Posted by: fullandbye | October 30, 2005

I am a harsh critic

I am a very harsh critic. This is not meant to offend anyone, but some might find it offensive. Hence, the cut.

I broke one of my rules yesterday. I saw the UW production of

I believe that there are three things that, if they are produced by amateurs, should be approached with extreme caution.
These three things are, in no particular order, Sondheim, Sushi, and Shakespeare. God knows how many horrible performances (and awful sushi) I experienced before I developed this rule.

I saw Shakespeare yesterday that was not produced or performed by Shakespearians.
And as I left the theatre after the first act I was reminded of my rule, and of my own horrid snobbery.

And it was not for lack of effort either.
The actors played valiantly for sure, but the text is difficult, and I doubt if any of the players have received the level of Shakespeare training necessary to do the text justice.
The design was adequate, nothing special. The lighting designer could have stood to meditate upon the first rule of lighting–above all else put light on your goddamn subject. Costumes were too loud, and the set was relatively well conceived (especially considering the budget) but somewhat sloppily executed.
But the direction was impulsive and misguided. The biggest mistake? The wretched staging. Theatre in the round is hard. Shakespeare in the round is harder. But for the love of all that is sacred, one need not celebrate the portability of acting blocks by having players in costumes louder than the dialogue change the arrangement of the blocks every five seconds. GOOD LORD that is an amateurish gimmick, and not even a very creative one.

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