phi (totient) wrote,
phi
totient

go see this show!

I went to see folzgold's show last night. This is actually three one-act plays, presented in the basement of a UU church by an independent high school drama club in grand high-school-drama-club, UU-church-basement style, and I went without a lot of expectations.

The shows turned out to be two Ionesco pieces and a student-written piece (that's the one that folzgold is in). I'll describe them in reverse order...

The third piece, the one folzgold was in, was an organic ensemble piece, to the point of confusion. folzgold did a credible job of moving his role between background and foreground, but in all the accomplishment here was bringing the piece even up to the level of amateur theater. It's pretty much what you'd expect for what it was: a quickly written, quickly rehearsed student-written high school play. Competently executed, but clearly educational.

The second piece was directed by Chris LaVoie, who also appeared in the other two pieces, and particularly given that the group had been around for three months and rehearsals had barely been running for one, I felt like The Lesson wasn't really ready. It's a hard piece for its main characters, paticularly the Professor, who is on stage for nearly the entire show and who has to make more sense than your average Ionesco character. It's a less immediate, more political piece than Ionesco's more famous work, and its politics (about complicity rather than complacency) are harder to bring a current sensibility to. Maybe it'll be better tonight, or tomorrow night, but ultimately I think between the direction and the play itself there's just a limited amount of material to work with and I wouldn't expect it to surpass its amateur-theater provenance.

However...

The first Ionesco piece, The Bald Soprano, completely blew me away. The teenaged director and cast (particularly Chris LaVoie as Mr. Smith) brought a transformative energy to the show. Vanessa Roman's direction was bravely absurd in a way that it probably couldn't have been if done by someone who'd, say, ever seen a production of it before. There was a quote from the playwright in the program: "Theater is not literature... it is simply what cannot be expressed by any other means". And this production was faithful to that idea; the experience was vastly more than the sum of its parts. The best production of an Ionesco play I've ever seen, and well worth $5 and having to sit in a UU church basement in Melrose for.
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