Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Surprises

I saw Barksdale’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” on Sunday and will hold off on any commentary at least until Wednesday because I haven’t finished writing my review yet. One thing I’ll say: given that it was a Sunday afternoon performance (i.e., an audience even older than a typical one) and given that the show has a fair amount of silence in it, I had the opportunity to hear more unfiltered thoughts from my fellow theater patrons than any other performance I’d been to in a long time. All I want to know is: At what point in an adult’s aging process does the awareness that a theater is not one’s living room break down?

One particularly entertaining neighbor of mine seemed to lose interest in the show at various points and took to making comments about other people in the audience. Now I enjoy people watching as much as the next guy but I would think that when you pay money to attend a play the people you really want to be watching are in that brightly lit place in the middle, not the dimly lit seats over to the side. But maybe I’m just weird that way.

I was surprised to check the Times-Dispatch website this morning and see that the top two “Entertainment” highlights were theater-related items, one a review of the recently opened “Wonderland” (which is not getting much love it seems, based on another review I read over the weekend) and the other a recounting of Broadway stars at the Opera Awards. Could it be that people are getting bored of movie and TV coverage and are demanding more theater news? Regardless of the reason, all I can say is: more theater coverage please!

Of course, what I was looking for were links to the review of “Circle Mirror Transformation” that was published yesterday as well as a feature on the upcoming “Art” co-pro at the VA Museum, and then moving down to Sycamore Rouge. And apparently I was asleep at the wheel and missed “The Bluest Eye” review that showed up last week. People never tell me about these things anymore…

Someone did alert me to this article in American Theatre magazine about the different theater-oriented awards shows across the country. I think it’s fascinating the variations that you can find in different cities and to read a little about the genesis of each effort. It makes me feel a little more confident that our little “Artsies” effort isn’t as misguided as I might otherwise feel.

Another item I read about this weekend that I found interesting is a recap of the star-studded concert production of “Company” out in LA a couple of weeks ago. One Richmond-related tidbit: did you know that Tony Award-winning actress Katie Finneran has a relative (I think she’s an aunt) who lives here in town? You can imagine she is one proud aunt.

And finally, Stephen King and John Mellencamp are collaborating on a musical? The mix of popular horror-esque writer and Americana pop musician is surprisingly similar to the Clay McLeod Chapman / Bruce Hornsby team-up for “SCKBSTD” that opened at Virginia Stage a couple of months ago, dontcha think? Virginia: the place where theater trends are set, right?

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