Fingersmith

Jan. 4th, 2017 12:09 pm
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

I went to see Fingermith at the A.R.T.

It was...amazing. The basic story is great, the acting was good and the theatre tech was jaw dropping.

It's only playing for a few more days but if you can get tickets you should try and go.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So this weekend I also read through The Tempest by William “The Bard” Shakespeare. I did this because on Wednesday I saw the ART production of The Tempest and I wanted to brush up. Honestly, I’ve read enough Shakespeare that I can usually follow the gist of everything that’s said, but I do like to take a more leisurely stroll through the work with a handy gloss on the opposite page to bring out the details. Also, it’s always interesting to see what gets cut from Shakespeare’s five acts to fit a two-hour time slot.

I was particularly interested in this production because the music was by Tom Waits and one of the co-producers was Teller, one half of magician duo Penn and Teller, and in a play like The Tempest having a professional stage magician on hand to develop you special effects can only lead to good things.

So let’s talk about the play on the page and then the play on the stage.

I realize that comedies aren’t Shakespeare’s strongest suit, but reading through the full play I was surprised at how...weak the plot was. Prospero, former Duke of Milan and current wizard ruler of a desolate island in the Mediterranean summons up a storm to shipwreck his enemies on his island. He introduces the King’s son to his daughter so they’ll fall in love and then torments everyone else for awhile until Ariel, his main spirit helper, is moved to some pity for them and then he decides to forgive one and all. Prince and daughter get a married and everyone is happy the end. It’s that turn that just breaks the whole thing down. Just a dozen lines and his thirst for vengeance is gone. I dunno, whacky shifts in personality/goals is a thing that happens in Shakespeare, but still...the whole thing feels flat

The ART production? Delightful. It was my first time in the Loeb Drama Theater, and the space is excellent with nice seats and good sightlines from pretty much every seat. The cast was uniformly quite good. I through their choices for Prospero and Antonio were excellent and their Caliban pretty much stole the show. I was a little underwhelmed by Ferdinand, the Prince but he was portrayed as a bit of a naive waif...a Bertie Wooster type and I had a slightly more level-headed guy in mind.

But you’ll want to know about the magic. I was expecting a bit more actually, but everything they did was quite good. Prospero’s conjuring of the storm was an especially nice bit of work and they had a number of quick changes which came together well. Ariel did a lot of work with cards. I’m sure when the actor was told that Teller would be teaching him card magic for the role he was over the moon.

Looking back, I’m wondering if The Tempest was really meant to be more of a “tech demo”. It’s a proper play, of course, but there’s a ton of special effects and seems like it’s something you’d write to show off the technical sophistication of your theatre -- a flashy spectacle rather than a plot to be followed closely.

Anyway, my armchair scholarship aside, I’m really glad I went to see this production and I hope I get to see some future productions at ART (speaking of which, I really should go see The Donkey Show sometime soon).

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So this weekend I went to the Arts Emerson's Paramount Theater to take in a production of The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. It was freakin' awesome. I am, admittedly, wildly biased because this is Commedia del'Arte.

Commedia is an Italian theatrical form. It relies on stock characters, situations, masks, songs and large dollops of improvisation all running at loony-tunes speed. Although I'd need to see a couple of performances to know how improvised the whole thing was, the show was tight and kept moving. It was exactly what I was looking for in a modern performance of Commedia. As I said to my companion, "I love Commedia because this is exactly what it's like inside my head all the time".

Anyway, they've still got a week of performances left and there are probably still tickets. I think it's a great show and well worth checking out.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

I'll be performing in the PMRP Spring Sci-Fi Spectacular. I'll be narrating the Adventures of Red Shift and in the second half we're doing a retelling of The Day the Earth Stood Still. We're running this Friday and Saturday at Davis Sq. and you should come check us out.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So if you live in/around the greater Boston area and are looking for something to do, might I suggest an evening out to see Theatre@First's Shaken Up Shakespeare a festival of short, one-act plays that take unique spins on Shakespeare and his works. It's running weekends from the 16th to the 24th of July at the Unity Church in Somerville, near Davis Square.

Sure, there's all kinds of Shakespeare stuff going on all over the city, so why should you show up to this?

I directed one of the shows.

It's called Godzilla vs. Macbeth.

Those of you from my WPI days know how ludicrously good it's going to be. To everyone else, it's pretty freakin' awesome. I'm extremely pleased to be doing theatre in some capacity again after a long hiatus and I hope people will come check out my work.

And if, for some reason, the killer of kings verses the king of monsters doesn't thrill you, there's a whole range of shows involving puppets, music, tragedy, comedy and William Shatner. There's a wonderful variety of things to choose from. So please come out and join us.

The theatre space has limited seating so we're encouraging people to reserve their seats early. You can pay by credit card or reserve seats and pay at the door, your choice.

Thanks, and I hope I see a lot of you at the show.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So if you live in/around the greater Boston area and are looking for something to do, might I suggest an evening out to see Theatre@First's Shaken Up Shakespeare a festival of short, one-act plays that take unique spins on Shakespeare and his works. It's running weekends from the 16th to the 24th of July at the Unity Church in Somerville, near Davis Square.

Sure, there's all kinds of Shakespeare stuff going on all over the city, so why should you show up to this?

I directed one of the shows.

It's called Godzilla vs. Macbeth.

Those of you from my WPI days know how ludicrously good it's going to be. To everyone else, it's pretty freakin' awesome. I'm extremely pleased to be doing theatre in some capacity again after a long hiatus and I hope people will come check out my work.

And if, for some reason, the killer of kings verses the king of monsters doesn't thrill you, there's a whole range of shows involving puppets, music, tragedy, comedy and William Shatner. There's a wonderful variety of things to choose from. So please come out and join us.

The theatre space has limited seating so we're encouraging people to reserve their seats early. You can pay by credit card or reserve seats and pay at the door, your choice.

Thanks, and I hope I see a lot of you at the show.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So, as mentioned yesterday, I got discount tickets to go see the Huntington Theatre Company's production of The Miracle at Maples by David Grimm.

First off, the show wasn't at the Huntington but at the Boston Center for the Arts (home of the Cyclorama). I've never been and the theatre space was really nice. Not terribly large, but modern and comfy. It was a nice space.

The play itself was good. I'm a sucker for plays involving Commedia so note my bias, but they did a good job. There wasn't a huge amount of "As You Know, Bob" exposition to explain commedia, they were just introduced as a traveling band of actors who played a particular role (the program book had more detailed notes).

As the website notes, the play is rather naughty with foul language and lots of talk about sex. It could've slid off the rails, but they were generally quite clever with there innuendo and double entendre and while it wasn't the whole substance of the play.

In a nutshell, a Commedia company arrives in Naples to perform, but are thwarted because a yearly religious miracle has been delayed. The troupe and its interactions with the local people form the basis of the show and mirror a lot of standard Commedia outlines with lovers and mistaken identity and slapstick. What's interesting is some modern re-imaginings of some stock Commedia plotlines. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, but only if you really follow Commedia and when you see how it's been altered you'll think "duh, that actually make sense".

I can certainly recommend this as something sexy/funny to go see if you're looking for something fun.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So, as mentioned yesterday, I got discount tickets to go see the Huntington Theatre Company's production of The Miracle at Maples by David Grimm.

First off, the show wasn't at the Huntington but at the Boston Center for the Arts (home of the Cyclorama). I've never been and the theatre space was really nice. Not terribly large, but modern and comfy. It was a nice space.

The play itself was good. I'm a sucker for plays involving Commedia so note my bias, but they did a good job. There wasn't a huge amount of "As You Know, Bob" exposition to explain commedia, they were just introduced as a traveling band of actors who played a particular role (the program book had more detailed notes).

As the website notes, the play is rather naughty with foul language and lots of talk about sex. It could've slid off the rails, but they were generally quite clever with there innuendo and double entendre and while it wasn't the whole substance of the play.

In a nutshell, a Commedia company arrives in Naples to perform, but are thwarted because a yearly religious miracle has been delayed. The troupe and its interactions with the local people form the basis of the show and mirror a lot of standard Commedia outlines with lovers and mistaken identity and slapstick. What's interesting is some modern re-imaginings of some stock Commedia plotlines. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, but only if you really follow Commedia and when you see how it's been altered you'll think "duh, that actually make sense".

I can certainly recommend this as something sexy/funny to go see if you're looking for something fun.

later
Tom

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