Thursday, March 18, 2004

Whose Line is it Anyway?

Just came back from Mixed Blessings, a play that a friend of ours was in. It was an interesting experience to say the least, forum theater. For the uninitiated, like I was before watching a couple of TNS plays, forum theater introduces audience participation that shapes the way that a play plays out. In this case, we had to resolve an unresolved issue in the play regarding the two main characters.
Interesting but not quite my cup of tea. The first few people who went up to (re)enact a part of the play that was, in their opinion, unsatisfactory was quite bold and I applaud them for it. It was interesting to see the solutions that they applied to the problem at hand and the way that they acted it out. But not quite what I would've done. And therein lies the problem with forum theater. It's inclusive in the sense that the audience is literally a part of what is going on onstage and I think that it raised the interest level in the theater (room actually, it was a small and cosy venue) dramatically. But then again, it manages to exclude some of the audience at the same time. I for one definitely would not have played out the story the way that the 17 year olds played it out. And I definitely would not have done it the way the lady, (who in my mind labelled as the NE [National Education not North East] lady) played it out.
I know I know. Then why didn't you actually give it your own two cents worth? Well, it's a ton of factors that begins with a horrendously bad reindition of a Sicillian priest in a Primary School play that was an intermarriage of The Godfather and Goodfellas. I got crucified on stage (a line which in hindsight, wasn't quite appropriate in a mission school) and basically got crucified offstage for my pathetic attempt at an Italian accent. Further attempts into a career in acting landed me with a role that was a combination of Bruce Lee, the energizer bunny and the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Along with a stuffed pink bunny toy...) I also decided that my own version of events would be way too tragic and would probably end up with the director / facilitator yelling at me...yes, the scars do run deep.
I also was among the few in the theater who really didn't give too much thought into participating because the love affair between the two leads was rather chemistry-less. It lacked passion and the whole row of teachers came down with Icouldn'tgiveadamnitis. The two leads were extraordinary I'd have to admit, but together, there was no spark. So...
But props where they're due, all the actors played their parts very well and I applaud them for the great first half of the play. (The non-forum bits) Also to their amazing improv skills for the second part of the play. But not quite an experience that I really could relate to.
Tomorrow, I'm headed out to watch The Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). On Saturday, I've got Cinderella, the ballet. This is turning out to be Dan's arts week. Yay!


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