Monday, October 29, 2007

Recent Tragic Events

I'm working my way backward through the weekend. Tomorrow I'll blog about BoarsHead's Doubt and maybe later in the week I'll actually finally get around to blogging about the shows I saw earlier this month before my grandfather died.

On Saturday night, I went with a friend to see Recent Tragic Events at Michigan State University's Arena Theatre. It was one of the second stage productions by the theatre department.

And right away I'm going to get myself in trouble because I don't have the program handy. So if you read this before I've had a chance to edit away my mistakes (and you'll know because I won't have deleted this paragraph yet), then please accept my apologies.

This second stage show was part of a collaboration between the theater department and Williamston Theatre. Williamston's executive director, John Lepard, directed this show. It's a partnership that makes a lot of sense and one that they will hopefully do more of.

The script was rather a fascinating one. I was especially intrigued by the sock puppet representing Joyce Carol Oates--a puppet who argued that we all have free will, a position the play mostly argued against. In fact, I found myself watching carefully in the end scene as the "stage manager" called out each action. I was very curious whether the actor who slavishly follow the cues given by the manager or whether he would break in an indication that we are not all tied to fate. It was a scene that was very tightly done and great to watch.

Marring the show were some of the diction issues. I found myself frequently leaning forward so that I could try to figure out what the actors were saying. Too many people spoke too quickly and bit off the ends of their words, making it difficult to figure out what was being said. There's that line between being conversational and still being clear that can hurt a show when it's not observed.

That said, there was some delightful acting. The role of the "stage manager" was especially well performed.

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