Monday, November 7, 2011

Animals & Plants (CoHo Productions) Grade B

by Adam Rapp
Directed by Michael O'Connell

Burris  .....   Christopher David Murray
Dantly  .....   Joe Bolenbaugh
Cassandra   .....   Nikki Weaver
Buck   .....   Jon Plueard

sez says:  my-oh-my..what is this all about?  Evolution I guess. The acting is top notch--esp Murray and Bolenbaugh, who both create amazing, believable, and rather shocking characters. (Drug Mules in a motel room waiting for their connection)  They are shocking not because they are particularly evil or bad people--but because they are so 'Un-evolved".  Their level of discourse, there ideas, their relationship...everything about them reeks of a kind of animal ignorance --but it is laced with a twinklings of wondering about the world and a yearning to be connected to the world in some way.   Are these characters "real" or just in the imagination of the playwright?   I suspect the former--and we (the average theater-going-audience)  have so little contact with people like this --in real life or in the theater--that we don't know how to respond, or what to think.  Theater should expose us to new ideas--and to new cultures--and to new characters--and maybe, most of all, to our own ignorance.  So I have to say good job..and I am still thinking about these guys

mjc says: the two characters are well made by the actors and the playwright, at least in my prejudiced stereotypes of the "uninformed" who see to dominate the discourse on right wing talk radio.  And, what more could you ask for in a play but well made characters who come and go and that's that.

The Last Witch (Theater Vertigo) Reading

no cast list provided but most of the Vertigo ensemble were reading

Play by ... tk

sez says -- overly long for the subject.  And the subject is how people try and capture a little power for themselves:  the witch makes claims about powers she doesn't really have to carve out a place for herself;  people with power can abuse it,  ie the govt official who comes to town to investigate reports of a witch; sexual attraction is power (no big surprise there); anger and false accusations can result in getting power for a moment--but the result of its use can't be controlled and may result in things unwanted; the power in a mother's love can  trump all else..and so on ... anyway, it is an ok play--but not really tremendously interesting.  The topic has been done better elsewhere.

mjc says:  dragged on, unlike other readings I have enjoyed this play could benefit from actually being produced.

BecauseHeCan (Profile Theater Reading) Grade D

by Arthur Kopit
Director Jane Unger
Costa Astrakhan   .....   Paul Glazer
Joseph Elliot   .....   Shelly Lipkin
Joanne Summerhays Elliot   .....   Jami Chatalas
Orin Slake   .....   Todd Hermanson
Dennis McAlvane   .....   Dennis Kelly

Plot -- FBI interviewing publisher for activities on the computer:  publisher claims he has no idea what they are interested in;  maybe someone is planting information about his past and his activities that the FBI believes are true;  publisher's life is now in jeopardy --or is it that his secrets are actually being exposed; either way--computers will disrupt  life in a negative way for ever-more.

sez says -- the cast was fine, the direction was fine, the play is dumb. I am oh-so-tired of the theme: "computers are going to ruin our lives" -- sure the information/communication revolution is changing the world, and living through that change can be stressful--and has some negative aspects. And the negative things, things that frighten us about this new technology, has become common grist for the playwright. But this new technology also has freed us in so many ways -- made our lives more interesting --and has amazing potential.  And, I am tired of the one-sided story---that says we are all in danger from the technology.   Sure, we need to be alert to the negative side of these changes--but let's not miss out on the positive side.   I will continue to rant against plays that do not explore both sides.  Let's explore change for what it is--some good comes from it, some bad.. and not engage in hand-ringing and fear mongering.

mjc says:  I am enthralled by the wonder of the gadgets that abound; perhaps I am naive but the dangers seem to me to be the same as the chance of being the victim of a robbery or murder or plane crash--these things happen there is nothing to say they couldn't happen to me or someone I love, but that doesn't mean I am going to live my life afraid or suspicious.