Friday, April 25, 2008

Stuff Happens

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.


Anonymous said...

Since you won't review Stuff, allow me to interject that although I was disappointed in the production as a whole, Mr. Redman really stood out as Rumsfeld. I also very much enjoyed Rashida Morris as she captured Condi Rices's essence. J.D. DeOssa shone as he shifted seamlessly from character to character. Problems included length, fluffs, stepping on lines, and some over-the-top characterizations.

Bridgette Redman said...

Why, thank you, good sir. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing what you thought about it.

I went on Saturday and am going to try to go back again next week. It's very tempting to write about some of the things I saw--in particular the difference in how I read the script and what I saw performed. However, it's just not fair to put Richard on the spot that way when he has to go back next week.

That, and I must confess, rarely am I watching anyone except Richard when he's on stage. I'm aware that there are other people there, but, well.

Anonymous said...

Since you won't review Stuff Happens, allow me my two cents here. Mr. Redman was fantastic as Rumsfeld. Rashida Morris captured Condi Rice's essence, and J.D. deOssa shifted seamlessly between believable characters. I had problems with the overall production--several places where actors lost concentration, as did the audience as the show approached three hours in length.

Anonymous said...

You two are sooo cute. It's like the honeymoon never ends, and that is a compliment, by the way!

Bridgette Redman said...

Well, we have been married for only 15 years. In terms of a lifetime, that's still a honeymoon, right?

Bridgette Redman said...

Oops. You had two comments here and I somehow missed one of them. I apologize for the delay in it being posted. I thought I'd hit publish, but when I went into my comments moderation today, it was still there.

I was trying to edit--I just missed it. The only reason I have comments moderation on is to keep the spam out.