Thursday, May 12, 2005

Show roundup

We have been to nine theatrical productions in the last six weeks. At the beginning of April we saw “Crowns” by Regina Taylor. It was the last show of the season at TheatreWorks. The show featured rousing gospel songs surrounded by an oral history of "hattitude", the story behind the hats that African American women wear to church. It is based on the book Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.

The following week we organized a small group of people for an intimate evening of “living room theatre”. Tony nominated actor and local resident Gerald Hiken performed excerpts from the writings of Marcel Proust, W.H. Auden and Gertrude Stein in his living room with dessert afterwards. It was a wonderful and charming evening.

We saw a touring production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” in San Francisco. It was produced by the Theatre Royal Bath and the Peter Hall Company in England. The best things about this production were the lights and the forest set. They were beautiful. However, I’ve seen Shakespeare performed better locally.

The last week of April we saw three new works at TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival. These were workshop readings. The best was Firoozeh Dumas’ “Laughing Without an Accent”. It is her one-woman show from her book Funny in Farsi. It is a very funny account of what it was like to be from Iran and grow up in American suburb.“The Funkentin Rapture” by Lee Summers and Ben Blake is a funk musical about love and a secret recipe for a dish called catfish surprise that is going to rival KFC’s chicken. The show needs to invest in a good editor with a sharp pencil to make a number of cuts.The final show had the strange name of “Piece”. It is by Scott Alan and Tara Smith. I would describe it as a memory musical of a woman at four stages in her life. The show seems ready for a full stage production. The music is very beautiful and touching.

Two weeks we saw the out of town tryout, “Lennon” in San Francisco. It is the John Lennon story that mostly focuses on the Yoko Ono years. The production had great singing but the structure and book of the show was disorganized. The point of the show appears to be: Imagine that there is a John Lennon in all of us. Give John Lennon a chance. All you need is John Lennon’s love.

This week we saw a strong production of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” at A.C.T. and a fun semi-staged concert version of “The Boys from Syracuse” by Rodgers and Hart at 42nd Street Moon.


Will said...

Gerald Hiken! As a kid I saw him on broadway in Paddy Chayefsky's GIDEON. A really good, solid actor. The intimacy of living room theater is an interesting idea.

Jere said...

Um...RoDgers and Hart? ;)

You're all linked now, by the way.

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