Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More complete thoughts on "Compleat"

So I've got to think that the folks at Richmond Shakespeare are happy that we seem to be enjoying a respite from 100 degree days for a while. I know the night I was at Agecroft for "TCWofWS(A)," the weather was lovely. And a lovely night at Agecroft is lovely indeed.

There is a way in which the well-constructed silliness of this show defies criticism; it really comes down to execution. And the three guys in this cast do a great job. They all seemed quite comfortable with the loose, improvisational nature of the show. I expected as much from Jeff Clevenger with his many years of Improv experience. But such poise in the younger fellas -- particularly recent VCU grad LaSean Green -- was a delightful surprise. I hope to see more of David Janosik because he was hilarious and some of my favorite moments of this show involved him -- his enthusiastic fake vomiting, the water-in-the-face for Ophelia, etc.

It is often the small, tossed-off things that turn out to be the best aspects of a show like "TCWofWS(A)." The "house lights" -- very nice. Another favorite off-hand moment was the bit about LaSean having to point out that he was black and could play "Othello." It was so random and then just quickly moved past -- also nice.

On the night I attended, I thought it showed some hutzpah for the guys to bring Mr. Haubenstock's husband on stage to play an aspect of Ophelia's psyche -- her id I believe. He seemed game though, and I guess that's what you get for sitting on the aisle!

I had forgotten that there are a couple racy parts in the show; when you lay out those Shakespearean plots without the camoflage of Elizabethan language, there's quite a bit of sex and raunch. Just another of the many reasons Shakespeare is so beloved! I'm hoping to entice one or both of my daughters to go see this show because I think it shows how much fun Shakespeare can be.

Speaking of Shakespeare, I had one of those moments when I wished I lived in New York recently when I was reminded that Lauren Ambrose was going to be Ophelia in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet." I've loved her since "Six Feet Under" and, according to at least one fan, she was the best part. Sigh. Oh well, I'll have to be satisfied with Rita Markova in "Guys and Dolls" -- also pretty fantastic.

1 comment:

Andrew Hamm said...

Truly exciting about this production of Compleat Works is the fact that nearly the entire staff of the show are Richmond Shakespeare first-timers. All three actors, the costume designer, and director Matthew E. Ellis are all new players for us, and we couldn't be more pleased.

Matthew, in particular, is worthy of a shout-out. The reviews have given passing or no mention of his contribution to the show. I suppose that's an occupational hazard.