Friday, October 05, 2007

something in the water?

I've seen three shows this week and they were all good. This, to me, is the cultural equivalent of winning the lottery three times in a row. I go to the theater with such reluctance and dread, I'm like a ten year old going to church on Sunday morning, just waiting for the boredom to club me to death, praying only that it will all soon be over. But no, brethren and cistern, I bring you glad tidings of great joy:

Misanthrope at NYTW, an easy call, but first time I've seen this guy's stuff. Out of town for his Hedda Gabler, just plain lazy and missed anything else he's done. Honestly, the video shtick didn't work for me, but it never does. The constant projected image of an actor's face begins to rob the actor of his charisma for me, some very simple voodoo that happens every time. And for the most part, I had no idea what Moliere was trying to say from moment to moment. But man alive, the performances were stellar, the food and garbage blitzkrieg is so beautifully over the top and the overall design so smart and simple, I'd go back. That good.

Wednesday I saw East River Commedia's The Magnificent Cuckold at the Connelly. This closes this weekend, so run don't walk. I've know the director, Paul Bargetto, for about a year, (he's one of the key League of Independent Theater rabble-rousers) but never seen his work. And you know how scary that can be, seeing something for the first time by someone you like. What if they suck? What are you going to say? Are you going to like them less?

Well, no fear. Paul knows exactly what he's doing and he does it exceptionally well. This is a three act, old-school farce and it goes on all goddamned night and I was rivetted. Every element, brilliant design, great, great performances, especially the lead, Troy Lavallee and a funny, disturbing and finally tragic script. Just topnotch, world class stuff. And this kid Troy, you watch him and you keep thinking "This guy is going to be so, so big in about two years, I can't believe I'm sitting here watching him." Mesmerizing.

And then last night I saw Stolen Chair's Kinderspiel at Under Saint Marks and my trifecta was complete. These are the guys Nancy and I do some consulting with, so I'm always hoping they do well. Once again, they showed me what a company can achieve when it commits to the disicipline and sacrifice of the laboratory process. Kinderspiel has all of this company's burgeoning trademarks: exquisite, surprising language, fluid, meticulous direction and mesmerizing and courageous performances from an outstanding ensemble. It is a pleasure to watch this young company grow in strength and confidence.

So something's going on. I know it's not me, I'm as bitter and burnt and cranky as ever. Is the invalid struggling back to consciousness?

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