Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Challenge, Ambition, and Fun (or Seasonal Affective Disorder, Part 2)

I know I saw a listing of the Firehouse’s upcoming season somewhere but can’t remember where (a Firehouse Flash, perhaps?) and now can’t find it anywhere on the web (I don’t have access to Facebook at work so maybe it was there?)

Anyway, the point is that I can’t comment on their season right now except for “Boy’s Life.” I have a one-degree of separation kind of thing with this play (an old friend of mine was a good school friend of Howard Korder’s) and I saw it in New York years ago. All I remember about it is that I didn’t particularly like it, a vague memory of it being a ‘boys being stupid’ kind of play. You might think this would prejudice me against it but it actually does the reverse. In general, I want to like plays so I’ll go into this production hopeful that maybe it was the specific production or something specific about me at the time that made me form that opinion way back when.

UPDATE: I just walked down the street from my office and realized that I probably first saw the new Firehouse season on the banner they have currently hanging in front of the theater that announces it. Now I have the deets; commentary to come...

In terms of outright ambition, I really have to hand it to the Barksdale. They are really going all out to capture a wide audience and do some interesting work at the same time. I’ve heard of Jose Rivera, though haven’t seen his work yet, so I’m most intrigued by the Barksdale’s first show next season, “Boleros for the Disenchanted.” The shows with Broadway pedigrees (“Putnam Spelling Bee” and “Is He Dead?”) should help draw patrons due to name recognition and, with “Bee” in particular, I can imagine them doing a really kick-ass version of this fun show.

“Sound of Music” I’ve already mentioned and really, I expect every person in town with even a vague knowledge of theater to see that show. Then the collaborative productions at CenterStage should continue Barksdale’s expansion into new realms and hopefully build a younger and more diverse audience. I expect that, if Barksdale keeps putting out the bait, every company in town should benefit from the patron pool getting more crowded, as it were.

I like Sycamore Rouge’s season because I think that the shows may be challenging but, as long as they get some good actors, they can really pull off some good work. ‘Jar the Floor,’ ‘The Crucible,’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are all great raw material and none of them really require extravagant production values. But they do require some folks who can deliver performances not just good or above average but really extraordinary. ‘Jar the Floor’ I believe is a regional premiere and something I’m very curious to see.

And of course, kudos need to go to the SycRou folks for mounting a world premiere. Overall, I think their season shows a good balance between challenging, intriguing and appealing to the average theatergoer.

As far as shows that make you smile just reading the title, RTP’s “Scrooge in Rouge” definitely has my interest peaked. I hope that this show is a welcome antidote to the usual onslaught of holiday shows with a bit more polish that last years “Scientology Pageant.” My disappointment with another “A Christmas Carol” from Theatre IV (still no King Island Xmas revival?) may be assuaged by this production.

And by all accounts that I’ve read, “The New Century” is hilarious so I’m hopeful for a resurgent RTP this Fall, full of fun and the usual envelope-pushing we all love and expect from them.

A ‘Part 3’ to this series may have to wait until I see all of the Firehouse season again and get the word from Stage 1, the Mill, CAT, AART and any others I may have missed. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Jose Rivera wrote of my few DL Hintz bad reviews...


ps THE NEW CENTURY is very very funny...

Dave T said...

Oops, forgot that one!

I wonder how "Shopping and Fucking" would go over in Richmond... How are you getting away with doing it in Lex Vegas?

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, compared to Richmond LexVegas is like San is a very progressive community surrounded by Kentucky...

It is also on our Second Stage, which is brand new, so who knows? I'll let you know if we get shut down!! I will say there is NO WAY I could do it on our mainstage...

We shall see!!


Anonymous said...

I can't find RTP's season.

Dave T said...

Here are the shows:
Boy's Life by Howard Korder,
This is How it Goes by Neil Labute,
Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) by Sheila Callaghan,
Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll by Eric Bogosian.

I'll have dates soon...

Anonymous said...

Still looking for RTP's season. :)

I thought you had mentioned it.

Dave T said...

Oops...can you tell I'm distracted?

Here is the season that was anonymously posted a week or so ago:


Anonymous said...

Thank you. :)