I had a rather curious experience when I went to see Horizon Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time that lead to me leaving during intermission. I was very much enjoying both the story and the performance – Brandon Michael Mayes is pretty amazing as protagonist Christopher – but there were a handful of audience members whom I just couldn’t tune out. It wasn’t anything explicit, but a snicker here and a whispered comment there made me uncomfortable with how they were viewing the show. It made everything feel so voyeuristic and exploitative, as though the protagonist’s disabilities were purely a novelty paraded out for us to enjoy like a classic circus freak show.
If you decide to go to Synchronicity Theatre’s production of Erica Schmidt’s Mac | Beth directed by Jennifer Alice Acker, you may want to avoid sitting in the front row. The fake blood splatter from Macbeth’s death scene made it to at least a half-dozen seats that I know of and possibly a few more. After the show I went all Lady Macbeth in the restroom and even now, after scrubbing my clothes in the sink, the dye is still staining my hands. Out, out damn spot! Seriously, though, the theater should have notified attendees of the splatter risk: I find it terribly unprofessional that they didn’t. I generally try to take front-row seats when I can because I’m short but I definitely would have sat a row or two back if I’d known.
I’ve been pretty clueless about any Broadway musicals that were written since the days when Rent was still considered fresh. My awareness of the musical Spring Awakening comes from a conversation with a colleague a few years ago who was annoyed when songs from its cast recording came over the musical theater stream she would listen to at work. I think her words were something along the lines of “I hate it when people write things just for shock value.” Curious about what she was talking about, I looked it up and was intrigued to learn that Bill T. Jones did the choreography for it. I love Bill T. Jones. A lot. He thinks deeply through motion. I jump at opportunities to see his work live. But his isn’t a choreographic style that really makes me think “Broadway” you know? Anyway, even though I was fairly certain that OnStage Atlanta’s production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Slater’s musical wouldn’t feature Jones’ choreography, I figured if it was interesting enough for Jones to get involved then I’d like to check it out.
I had added Arís Theatre’s The Friel Deal to my calendar mostly as a fall-back if I couldn’t find anything else to do on Saturday. It consisted of two plays by Brian Friel based on works by Anton Chekhov, The Bear and The Yalta Game. I never really liked Chekhov’s original version of the first one, but the second was based on the short story The Lady with the Dog, which is one that I do really like. A friend of mine ended up seeing it last weekend and spoke very highly of it, so I went ahead and bought a ticket.
I got my ticket to Mondo Bizarro’s The Way at Midnight on a whim while getting a ticket to something else at 7 Stages. Honestly, I thought that it looked a little gimmicky and scattered from the descriptions, so I wasn’t terribly excited about it. And I guess you could say that it was kind of gimmicky and scattered, but they made that work really well and it turned out to be a very good play.
Another Disappointing Play:
Another review in the form of a hastily and poorly written sonnet
There is such joy and fear for you to know,
If you read from words upon any page,
That were written by Edgar Allan Poe,
So why not go and see it on a stage?
But even with my expectations low,
I found myself with want to look away,
And not because of fear nor gore — no, no!
But from the poor quality of this play.
Could not a writer usher forth a word,
To tell a tale that could reach to my heart?
See more by them? I’ll quote that big black bird,
Red faced, be shamed to death, if I do start!
Clowdus, you are such a talentless hack,
I wish I could have my evening back.
I have no idea why I decided to change all of my plans for Friday in the middle of the week to see the Weird Sisters’ production of Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby, but I’m glad that I did. It was one of the better plays that I’ve ever seen in Atlanta, both in terms of the script and the quality of the presentation. A comedic drama, it made me laugh, cry, and taught me how to use a pair of socks soaked in whiskey to keep me from coughing during a show: what more could I ask from theater?