The run-up to the massive love-a-palooza that is Valentine’s Day started for me on Tuesday. First, there was the romance-centric episode of “Glee,” where the unlikely Puck-Lauren wooing allowed for performance of one of my favorite songs of all-time (“Fat Bottomed Girls”).
Then, of course, there was the “Celebrity Sonnets” reading that Richmond Shakespeare held that evening. The range of talent on display was impressive, from the schmoes who barely got their iambs to pentameterize (yours truly) to real pros like Jacquie O’Connor who showed what a real actor can do with 14 short little lines. It was great fun watching Deb Clinton, Alan Sader, Matt Hackman, and Emma Mason play out the various mixings and matchings of love, using the Bard’s complex verse as a vehicle. Frankly, Mr. Hackman and Ms. Mason could have been reading random Facebook statuses – the electricity between those attractive young actors is palpable.
One perspective that I came out of the experience with was the concept of an actor’s instrument and the importance of keeping it tuned and exercised. There is a whole litany of tools that I did not have at my disposal because I don’t act or perform on a regular basis. What was so clear from comparing amateurs to pros that night is that there are subtleties involving tone of voice, changes of expression, simple gestures, rhythm and pacing that you only master with practice (or some really amazing innate talent). Even though there were things that I wanted to communicate that I could discuss or contemplate intellectually, my instrument was not adequately tuned to actually get them across. I think I did OK but I was fascinated by the thought of what a real actor could do with my sonnet employing the skills that I don’t have.
On Wednesday, Ms. Jewett on Richmond.com gave a little love to “Legacy of Light” with her review. I found out that day that my review of the show won’t come out until Feb. 23. Since it’ll be a while, I’ll offer this capsule, which is not quite as admiring as Ms. Jewett’s: I found the historical half of the story very engaging, anchored by great performances by Tamara Johnson as Emilie, Larry Cook as Voltaire and a heart-breaking, delicate and beautiful Maggie Horan as Pauline. However, I never warmed to the contemporary story and found some aspects of it downright annoying (to paraphrase the show, “annoyingly annoying”). But Mr. Miller did a particularly fine job when the past and present story lines mixed and technically, the show was wonderful, Ms. Hartman’s lighting being a real stand-out. More detail in print in 10 days or so...
I read on Thursday that Stephen Colbert will appear in a production of “Company” later this year. I love both Colbert and Sondheim but I’m a little wary of what will happen when the two come together.
And finally, love will definitely be in the air on stages this weekend, with the openings of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Godspell,” two shows I happen to love. So whether you celebrate love that is carnal, romantic or spiritual this weekend, have a lovely time!