May. 7th, 2017

choco_frosh: (Default)
So at the last moment, the schedule for my trip to Maine wound up being changed around once again, this time because my brother had come down with some sort of Death Cold. But we DID still make it to this year's Maine Playwright's Festival, for which Dan was serving as artistic director (for the whole shebang) and dramaturge (for all the individual plays.)

So we had six short plays, and they were all awesome.

OK, OK: I'd say all of them were fairly solid, and a couple were incredible. The staging was minimal but effective; the acting was, to use the phrase of one of the characters, top shelf. Here are some quick reviews, so that you can be ready when they (hopefully to inevitably) get reprized everywhere else; and then some more general comments. Quotes taken from the program unless otherwise noted.

Individual Reviews )

Common Themes: )
choco_frosh: (Default)
More thoughts, even though I got like five hours of sleep and haven't even thought about job applications:

1) Seriously, when you think about it, one or two of these plays are like Sarah Kane-level creepy. Only without the impossible stage directions. The horror is going to happen after the play ends.

2) The issue of place: Or, the common theme that was not common at all.
These plays all, of course, were built around common set elements (and actually, that was really clever). But they are very different in how they interact with their settings.

Vaguely Normal: "The Wild Hunt" is set both in someone's office and in the desert; but it's not ABOUT the office, and the desert is there only in the characters' memories. "Connection" is in an isolated cabin...but as we learn, it's also an Air B&B, and even aside from that it's a very peculiar example of both types. This is not a play about isolated cabins.

Totally Irrelevant: In "The Thing Carol Saw", we just have two actresses sitting on stools, telling their stories of what happened, with commentary. There is no scene. They could maybe have been on a talk show; they could almost be in counseling; but with brief exceptions, there is no artiface here: they're on stage, talking to the audience. And you could do the whole thing as a radio play.
"Miracles" is more interesting in the irrelevance of the motel room. It's the most realistic setting, perhaps; but this is a play about the life two people lead, so you could have set it in a tent by the side of the road, in a Winnebago, in the actually-decent-for-once hotel room they decided to splurge on, in the house where they're almost never home or in the spare room that they conned someone into letting them use, all without changing the play substantially.

The Setting is the Main Character: Already noted. "Walter Likes Henny Just Fine" is set in a women's restroom, but is also ABOUT women's restrooms; and the laundromat Elwood enters HAS to be a laundromat, and you'd have to alter the play violently for it to be sited anywhere but Tinytown, Hanington County,* Maine.

* If you want to be ruder, you might express this alternatively as "Bumblefuckville, Washingcock County".

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