Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Third Rail (Grade A)

by Anthony Neilson
Directed by Slayden Scott Yarbrough

Lisa  .....  Maureen Porter
Ensemble:  John Steinkamp,  Damon Kupper,  Stephanie Gaslin,  Valerie Stevens,  Philio Cuomo,  Isaac Lamb,  Tim True

sez says: what a grad bit of fun this is!  The first half is a presentation of mania--both joyous and frightening. The second half asks the question: is a numb life --that is being forced to 'accept reality' -- a humane solution to impose on people with psychological/mental 'disorders' The cast was wonderful in the first half: Third Rail Actors seem to excel at presenting the nutty side of thing.  And the second half was dull and boring--which was the point. Take away the mania and life turns dull. 
Maureen Porter is certainly going to be a Drammy Award candidate for her work. She was perfect is every way as Lisa.  The only person who seemed out-of-step in the production was Stephanie Gaslin.  She missed lines and just didn't seem to be able to find the groove required to play the parts she had. 

mjc says: this was quite a production, trying to portray the call of the wild that is creativity, how do you do that without losing your way?

FELA, National Theater Live, ( Grade C)

Based on the Life of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Conceived by Bill T Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel
Director & Choreographer:  Bill T Jones

cast: very large...Sahr Ngaujah as Fela

sez says: I was all geared up to be lifted by this piece. I expected the music and dancing to be up-beat, exciting, full of life and powered by resistance to oppression.  What I found was some of that but not nearly as much as I expected.  The filming was off:  the camera did not follow the dance well, it didn't allow the viewer to see the entire activity on stage.  It did too many close-ups when what was needed was a view of the whole.  Filming dance takes special skill and that skill available was not top notch.  
On the other had the story is powerful --and an important one for a western audience.  We are failed by our news media when it comes to reporting on Africa and African affairs. And you could not have found a more talented performer than Sahr Ngauhah for the part of Fela.  We will actively watch for his work in the future.

mjc says: music and band was great was fun to watch--the second half was boring.  

Thief River, Profile Theatre (Grade B+)

by Lee Blessing
Directed by Pat Patton
Gil at 18 / Jody  .....  Andy Lee-Hillstrom
Ray at 18, Kit .....  Jack Morrison
Gil at 43, Harlow  .....  Jason Maniccia
Ray at 43, Reese  .....  Todd Hermanson
Gil at 73, Perry  .....  Shelly Lipkin
Ray at 73, Anson   .....  Tobias Anderson

sez says: anyone who has seen the film Brokeback Mountain already knows this story. There are story line difference: this is set in the mid-west and the men who love each other are farmers not cowboys; one of the young men knows he is gay form the get go and is an out, gay man for the whole story; there is a murder in this version; but the point of the two stories is the same.   Worthwhile subject, well performed, nice stage set too.

mjc says: great story, acting was good. I am finding I enjoy these kind of stories more than the psychological explorations. I like this kind of story telling

99 Ways to Fuck A Swan, Theatre Vertigo (Grade A)

by Kim Rosenstock
Directed by Megan Kate Ward
Dave  .....  Mario Calcagno
Fiona  .....  Brooke Fletcher
Leda/Servant/Tammy .....  Danielle Larson
Tyndarcus/ Bembo/Joey  .....  Tom Watson
Alfonso/Rudolph/Dr Hirschberg .....  JR Wickman
Michaelangelo/Terrance/Birdman  .....  Joel Harmon
Mary/Mother Nature/Amy  .....  Megan H Carver
Francesco/Clyde/Hal  .....  R David Wyllie
Lucrezia/Waitress  .....  Dainichia Noreault

sez says: this is a fabulous play well presented. The underlying theme is the diverse sexual proclivities of humans: do cats turn you on?; would making love with a swan be heaven?; should you shave your head if that is what turns on your lover? and so on  .. The one thing you shouldn't do is get locked up in an ice cave...where sex is forbidden. The entire cast seemed to be having fun and that lifted the performance out of the ordinary and made it one of the best shows we have seen in this little theater...and that is saying a lot, becasue they often do better than the average work.