Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?

So, this last weekend I went to Florida for an audition at Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando. It was an enjoyable trip, but I do sorta get the vibe that the folks in the audition were sorta like, " live in Decatur, GA. Are you planning on moving down here? No? Ok, you can go ahead and do your monologues, since you drove all this way." Now, I could be completely wrong, and maybe they'll want me for The Lion in Winter or Mackers or something, but, as with all auditions, I'm not holding my breath.

The main reason I'm doing a post about it, though, is because I saw a play when I was in Orlando that I have...mixed feelings about. The show was Reservoir Dogs, as produced by Greater Orlando Actors Theatre. Full disclosure...I didn't know anyone in this show, but the person I went with knew Mr. Blonde and Mr. Brown. Also, full disclosure, the first thing I thought of when she mentioned this to me was the section in "Waiting for Guffman" where they talk about staging "Backdraft." There were a lot of people who really enjoyed it, I think. I'm sure you can find some really solid reviews online. This isn't so much a review of the play itself, but...

Now, on a sheer performance level, the show had highlights and lowlights. It was neither good enough to praise, nor bad enough to enjoyably eviscerate, so why am I commenting on it? Because, to my mind, it committed a cardinal sin of theatre. It was completely and utterly pointless. Everyone in that room has seen that movie. The group of actors that performed it for us would have been well served in another show where they wouldn't have had to do impressions of other actors. Not everyone did this, (Steve Hurst as Mr. Blonde was pretty solid, to my mind.) but there were some performances that were ripped right out of the film. No naming names, but they were pretty significant parts...

I just don't see the reasoning behind it. I mean, you have to strive to bring in a different demographic to stay relevant. I get that. But, if you ARE going to do Reservoir Dogs, don't be so dogmatic to the script. There are tricks that movies can get away with that theatre can't, and vice versa. So, for all of Mr. Orange's speech where he's telling the story about the drug bust that almost was, don't take it to a full blackout between parts of his story. Part of the joy is watching him grow in one, seamless stream. Also, just an idea, DO NOT USE FOOTAGE FROM THE MOVIE UNLESS YOUR GOAL IS TO MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH! I really can't stress that enough. I'm more than happy to watch a stage version of Reservoir Dogs, but give me something different... Give me a reason to come out to your theatre and watch it, as opposed to popping in the DVD. Cut it down, streamline it, make the audience a part of it, and I don't mean by spattering blood on them, pull every trick you've got in your bag to remind the people who are paying ticket price that this ISN'T a movie.

Don't just bark. Have a little bite.

1 comment:

Dennis Frymire said...

A couple of years ago, a very popular improv/sketch group up here did a one-night show where I they did scenes from "What About Bob?", line for line, but scenes were intentionally out of order.

It was funny to their friends and fans, but I, who watched it because I was interning at that theatre that night was thinking, "...and the point...?"