I've been to the theatre for a couple of nights this past week. The directing students have put on their showcases within two separate programs that run concurrently in different spaces. At the same time I'm responsible for making sure all leaving students are 'clear' as far as matters pertaining to my department are concerned - I can't say I'm entirely free from stress at the moment..
We were treated to two Tennessee Williams pieces. I must say I was impressed by the quality of his writing, it's fresh, fragrant, easy to understand. There is a vibrancy to his work too, he instinctively understands theatrical dialogue, his narratives are captivating and enjoyable, perhaps this is why he's known as one of America's greatest playwrights? The two pieces, 'And tell sad stories of the deaths of Queens' and 'This Property is condemned', were quite contrasting in direction, story and flavour. It was the zinginess of the language that united them. Wonderful stuff.
'In the solitude of cotton fields' was intensely cerebral yet superbly choreographed and acted. This piece by the late Bernard-Marie Koltes was a primal, semi-disturbing take at mankind's quest for survival via the modern means of commerce, buying, selling, dealer, client. This piece, utilising two actors, dates well; it seems to hit the spot for the place and times we, as the West, are at, 2008 and beyond.
'The Bald soprano' by Eugene Ionesco and translated by Tina Howe, was comic absurdism at its finest. Excellently cast and directed, this piece had the audience laughing and guffawing the whole way through. Absurdism has its moments, I love it, and I can't help but find that most things I stumble into (including myself) are dosed with healthy (or otherwise) sprinkles of absurdism.
John Herbert's 'Fortune and men's eyes' is one of the more intriguing pieces of this set of plays. It seemed ultra-contemporary (perhaps that was the set) but doubtless this Canadian play would have sent shock-waves throughout the theatre community back in 1967 with its graphic depictions of violence, criminal allegiances and forced gay sex within the confines of a prison cell. This piece was well directed, particularly the movement aspects, and was a riveting and enjoyable piece of theatre.
Paul Vogel's 'How I learned to drive' was dealt with uncle-to-niece incest and family relations in small-town America. This was a poignant look into family relations in small-town America that somehow broadened into wider themes of lack of love, lack of connection between the generations, and the individuals incased in it, each playing their supposed roles. I found this piece personally moving and loved the acting and the script.
That's it now. No more theatre for me for '08. It will be work, rest and play for December, in that particular order, and in equal amounts.
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