Monday, January 30, 2012
The Gift of Mirth
So I told my husband last weekend not to make any plans for this past Saturday-- we were going on a date. And he was coming with me to a play. His parents let the boys spend the night, and we got all dressed up to go see the Troy theatre production of the Importance of Being Earnest.
I remember when everyone would get dressed up to see a live performance. That doesn't seem particularly prevalent anymore. And I have to admit, that makes me a little sad. And perhaps a touch old-fashioned.
It was performed in a cozy box theatre, with audience on three sides. The set was absolutely stunning! I loved the decorative features around the edge. (Part of the reason we came to the performance is that I'm taking Technical Theatre this semester, and we're required to attend and critique two of the shows on their technical aspects.) So I was watching the ceiling and looking for the lights-- not a gel in sight. This meant lighting would not be used to set mood. My small complaint would be that I wish they'd used a greater variety in the pre-show and intermission music-- it sounded like a snippet of The Entertainer set to continuous repeat. The woman beside me commented that she didn't know if she'd be able to stand it much longer--and I have to admit, it was starting to make me anxious--fortunately for both of us, the show began. And the chairs were set too closely together. When there were no more people coming, house removed a chair from our row so that we could space away a little better-- they must have noticed we were a long row sandwiched together like sardines (lol) (; We'd all made the best of it, but I have to admit, it was nice not to be sitting in a strangers lap anymore (;
The costumes were spectacular. The acting as well. And I have to admit, we all laughed -a lot-. Some of the humor was very subtle. Some of it was not. They had a man performing the role of Lady Bracknell-- and he was =suburb=! One of the absolutely funniest parts was when s/he was telling the daughter to go downstairs and wait in the carriage--and on the third repeat-- said it a commanding man's voice. It was the only time HE was not a she, and it was perfect.
During the intermissions, I sat and watched the scene changes. I was pleasantly astonished to watch the inside window turn around and become the outside window and the removal of the rugs become the reveal of the painted courtyard. During the garden scene, I adored that the actors ignored the audience--sort of (lol). Miss Cecily (pretend) watered everyone's shoes and tended her flowers as though we were her hedge row. There was a swing set from the ceiling and I briefly worried that the first row behind them would be in danger-- but the stage manager, director and actors did an excellent job on boundaries and they were never in harms way of being swung in to. I do think that the audience directly across from us may have had the worst seats-- a lot of the action happened directly in front of them--but the actors were facing away from them, so a lot of physical humor wound up being lost on them.
I also had that 'ah-ha!' moment when I realized the director chose to use music as the mood setter, but only for the blossoming romance between Miss Prism and the Reverend.
When it came time for the third scene change, I was greatly impressed with the trim and doors for the inside setting, and how easily and quickly they turned the windows back around, cleverly placed curtains and transformed it into a window seat. The audience behind me and I had a really good laugh when 'the thinker' was placed on the table beside us. First, because Troy University has a replica of that statue out on the main drive in. And second, because this one appeared to have his fist IN his mouth (:
I was a little surprised that the tea spilled during the spit take/spill was NOT cleaned up--and simply covered over with a rug--especially since it had sugar in it and it makes the rug susceptible to mold, mildew, and bugs. But I LOVED the drawing room set up! A lot of antique furniture, beautiful gingerbread trimming, and lovely fabrics everywhere. I'll admit to being a little covetous of the coffee table covering. But since the pillows in the window seat were made with the same fabric, I suspect that the costumer made them--so I'll just ask her where she got the fabric (;
All in all, it was a two hour gift of wonder, companionship, entertainment, and above all, laughter and mirth.
Well done, Troy University Department of Theatre.
And thank you!