Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Plays in Retrospect

Oh, I do love good theatre.

I wasn't terribly impressed by Emma. It was staged very well (kinda sorta in the round), impressive tech-wise, and had an extremely satisfactory ending (in a romantic way), but it was just much too silly. It became well apparent how that happened when I read the director's note in the program, in which he said Emma is basically a soap opera. Harriet Smith was horrible (screechy, giggly, and made up far more unattractive than the actress actually is or than Harriet should be), which I felt was the director's fault and not the actress's. Mr. Weston was goofy, Mr. Elton was far too Mr. Collins-ish. Jane Fairfax just wasn't quite right, Miss Bates wasn't talkative enough, Mr. Woodhouse wasn't feeble enough (he danced at the ball), though he was pretty good at being worried about things. Emma didn't come across as being as intelligent as she ought to be (and I thought she was too short, but that's not her fault), and I didn't really see her falling in love, but she didn't bother me except when I looked deeper. Mr. Knightley I liked. All the women had lovely costumes; most of the men's coats were just bad but the rest of their costumes were all right. So it wasn't a satisfactory Emma at all, but it was very satisfactory theatre and terribly romantic. I left the theatre wanting to go home and reread Emma, but I don't have time to start another book so I watched the last episode of the latest Emma miniseries instead.

I didn't really mean to say so much about Emma, but then I was possessed by a need to be thorough, so there you are. It was Durang7 I came to talk about. Seven one-act plays by Christopher Durang, all absolutely hilarious, all full of references to other plays, theatre history, and general history. Six actors, all of them really fabulous actors. It was great. I spent the majority of the play laughing uproariously, partly because of all the references to plays I've read for school this quarter (Happy Days, The Balcony, Medea), mostly because it was just so good and so funny.

This was the last weekend for both these plays, so I'm just teasing you here talking about them. Keep an eye out for Christopher Durang, though. He's another one that makes you want to read everything he references, which for me is always exciting.

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