Pardon me while I try and organize my even-for-me disparate thoughts. I’m a few days behind on posting, have 3 of these to write tonite, and I’m trying to remember what happened when. Not, as some of you have noticed by now, my strong suit. It’s times like this I think that maybe it’s for the best that I never started taking acid.
But I’ll give it the old college try, and focus my perceptions backwards to Saturday nite, when I had my volunteer shift at the Oiving Greenboig theatre (actually, the upstairs studio space, but whatevah) for Third Wall Theatre‘s production of Sophocles’ ANTIGONE, happily translated by messr. Henry Beissel, because my Ancient Greek is pretty rusty. I arrived a touch early as usual, which turned out well because I got to chat a few minutes with gentleman Simon Bradshaw, actor extraordinaire and one of the stars of the show. We caught up for a spell, I blathered for a few minutes on the fact that I’ve BOOKED MY FIRST EVER AUDITION (feel free to comment something supportive, you right bastards), and had a generally nice time. A moment later I had maybe my geek highlight of the day when another one of the stars, John ‘Killer’ Koensgen himself, took a moment to shout out that he actually reads and enjoys this site! We bonded over Denis Armstrong-bashing (the craze that’s sweeping the nation! Join in!), and I felt like a right big shot.
A good spirit, I thought, to enter the show with, and after a bit of bother at the door about reserved seating (it was rather amusing, I thought my fellow volunteer was gonna cuff somebody she was getting so worked up over it) I took my assigned seat. We had a moment of blackout in symbolic support of Earth Hour (shutting down the entire production for 60 minutes, it was decided, MIGHT tick off some of the paying customers, eco-friendly or not), intro’s by 3rd Wall artistic director (and show director) James Richardson, and then the show was on!
The production was set up in-the-round stylee, with audiences on all four walls facing a central, minimally dressed stage. The actors, in various guises, would enter and leave via the main and back doors. It was all rather cool. The story centered around some typical Greek sturm-und-drang bit of business concerning a war in Thebes, the cursed clan of unfortunate old Oedipus, and the clash between justice and the law. In this case, new king Creon (played with some glorious gusto by Koensgen, digging right into it) passes a decree about the burial of one of the sons of Oedipus…namely, that he ain’t getting one. Which sits none too sweetly with our titular heroine Antigone, played by Kristina Watt. It’s the sort of role she seems almost perfectly suited for…strong, willful, and just a little extreme. And, as in BLACKBIRD, it’s lovely watching her and John Koensgen square off.
Great actors and performances abound in this show, tho. Simon Bradshaw has a dandy scene as Creon’s son that turns from friendly to downright frightening on a dime. Emily Pearlman, though a bit underused in this show for my tastes, still shines as Antigone’s less-brash sister Ismene. And Richard Gelinas has some flat-out scene stealing as the blind seer Tiresias, and a comically anxious soldier. Also, everyone takes their turn as part of the chorus…sort of oracles/advisors to the king. As for the show on the whole, well, without giving away specifics, let’s face facts. This is Greek work, and the ancient Greeks had some pretty specific ideas about how the Gods dealt with the transgressions of us mere mortals.
I enjoyed the show for sure, although at times it IS rather hard to relate to a show written back in the XENA days. I liked how they updated most of the costumes, and occasionally wondered if maybe they couldn’t update some of the names as well (Polyneices? Really??). A friend of mine also remarked how a chorus of no more than two at a time seems somewhat small…which I suppose is true, although to be fair, after ST.CARMEN OF THE MAIN, any chorus you could squeeze into the GCTC studio is going to look wee. And I loved the robed figures, Bradshaw being my fav’rit in the role. He just has the voice for it.
The in-the-round setup was cool too, although if you sit in a corner like I was, you’re going to spend some noticeable time peering around figures planted in front of you. But I very much dug the lighting, and the occasionally bombastic music, and especially the performances. A very cool, classical night of theatre. The show runs ’til April 2nd, and yeah, you should get out there and see it. Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)