Stuff Happens opened last night. I wasn't able to attend the show because I needed to get my son to Cub Scouts, but I did catch the tail end of the talk back.
People seemed pretty pleased with their performances and I'm really looking forward to seeing the show tomorrow night. (Tonight I'm going to see Starlight Dinner Theatre's Leading Ladies.) Talking to my husband after the show, I was reminded once again why I will never, ever review a show that my husband is in--even if he had only a single line in it. While my objectivity is the major issue (for I flat out refuse to be objective about the love of my life), another issue is his comfort and and the comfort of the cast.
A cast needs to be able to talk freely backstage about any critic attending their show without being concerned about whether it will get back to the critic or whether they will offend one of their fellow cast members. Nor does the critic need to know via pillow talk what the actors process has been.
For example, I know that Richard uses a lot of "extraneous" hand motions in the play. It's a choice he's made because after watching many videos and news casts, he learned that Donald Rumsfeld talks with his hands a lot. So as Donald Rumsfeld, Richard is also talking with his hands. As a critic, it's not important for me to know the research (although in a show like this, I might do research of my own to determine whether the characters are being suggested enough to be credible), it's important for me to know whether the final choices were effective.
Something interesting that came out with the Doubt performances that Don Calamia and I were discussing the other week, was some of the background work that the actors did. In one performance, the actor playing the priest was convinced that he was guilty. In another, the actor believed that the priest was not guilty of what he was being charged with. In both cases, Don and I got the opposite from their portrayals. Would we have been influenced by prior knowledge of their background work? Maybe. It certainly would have made the job more challenging.
It was also interesting looking at all the haircuts and styles as the actors came out of the show. There's definitely been a lot of effort put in to make things as suggestive as possible without turning it into comedic satire.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to seeing it on Saturday and hoping that I'll be able to squeeze in another performance the following weekend.