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Saturday, October 15, 2005

 
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on thursday, after dinner at "sal's famous italian kitchen," michaelmas & i attended the portland center stage production of "under the lintel," a play which has a lot going for it:

1. its only character is a librarian
2. ephemera!
3. big questions about why we're here and what makes us alive
4. a slight hint of urban fantasy
5. a charming performance by its one performer
6. fairly clever premise and staging
7. sign language interpretation

however, as glad as i was to see an actual play on an actual stage, and while it wasn't displeasing, i found myself relatively unengaged. in essence, i think it would have been better as a short story than a 1-man show. i know exactly how it could be written; the play wouldn't take much adaptation to be a 10-page first-person narrative. i don't know if this is true for all 1-man shows, but there was a certain amount of... -investment- missing than when you have a show where two people aren't saying everything and it's up to you to discover what the middle story is (like "fiction," which i saw w/ leopoldo in seattle last year). 1-person shows are by nature lectures, and are spaced to fill time. another audience member may have been correct when he wrote, "Perhaps what put me off was the lack of range. Most of the show was the exact same tone - emotion, volume, subject matter, i.e., wacky guy on stage reeling off random information. I found myself asking, 'If you were to take out any five minute section of dialogue, would the overall story be impacted?' I guess I stopped listening because I did not feel any specific line was crucial to whatever story was emerging."

i think michaelmas liked it quite a bit, though. the best plays leave me asking "what would i do?" or illuminate an obscure or maddening element of human interaction. but inflated theatre prices make for inflated performance expectations, and for $45 a ticket (yikes!), i would have hoped for more than a pleasant but ultimately benign evening. i think theatre tickets are insanely priced (even when i had a full-time job, $90 for two people not including dinner would have been tough to take), but the best part is that people don't talk at quiet bits in the theatre the way they do in movies. and very good theatre is riveting, captivating, breathless.

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