting work, though.