Monday, November 19, 2007

Catching up

The symposium was fantastic--at least, I really enjoyed it and the audience seemed engaged as well. I'd love to do things like that more often.

In fact, there's chance that I might be doing something like that on a larger scale. I'm in the early stages of planning a reunion for the NEA critics. After talking with the director of the USC program on Saturday, it's a reunion we'll probably open up to all of the years and to the Institutes for dance and music critics as well. We're looking at doing it mid-April, which means I need to get a proposal off to the NEA as quickly as possible.

It's something that could be pretty exciting for the community. We'd be bringing in critics from all around the country and taking them to visit local theater organizations and see three to four performances. We will probably also invite the instructors from the Institutes, which means inviting critics from some of the country's largest newspapers.

However, more on that as it gets closer.

I've enjoyed many of the productions that I've gone to for the past few weeks and regret that I've been so swamped with work that I've had little time to write about them.

Amy's Wish at Starlight Dinner Theater was very sweet. Linda Granger really has found a niche that works. Her shows are well-attended not because they are edgy and modern, but because she knows her target audience and concentrates on delivery solid shows that her audience wants to see.

I sometimes think the groups that are the most successful are the ones that have the greatest respect for their audiences and deliver what those audiences want to see--whether it is the newest shows, musicals, old favorites, a mix, or what have you. There really is room in the theatrical market for all of those and all of them have something different to say.

Arts or Crafts was a fascinating show that gives its audience a lot to talk about afterward. It's a show you almost want to see more than once because it's hard to remember all the vignettes the first time through. It's a show that evolved quite a bit from the script that I originally read. I'm hoping that after I catch up on work (how did I end up with three book projects all at the same time?) I can pull out the script and write more about this fascinating show. The technical aspects were also superb and highly creative.

La Cerentola was a very different opera from the two that I saw last year. I almost think I prefer having the surtitles, at least until my ear becomes trained to hear the words when they are sung in operatic style. A friend that I took with me made an interesting observation. He said that in theater, everything is compressed. The playwright, ideally, tries to pack maximum meaning into each word. In opera, time is expanded and things which normally take only a few seconds to say are expanded into minutes with the music.

Little Shop of Horrors was done by Waverly High School. It was a fun show and far more entertaining than their "On the Town" was last year. There are some wonderfully talented singers in that school. They also looked to be having a great deal of fun.

I am My Own Wife was outstanding. The acting was superb and the technical part of the shows were of a quality that easily matched any professional production. It was beautifully staged and performed.

More later--or if I don't get back, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

When I get back, I plan to write about the Detroit Reparatory's Doubt.

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