Monday, January 7, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W1: True West, Improvised Shakespeare

1/03/19: True West
What: Roundabout's revival of Sam Shepherd's play about two brothers--one a transient small-potatoes thief, the other a screenwriter--whose rivalry and estrangement come to a boil.
And? I was pretty bored by the show (but I've never really gotten Sam Shepard). Paul Dano was great, Ethan Hawke was better than expected. The set design was pretty good, but the lighting design employed a device I've been seeing a lot lately that I'm not too kicked on (a proscenium frame of lights that glare brightly between scenes to shrink the audience's pupils, to cover the set transitions). That device worked for me for The Father because it seemed to feed, and be fed off, the content of the story; I didn't see any form/content matching here.

Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano as Lee and Austin. Photo by Joan Marcus.

1/06/19: Improvised Shakespeare
What: A troupe of five players improvise a ninety-minute play in iambic pentameter (ish), based on a suggestion from the audience, using familiar Shakespearean tropes, style, and structure.
And? Another absolute delight, complete with a scene of badly-accented French soldiers hatching a plan in rhyme, an impression contest, way too many babies, and more in Laying An Egg.

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