I really need to start seeing a theatre production closer to the beginning of its run just in case someone actually takes my recommendations to heart. I also, in a weird way, want to see a bad production to make sure I can still tell the difference. We are lucky to have such amazing talent in the area: I am rarely disappointed.
So...a few weeks ago I saw a twitter message about a free ticket giveaway for the May 25th matinee performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the freeFall Theatre. What the heck! After I was notified that I won a pair I had to find someone willing to go with me in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. Luckily, my friend Loren was available.
I hadn't been to the freeFall before but I must say I was quite impressed. The production was wonderful. It had only been about a year since I saw Dream last (at FSU) so it made for a good comparison. The set was sparse, the costumes were a mix of modern, vintage and fantastic. The "choreography" was delicious. The confrontation between Hermia (Jackie Rivera) and Helena (Jennifer Christa Palmer) in Act 3 was nearly like ballet. But it was Giles Davies' Puck who stole the show. He leapt about the stage, naked to the waist, clad in a gorgeous pair of bottoms made up of numerous pieces of elegant fabrics. The physicality of his performance could tire out the fittest of the fit.
And of course, the play within the play was ridiculously inept as it is supposed to be.
One side note, 3/4 of the cast of reasons to be pretty were in the audience.
Next up was The Studio 620 production of American Duet written by theatre critic Mark Leib. I had the pleasure of having Mark for a professor last year at Eckerd College for a class called Film and Literature. I had to attend this show solo, and nearly solo in the audience. It was a Sunday evening performance, the only one I had time for in my busy schedule.
The 2 character play follows a 30 year relationship between liberal Jessica and conservative Charlie. They connect with each other over key political moments in American history and it is like a history lesson wrapped up in a play. The acting was superb and the only problem I had was with Jessica's character. Her period of victimization and subsequent rescuing by Charlie did not feel authentic with her otherwise unrelenting liberal/feminist viewpoints. The final scene where the couple live through the uncertainty of 9/11 was deeply moving and brought back the feelings of that fateful day.
Last night I saw Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at American Stage. This show runs through July 3, (Pay what you can on June 21) so if you have a chance I recommend you go see it. This story takes place in one night immediately following Frankie and Johnny having sex for the first time. Johnny (Tom Nowicki) tries to convince Frankie (Tonia M Jackson) that their little rendez-vous could actually turn into something long-lasting and wonderful. We follow them through their ups and downs (pun intended) as they reveal their secrets and faults to each other. The dialogue is frank and authentic and not suitable for kids. Once you get past Nowicki's accent (reminded me of Christopher Lloyd) it is an irresistible look at the determination of love.
Even though this is the slow season for theatre there are still lots of shows on the horizon and I intend to see as many as I can.