Sunday, July 18, 2010

London Assurance, NT Live Presented by Third Rail (Grade A)

NT Live  is a HD broadcast of performances by The National Theater of London , Third Rail is hosting this series in Portland
Director Nicholas Hytner
by Dion Boucicault
Cool, a valet   .....   Nick Sampson
Martin, a man servant  .....   Richard Frame
Charles Courtly, Sir Harcourt's Son  .....   Paul Ready
Richard Dazzel   .....   Matt Cross
Sir Harcourt Courtly  .....   Simon Russell Beale
Pert, servant to the Harkaways   .....Maggie Service
Squire Max Harkaway   .....   Mark Addy
James, servant to the Harkaways  .....   Simon Markey
Grace Harkaway   .....   Michelle Terry
Mark Meddle, attorney at law  .....  Tony Jayawardena
Lady Gay Spanker   .....   Fiona Shaw
Mr. Adolphus Spanker   .....   Richard Briers
Mr. SOlomon Isaacs  .....   Junix Inocian
Doctor  .....   David Whitworth
Servants   .....   Mark Extance; Prasanna Puwanarajah
Doctor's Daughters   .....   Fiona Drummond; Laura Matthews

sez ...thank you Third Rail for hosting these broadcasts.  This was a hoot. It is a play from 1841 that holds strong in the 21st century, with disdain for lawyers;  parent's who have fantasies about who their children really are;  asking should you marry for love or money;  presenting women who are smarter thatn all the men around them; and providing a array of characters that are much bigger than life--and, most important, who are all played to perfection..
I don't remember when I enjoyed any single performance by an actor more than I did Simon Russell Beal's  Sir Harcourt Courtly. His physical presentation of this character was a full blown delight.  And Fiona Shaw's Lady Gay Spanker blew the top off any other possible presentation that could ever be of this wild woman...who even circa 1841 is presented as wearing the pants in her family--and happily so according to her husband. 
The story does not seem to matter a bit (we all know wht is going to happen) - the fun is in the characters--and it is quite possible that they could have been doing anything, in any story, and they would have been fun to watch. 

Night Terrors, JAWS Reading at Portland Center Stage July 2010

by Ebbe Roe Smith
Evelyn   .....   Darius Pierce
Horse & Alien   .....   Casey McFeron
Incubi, Maga, Sucubi   .....   Ebbe Row Smith
Stage Driections  .....  Jennifer Rowe

sez says: there is a lot of laugh out loud material here--especially so since it was very well read by Pierce & McFeron.  Author Smith did his lines ok--but he isn't an actor--he certainly knows what he wants his character to say/do but the pros did a better job in creating characters.    And of course, it seems that Pierce can do no wrong. How lucky we are to have him here in Portland  So this was fun to hear read.

But ...

Re; The play/script/story: It is a BOY STORY. Aging and Ego and Competition in the workplace align with bad fiction to create unhappy nights full of monsters.  And while McFeron & Pierce made as much as they could of the characters--there really is NO character development. There is just a guy and his fears --those malevolent powers that want his sperm / read manhood. And, pity be, there are female characters who are crafty enough to get what they want. There is just a slight hint of rancor toward women showing in the presentation of 'the feminine' --be that in women's books, or female characters dishonest and manipulative ways (saying one thing when they want something else) ... which the male characters don't stoop to.

I think this would make a find graphic novel -- but to become a piece for the theater I think it needs a lot more work.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Live Girls, CoHo (Grade D-)

Written by Natalie Rose
Directed by Toni McDowell
Baby.....  Pat Janowski
Fantasy  .....  Meegan Anslee
CHerry   .....   Alyssa Roehrenbeck
Jason   .....   Jonah Weston
Tigress  .....   Danika Louise
Divinity   .....   Rocket
Juli / Extacy   .....   ilena herrin
Sapphire   .....   Briana Ratterman
DJ Prik   .....   Stephan Henry

sez says: too bad about this--what a great topic/ Strip Clubs / and what a failure at providing any insight at all into this culture:  there is NO STORY and there is NO Character Development in the play.  This is a fly-on-the-wall observation of conversations, which revels small amounts about the characters but nothing more. You've got:  an aging stripper with dreams of marrying a customer; a mom stripper hooked on drugs who might lose her child; a  new stripper, who takes to the profession like gang busters;  an exotic stripper who has moved deeper into the world of porn and is making movies and doing light S&M at the strip club.  Meanwhile, you've got a stripper that gets pregnant and doesn't know who the daddy is, but who leave the club.  You've got a Catholic girl, who hates cursing, has bruises she can't explain, and who overdoses.  You've got women who give there money to men who are obvious using them. You have a woman who has become a lesbian because she has had it with men.  You have a club manager who falls in love with strippers and is always disappointed and drinks his way out of misery. The acting was really mixed and needed some stronger direction. But mostly this material needed  a story. It needs to get us into the whole life of at least one--or more--of these characters and thus to actually provide insight into this world. Nothing that was presented was news. In fact it was generally rather boring. It gets a D-minus from me--and that is only becasue it attempted to approach an important topic..but it fell way short of doing anything interesting.