Friday, August 15, 2008

Walking Out on Angels

About a year ago, the blogosphere was debating the practice of walking out of a performance. Some declared that nobody ever should, some said they do it often, others claimed they have had to do it several times.

I was reading a fairly negative review of Angels in America, Millineum Approaches in the Seattle Stranger, and was a little startled when I read this concluding paragraph:

But director Maridee Slater pulls a few good performances out of her more capable actors. Chris MacDonald (a regular at CHAC and Theater Schmeater) owns the room as the barking closeted Republican lawyer Roy M. Cohn. (Cohn's iconic shout to timid Joe—"You're alive, goddamnit! Plant a foot! Stay awhile!"—is a triumph.) And Carter J. Davis, as the sincere and nervous Louis, helps us forget how slowly the time is crawling by. But it's not enough: After the two-hour first act, I wanted to leave. So I did.

The rest of the review gives the impression of performers and a director that are quite out of their depths, and in over their collective heads. I have never seen anything but excellent versions of Angels in America, but I could imagine that if it were bad enough, and I knew I had another couple of hours to go, the exit signs may seem alluring. However, it just seems as if there were at least a few performances the critic was enjoying.

One thing I noticed in the review is that two hours seems very long for the first act of Angels. Usually the evening is about three and half (maybe a bit more,) hours long, with three acts and two intermissions. Also, doesn't the quartet fight where Louis leaves come later than the end of the first act? I don't have my copy handy.

Apparently, the entire Angels in America project in Seattle is a neat concept. Two fringe theaters are co-producing it, each company is putting on one of the two parts and so the casts are completely different for each show.

The review in the Stranger is for Absurd Reality's production of Millenium Approaches and here is a link for the Seattle Times review of Re-Acts' production of Perestroika. And here is a Post Intelligencer review comparing the two productions.

1 comment:

Rolando Teco said...

Okay. Now this really pushes my buttons. If someone is taking home a paycheck (however small that may be is irrelevant) in order to review a production for the public, there's no question that he/she has an OBLIGATION to stay through the end. To not do so and then have the gaul to actually write a review betrays the public trust.

This reminds me of a mini scandal that occurred in Boston over a decade ago when I was still living there. Richard Dyer, the Globe's classical music critic wrote a scathing review of a singer who was performing a solo with the BSO but he had actually left the concert at intermission and was shamed the following morning when his scathing review appeared for a singer who had not taken the stage. Due to illness, her sub had sung instead.

It always amazed me that he wasn't fired on the spot for that.