I've waited to blog on a couple of shows I've seen this summer because my intention was to write a review of them to post at Epinions and then refer to it here. However, while I've written my notes and outlines for the reviews, I haven't yet gotten around to writing the reviews.
So here are a few comments on those shows that I've been procrastinating on:
The Ledges Playhouse and the Lansing Civic Players jointly produced this popular musical. One of the very healthy signs in our local community of late has been the increasing amount of collaboration that is taking place. It's something that can mean only good things for all involved--though that's a topic for a longer blog entry in part because it's a fairly complex topic that carries its own dangers with it.
This marked the first time I have seen Godspell in its entirety. It's one of those elegant shows in that it is set up in such a way that people of many faiths can embrace it. It's easy to see why it is done in churches and why it is equally enjoyed in secular venues. Those who are not religious will point to its universal themes while those who are religious will be reminded that their religious beliefs carry weight because they are universal.
Because the plot is fairly fluid, this is a show that can be transformed into almost as many different settings as a Shakespeare play. The Ledges/LCP show placed it in a back alley with the fringe of society wandering about both on and off stage. It was a loving and clever touch to make Jesus' beloved those who are homeless, mentally challenged, gang members, and flesh hawkers.
It's also a show that requires the actors to be fairly versatile as they must swing into different roles that are not totally distinct from each other. In fact, the show is almost better served by having everyone except Jesus possess characters that are somewhat amorphous.
This particular production also shined in that everyone in it had beautiful voices. They also moved well as an ensemble, creating a picture that didn't draw your eye to any particular stroke, but rather let you take in all of it at once.
There's so much to say about this show that it is going to have to wait for a review (especially since I have that review at least partially written!). It's a show that deserves a fairly deep look at the script as well as a discussion of this particular performance of it.
Icarus Falling performed in the small stage at the Black Child and Family Institute. The stage itself worked well for the show, but the stairs and heat would eventually pose a challenge for many of the audience members.
Love Person is one of those scripts that is highly multi-layered and it is easily apparent that the playwright has done multiple workshopping of the show, changing it and adding new depths with each exploration of it. At one time she had planned to come see the Lansing production, but that didn't come to be.
Back to Methuselah
The night I saw this show it had moved indoors because we were getting some rain at the time they had to make the decision about where to perform it and the sky was glowering with threats that later withdrew.
It's a show that actually worked quite well with black curtained backgrounds (though we did go out and view the beautifully painted flats that were intended to be the set). Given what I've heard other people describe of the show, we may have been fortunate to have seen the show indoors. It sounds like we had a slightly different experience than many others who saw it on other nights.
The production has definitely inspired me to go and read the entire five-play cycle. There's a lot of meat in the language of the play and I would like more time to digest both the words and ideas found in it.
As I review each of the above three shows, I'll post a link and a quick note here.