Friday, May 26, 2006

Time out


There is an annoying new trend in Bay Area theatre that needs to be nipped in the bud. Several local companies are passing off “one act plays” as a full theatre productions. It is like fast-food theatre… in and out in about an hour. Since the first of the year, we have seen four such shows.

One was the God awful “Slava’s Snowshow”. To be fair, this show usually runs about 90 minutes but the mid-week performance we saw was only 65 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. I think Slava said “Screw it; I’m watching American Idol tonight.” He turned on the snow fan early and blew out the audience as quickly as possible.

Another play was “In On It” by Daniel Maclvor at Encore Theatre Company. The performance got great notices. It was a humorous, thought provoking and challenging play. We enjoyed it but it was barely an hour long. Was it worth the 45 minute drive to the City, find and pay for parking, have dinner and drive 35 minutes back home?

A NumberThe worst offender has been American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.). A.C.T. is one of the premier regional theatres in the country. E has been attending their productions for two decades. We bought season tickets to it this year. Two of the shows this season were barely an hour long. The first was a dated and pointless production of David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” that played in January. The second play is their current one, Caryl Churchill’s “A Number”. Churchill’s play is fascinating look a cloning and identity but it is only 50 minutes long. It seemed silly for actors to do even a curtain call. The two actors barely broke a sweat. I’m pissed at A.C.T. And don’t get me started about how they butchered “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” this season too. We are not going to renew our season tickets there.

2 comments:

Dana said...

Wow...those are short theatre productions for sure. They remind me of high school plays from what you described.

My husband would love them, though. I'm afraid he doesn't like to go to plays and I do. Maybe a trip to SF is a must?

Shephard said...

What a shame.
We just saw John Goodman and Brenda Fricker in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof down here. Such a great play if done well.

I'd be ticked about the one-acts too. It sounds like LA patrons have a lot to be grateful for.

~S

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