Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stage Left Lost, IMAGO (Grade B+)

Imago Theater, 17 Wast 8th Ave, Portland, Oregon

Director/Writer An original work by Jerry Mouawad

sez says: wish I could list the cast --but the Director's note we got at the performance does not have their names--nor do they appear at the web site. It is a cast of 12 and they do a strong performance--as a company--and yet each individual very specifically adds something extra to the whole. No talk here -- but the story is clear: jealousy, spurned affection, betrayals of the hearts, these things can lead to tragedy. This is a take-off of Othello, sort of--but certainly not a version of Othello. It is an adventurous combination of theater and dance and performance art and I found it entirely enjoyable.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Long Day's Journey Into Night - Artists Repertory Theatre (Grade C)

Director: Andrew Upton
Venue Newmark Theate
James Tyrone   .....   William Hurt
Mary Tyrone   .....   Robyn Nevin
James Tyrone, Jr.   .....   Todd Van Voris
Edmond Tyrone   .....   Luke Mullins
Cathleen   .....   Emily Russell

sez says: Robyn Nevins is extraordinary--and even with the faults this production has, and it has faults, it is worth seeing if only to watch Nevins fully inhabit, pitch-perfect, the character of Mary Tyrone.  I sit here still awe-struck by her performance.  She is a great gift.
And, of course this is a great play. The story is well enough known: Dysfunctional family--mom is a morphine addict; dad is a miser; older son is a drunk; younger son has consumption.  Each has reasons for being the way they are and those reasons are reveled -- and they all even know their shortcomings --but none seem to break the pattens that beleaguer them--as individuals, as a family.  Yet they do care deeply for each other--while they abuse each other.
BUT THERE WAS A BIG PROBLEM: The dialogue was at times hard to hear. I wondered if it was the acoustics, then I wondered if it was my ears, than I realized I could hear Nevins fine, all the time. It was Mullins that was hardest to hear: I probably lost at least a quarter, or more, of his lines. And it was Hurt too -- he slurred his lines at times -- possibly trying to push the dialogue to quicker pace, or to portray himself as a drunk -- but regardless of the cause,  words were getting lost. Losing words in the theater is not ok..esp so in a play like this one. 
I was greatly looking forward to seeing this. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I did expect something better than was delivered.