I brought a friend, his wife and their daughter to the first preview of “The Tempest” last Thursday. The audience was made up mostly of senior citizens, whose unfiltered comments throughout the play sometimes amounted to a performance in themselves. My favorite was the guy who grew tired of the “Not too late” chorus of Andrew’s opening song and began intoning it sarcastically halfway through each verse. The most annoying was the guy who loudly explained Prospero’s final speech to his wife as it was going on (“He’s saying that he won’t leave until we clap…”)
Though you will see that my review was positive, I heard a fair amount of negative feedback about that first preview. An old friend I met at “Into the Woods” the next night said she left at intermission because she couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. And below is a back-and-forth between me and my friend about the merits of the production. So, in case you are thinking that the criticisms that get published are the toughest, you can see that there are audience-members who are much tougher than I’ll ever be.
PS: I'll update the "Now Showing" section to the left someday soon....
From my friend:
· I wasn't as impressed with Ariel as you were. He had his moments, but I thought him not quite otherwordly enough
· I thought the production was somewhat marred by the sound considerations. The band drowned out the actors not infrequently but this may have been a hazard of our seating only. I should have beeen surprised if anyone heard the content of either the first scene or Ariel's storm.
· The camp wears a little thin in this production at times. The "wedding" scene is a good example of this.
While the volume was often a bit intense, I did appreciate the quality of the band -- many productions of "The Tempest" try to get by with a few fairies playing triangles and tambourines. My appreciation of Ariel was largely because he was so earthbound -- big-ticket productions usually have him (or generally her) flying and harboring a secret love for Prospero. I thought the way they played him made him more of a counterpart to Caliban.
I agree about the camp -- a sentiment I tried to capture in the word "manic" in my description -- a lot to encapsulate in one word but that is my frustration with having to write so short. I'm often in this mid-ground of wanting to express something but then realizing to really express it would take up half the review.