Monday, May 14, 2007

Two Shows I'm Pretty Sure Are Shoe-Ins For My End-Of-Year Top Ten List

Sorry about the sporadic posting last week. I had written a post on Wednesday, then events took place that made about 99% of it be not true, so I had to revise it, then re-revise it, then totally scrap it. Sigh.

I saw about five shows in the past eight days and two of them I can say I'd be very, very surprised if they don't wind up on my end-of-year top ten list. (True, the year isn't even halfway through, but seriously, folks. I enjoyed them Just That Much.)

The first one was the debut production of Four Chairs Theatre, A Guy Adrift in the Universe, written by Larry Kunofsky and directed by Jacob Kreuger. Simply put, the play is about a Guy getting born, living his life and then dying, all in the span of about an hour and a half. He's never quite sure where he is or what he's doing, and it seems as though that whenever he gets the hang of something in his life, it's time to move on.

One minute he's breast-feeding from his mom, then two sentences later he's old enough for the bottle, then two sentences after that he's late for school.

Man, I really enjoyed this one.

What made the play so moving for me? I think because it uses sentimentality very, very sparingly, if at all (Martin Denton pointed out that this play is like Our Town as re-imagined by Larry David, something I couldn't argue with). In fact, the Guy is a very selfish, egocentric prick who believes the universe centers around him. I really appreciated Larry Kunofsky's honesty here: let's face it, most of us are lost and confused and never getting our bearings straight, but that doesn't make us lovable people (it makes us insufferable brats). I appreciated that the few people he meets (his grandmother, an impatient nurse) who caustically remind him he's nothing special are the people he appreciates the most (he smiles then uses the line, "You're all right.").

And hell, I'll admit it: I got a little misty-eyed at the final scene.

The Guy, played by Corey Grant, plays the role as simultaneously a confused infant (who happens to have a great vocabulary) and a cranky old man (there's a very thin membrane separating the one-year-old from the eighty-year-old).

Corey Patrick, Zarah Kravitz and Sutton Crawford play multiple roles of all the different people who come in and out of the Guy's life. They're all very good as well.

I'm really not doing the description justice. I thought A Guy Adrift in the Universe was (is) a very fine work and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Larry and Jake do next. I also hope they can find some way to remount this show.

* * *

Jaime G. from Surplus ended up getting free tickets to see last Tuesday night's production of Talk Radio and I tagged along. It was very nice finally getting to meet Miss G. in person and very cool seeing this show, since the first (and up until last night, only) time I saw Talk Radio it was a college production (with an actress playing the role of Barry). Since I hadn't read the script at the time and knew nothing about it, I liked it, but it was very nice to see a fully realized professional production of this show. Wow. I gotta say: that Liev Schreiber has got some game on the stage. I've only seen him in film, but he is an amazing live performer.

Even though I knew the script (of which I'm a fan) and knew the lines, Mr. Schreiber said them as if they were his own. He does live up to all the hoopla surrounding him.

I won't get into a detailed analysis of Talk Radio, aside from pointing out that I was very much aware of the parallels between Barry - ostensibly just a "voice" - and his anonymous callers and bloggers and their (our) comment-posters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this production and was very glad that Jaime invited me to tag along. Thanks, Jaime!

If you have the money or opportunity, check it out. You can get tickets here.

Anyway, I'll fill you guys in on the details of Nosedive's upcoming Blood Brothers Presents (which should take place in October). Now, I have to get back to writing the latest script.

Your caped crusader,

James "Blogman" Comtois

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