Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret
For the record, I received an invitation from Point of Contention to write something about their show and was comped and given a press packet. It was fun coming to the show from the "other side" if you will. I'm not the biggest advocate of the "public peer review" but thought I would post a little sumthin' to get the word out there about the show.
Susanna Centlivre wrote The Wonder and it's a classical, light hearted piece with occasional sword play, lecherous servants and a few weddings to tie it all up at the end. Very happy. Very trite. It all works out in the end and, lo and behold, a woman kept a secret. Margo Gray directed.
Whenever I see acting of the classical variety, I always like to hone in on the one or two people in the cast that really seem to have it down pat. Megan Faye Schutt (Violante) and Sean Patrick Ward (Colonel Britton) were really comfortable with the language, took their time, were clear as a bell with their enunciation, married their speech with their bodies, created the language's images without indication, etc. Megan reminded me of Ms. Melissa (Kuhlmann) Gordon, actually and I was plotting about casting them as sisters someday in my mind whenever she came on stage. She was strong, interesting to watch and held my attention from the get go. Sean Patrick Ward was elegantly charming with his appropriate shark teeth grins and arching eyebrows. I enjoyed both of their performances very much.
Morgan Manasa and Hayley Rice played the requisite saucy servant girls and were both solid. Morgan also played a few more characters with varying facial accoutrements and pulled out some of her sword play now and again. She's a sword savvy type of gal and I found myself wanting to see her enter as a new character with each scene because she really committed herself to the physical changes required and cracked me up consistently when she would make an entrance.
I'm not the biggest fan of seeing classical work done by my storefront brethren unless the cast is totally on the same talent level with their understanding of the language and its requirements. You often get a few shrill, indicative and predictable performances with the actors delivering their lines too quickly to overcompensate for the fact that they're not completely comfortable with what they're saying. I also couldn't get behind some of the miming and silent scenes that they were directed to do occasionally. Actors exited and entered without a lot of motivation and some of the busy work just seemed like filler.
I also wasn't the biggest fan of the costumes. I didn't have as much of a problem with the ladies garb. The men's clothes were a bit distracting, however. Some of the guys were wearing their modern day job uniform of long sleeved shirt, trousers and shiny work shoes accented with a vest or medallion or sword. Not 19th century enough for me. Sean Patrick Ward looked the most appropriate but it didn't seem like a lot of thought went into the guys' getups. Again, the ladies looked fine and the costumer (Carrie Hardin) did a nice job with layering and stitching up the skirts with the occasional bow accent.
The actors and director had to work on the set for Boho's The Tempest which worked fine for a mad-cap farce with doors being opened and closed nonstop.
The show definitely got stronger as the night went on. It's 2 1/2 hours. If you're looking for something lighthearted along the classical bent to do after work, then you should go check this out.
The show is being performed Mondays-Wednesdays at 8pm through August 28th in the BoHo Theatre at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood.