Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrapping Up

If you are spending this week suffering from store-aversion in this post-holiday period, you might not see the year-end issue of Style, which is too bad. Still, you can catch my year-end wrap up of the theater scene, now posted on the Style site. The ambition of this piece may not be obvious to some so let me tell you what I was shooting for. I basically wanted to touch on the Cultural Census, give an overview of the year's highs and lows, highlight some specifically notable productions and performances, and deliver at least a vaguely interesting piece for the general reader. I had 600 words to do this. You can be the judge on whether I was successful or not in even scratching the surface of what this last year in theater involved.

I just spent a large part of the morning thinking uncharitable post-holiday thoughts -- don't you love family gatherings? -- so in an attempt to lighten my mood I'd like to rave for just a moment about a production I just barely mentioned. It's a little late for this rave but getting through the season alive has been the only truly attainable goal I've been able to achieve lately.

I took my youngest to "A Christmas Carol for Two Actors," a nimble and innovative piece of stagecraft brought to vivid life by Molly Hood and Grant Mudge. Grant makes this piece tremendously personal and vibrant, not stodgy or rote like you might expect after all of these years. He punches up the moments of silly humor and his interaction with the audience is refreshing. Both he and Ms. Hood inhabit a great many characters effortlessly, Ms. Hood in particular making some quick-silver changes from characters as variant as Jacob Marley's ghost to the young boy who fetches the Christmas goose for the reformed Scrooge.

I know it's too late for anyone to go catch this show but I am hopeful that they do it again next year. Paring Dickens down to the essentials really brings out the timeless messages at the story's core. I can't believe I missed the first dozen or so years Richmond Shakespeare has done this production but you can rest assured that I'll make a point to see it from now on!

1 comment:

Andrew Hamm said...

Thanks for the piece in Style, Dave. The Cultural Census just seems downright silly in the face of all the evidence I can see. Perhaps our biggest failing is the perception-is-reality syndrome: The perception that Richmond is not a theatre town creates a zeitgeist-reality that shows up in census data, if not in statistical data.

I was thrilled to see you note Scott and Audra as standouts, largely because I just had the pleasure of directing them in the staged reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream last month. Scott is my dear friend; Audra I just met. Both are delightful and I hope to work with them both again and again.

But please let us not have paparazzi-style coverage. I promise, most of my theatre friends' grocery lists and garbage contents are of little interest to the average Richmonder.