Sunday, March 7, 2010

Woo-woo! Another review!

Is been a week of the write stuff - one interview, one article, two reports, two reviews. Here's my second review. (By the way, if this play ever passes by your doorstep, SEE IT.)

Theatre Review – Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks
Emerald City Players 03/06/10

Okay. Let’s start with the punch line. The Emerald City Players production of Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks is the funniest two person play I’ve ever seen in my life.

Having said that, if the people on play selection up in Dublin had asked me, I would have told them – straight out – “don’t do this play.” That’s what I would have said.

“Why not,” they would have asked. (Or likely would have asked. They’re a polite bunch. Respectful.)

“Because,” I would have pounced, “it will never work. Never ever. There are only two people in the cast – two! Where are you gonna find two people in this town who can pull that off? And it deals with intolerance and acceptance! When was the last time you saw a funny play about intolerance and acceptance?”

In my mind I could see them squirming. I had them and they knew it.

And then I would have gone straight for the throat. “Nobody’s gonna come see it. If you want audiences, do something by Neil Simon, or - better yet – Richard Rogers. That’s it! Or something with lots of kids. I think Annie Five is available …”

They didn’t listen to me. In fact, they didn’t even ask me. This conversation never happened.

But it illustrates two points.

First, it’s true that Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks will likely not draw large audiences. The show is not that well known by the general public. It does have a cast of only two people, and both of them are (a) not young, and (b) dressed throughout the production. Since the play deals with adult themes, it has adult language.

In other words, this play has everything in the world working against it as a community theatre presentation. Many times I’ve been told that these theatres can’t afford to speculate. Wistfully I’ve heard that they must stick with the proven money makers. It’s a matter of survival.

The second point is the colossal loss to the quality of life there would be if we chose not to embrace a play like this when it comes along.

Here’s what we would have missed;

We would have missed a marvelously well written work – it is at the same time warm, zany, funny, biting, and endlessly inventive. Very few topics are sacred – literally.

We would have missed two incredible performances. Kathy Strum and Mark Schuliger compliment each other perfectly. The chemistry between them is remarkable. At every moment you know you are in most capable hands. Characterizations are strong, clear, and sustained. Actions are motivated and reactions are endearing. And as for energy levels … could two people actually sustain the necessary energy levels to keep a play interesting for a two hour period? Hint. The energy levels were still going up during the curtain calls.

Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks will continue to be presented by Emerald City Players for the final times this weekend.

Parting shot. A number of plays are all being presented this weekend, all over town. Even with your best guess, every once in awhile a great one slips by, unnoticed. Don’t let Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks be one of them.

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