Friday, May 7, 2010

Double-up - Plays

Over the last week, I went into Philly to see two different shows that both close this coming weekend, so it was my literal last chance to see both of them. First up was WWGUTS at InterAct Theatre, a show that focuses on the "adventures" of George W. Bush as he awaits his trial at the Hague for war crimes. It's a comedy. Only three actors in the show, and the whole production was solid and enjoyable. I felt as if I were being hit over the head with the idea of the show, and the metaphor of the ocean was layered so heavily into the script that it eventually stopped having any resonance at all. The performances were all strong, especially the actor playing Bush, and they all worked really well together. I did think that the playwright missed some opportunity to deepen the script and explore the issues and relied instead on some cheap laughs and some too-obvious moments of liberal grief. The production moves on to a run in NYC in the summer, and I wish them the best of luck!

Second on the docket was the current show with Flashpoint Theatre, closing Saturday night. In it, a mother and her daughter try to cope with the death of the father, but they do so in different ways. Other characters include the Apartment where they live, and an actor who doubles as Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford. The show was enjoyable, even if it did feel a little bit scattered. The script called for a heightened level to the acting, but it occasionally felt like the actors were all in different plays from each other. Most problematic, however, was the "happy ending" that came about in the last fifteen minutes of the play. It felt largely tacked-on, but most of all illogical. The playwright had set up very clear characters, and the ending the play found felt out-of-step with those characters.

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