Saturday, October 29, 2011

Theatric Carnage

The B Street Theater is a real community resource for the Sacramento area.   It has two smallish stages and a good repertoire company.   The season tickets a reasonably priced and for that price once or twice a season you find an unexpected delight.

The current piece in the large stage was a Tony award winning play.   The Bee's review of the play was very positive "French playwright Yasmina Reza's special talent lies in exposing our coarse and, ironically, often poetic inner lives."   For my taste, on this production, I regretted that there was not an intermission so I could have bolted for the door.

The play has four characters (two sets of parents) who meet to discuss a problem between their two sons.  It starts pleasantly enough and then devolves into a series of screeching ensembles between the characters.  The two males are a dealer in "fixtures" and a high powered lawyer.  The wives are a writer and a wealth management advisor.   Each has some eccentricities.  The characters and the jokes are cliched.

I enjoy theater for a couple from a couple of premises.  First, I look for one or more characters that I would like to find out more about - either in drama or comedy.  Second, I want to hear some elegant turns of phrase - many authors have a superb way of presenting language with verve.  I do not have to like the characters, but I would like them to be more than cardboard stand ups.   What bothered me about this play is that once you get the premise, that is all there is.   None of the characters develops in a surprising way.   The dialogue is stylized at best.

Our normal night is earlier in the run of a play. The Mainstage fare is normally light comedy.  There have been a couple of plays this season where I  wanted to come back again simply because the theater was so compelling.  One play last season took the Hitchcock movie The 39 Steps and made it into a farce. Although I know the movie well, the play kept me laughing the entire production.   For this one, I pulled out my cellphone and did email.  (Not unlike the jerk attorney in the play.)


Anonymous said...

I feel I must add that Mrs. Drtax, and the two friends who went to the play last night, did NOT entirely share Dr. Tax opinion.

Dr. Tax in Sacramento said...

But I shared my own opinion.