Much Ado About Nothing

 

Love Stages!

I have never enjoyed watching a play more than I did with “Much Ado About Nothing.” If you’re looking for a song packed, romance driven, sharp acting and drama heavy, then this play is for you! Its a killer play with even killer performances.

I went to see the play “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by Brad M. Carlson on May 1 inside the Mizzou Rhynsburger Theater. The play is about a young boy named Benedick (Jean Tartiere) who falls madly in love with Beatrice (Dani Tucker). The play takes place in the late 1500s at the grounds of Leonato’s (Jackson Harned) estate in Italy. Beatrice and Benedick are in love and so is Hero (Courtney F. Wagner) and Claudio (Ian Stratt).The play is the epitome of Romance and focuses on some of their struggles–telling you love him/her, cheating, losing girl and fighting back for them.The main action comes mid-way when Benedick and Beatrice express their love to one another and when Claudio and Hero stop denying their love and read each other’s love notes. In the end, the two couples marry, then divorcing shortly after. Hero and Claudio get remarried later. The message to take away is that love conquers all; you can’t and should never deny you’re feelings toward someone. Much of this play is romantic comedy and humorous at the same time. Boy’s love their girl and keep denying it and often find themselves looking dumb by refusing to be around or talk to them about their feelings. It can also be seen as a Musical. There were several songs throughout the play that it did feel like a musical. One will find the play emersed in a romantic feeling in the air and a feeling all can relate too–feeling of having a crush or loving one.

The level at which these actors performed at was truly remarkable. There were many times  when I felt I was not watching a play but some sort of movie or natural love story folding in front of me. I think every actor but their heart and soul in that play–from scripting, body movements, songs and facial/hand gestures I was blown away and enjoyed every moment of it! The director did a fantastic job with the show, considering the amount of space and time he had. I got a sense of Romanticism as the overall theme and think staging was a great reflection of it. The stage included a balcony, two long stairwells and costumes,too, had lots of reds and warm colors–the colors of love. I think he wanted that to always be present so that even when actors seemed like they were “anything but in love” that the staging and staging of the actors, colors, lighting and songs were a clear representation of what the play was about and where it would lead. Going off on that, I think the design was something too. Having the mansion/castle look on stage made me feel like I was in Italy with the stoned bricks going up and down  and having those puffy dresses and old swinging dances. What really got me was the all white tucks the men wore because that’s when I started thinking I was in another time period! Overall, this was my favorite play Iv’e seen. It had everything i love–drama, romance, action and suspense! I know these actors gave it their all because I forgot I was watching a play; it was so natural and real. Truly left a good wound in my heart.

 

 

Measure pt2

The beauty about “Measure” is the way it was directed. Every actor had their “area” they stayed in but because of the scripting, it was made where every actor had conflict or ties with another character. The lay out made it so all individuals and audience members could see actors moving around from room to room or from bedroom to the bartender station all while acting. The direction of the play had characters running after one another or dancing with another. Not only was the director good at his job for choosing the cast, he choose a cast that was willing to do anything for the show to be a big success!

Measure!

I went to see the play “Measure” directed by Elizabeth Brazen Palmieri and Carrie Winship on Wednesday at the Greenhouse Theater. The play is essentially about mini problems that a few individuals are facing. Angelo (Michael Bayler) is in love with Isabella (Jenny Hipscher) and tries to express his love for her, but she does not feel the same way about Angelo and, if anything, is angry with him. Angelo is trying to kill Claudia (Elizabeth Brazen Palmieri) because she’s pregnant and at a young age and thinks she’s a whore and she happens to be Isabella’s sister. There is also Lucia (Rosemary McGraw) and Mistress Overdone (Alison Kertz) who also play a role in this drama fest. While characters are roaming throughout the entire gallery, they are met with Duke Vincent (Jackson Harned) at the end that finalizes everyone’s destiny.

By far, “Measure” was my favorite play I’ve seen and I know that casting the right people was crucial for making it successful. The writing of the play, in my opinion, calls for individuals who have the ability to change up their tone/attitude quickly and naturally, people who know how to dance and who know how to be comfortable moving around while  saying their lines. The actors did fulfill the roles required, I think. All the actors remained in character while moving around and did it with power and lots of energy. An example is in a lot of the arguing scenes between Angelo and Isabella because they bring out hand gestures and a lot of touching moments and make them come to life. After the play, Angelo (Michael Bayler) told me after the play that a few moments I was stuck in the room alone with him, he actually made up all those things he did in closed doors, which is something not everyone can do! He really tricked me and I was impressed! I think the director did have somewhat a vision in her mind when picking the characters. Obviously, she had to get females/males in their proper gender roles and I’m sure talent was a biggie! All the actors did everything with big movements and emphasized words. An example is when all the actors go in and out of rooms yelling and screaming at one another about different things. Like when Lucia would tell Angelo about Isabella and her rude remarks about her. Or when Mariana (Isabel Accurso) tricked Angelo into marrying her. Not many people can just transition that naturally and be able to then pause, so the director probably was looking at who can do things like that so they can convey the play’s message to the audience.

I think having the director make the play in various rooms helped a lot. Much of the play consisted of the actors going in and out of rooms and then running from room to room. I liked that set up because it allowed me to find out secret information from characters about what was going to happen. For example when the whole issue about killing Claudia came out and I was stuck inside the room, Angelo kept saying things about her. I liked that the director allowed things like this to happen (where I could get stuck with Angelo) because it was easier for me to interpret how individuals felt about one another. An example is when Angelo made his “likes, hates and kill” pages. I was able to quickly see whom he was going to go after, so that staging was pretty creative. When talking about spaces, I do believe that some spaces where targeted to be to one character over another. Examples are Angelo’s room and Claudia and her area near the cross. Angelo would always go back to the room a lot and people would always come inside to talk, but he rarely went to another. A lot of what was in there I think reflected just Angelo (his weights, photos, hit list and writings). Claudia was made to stay in the area of the Cross because of her situation with getting pregnant and needing forgiveness. I do believe that was intently from the director’s side. I really think she did it as a symbolic thing. One thing I did like was that even though the director gave the main characters rooms of their own, she also mapped out and put different actors in different conflicts so they can come out and move around (ex: Angelo and Claudia)

The Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys is a play directed by Kate Musgrove and took place inside The Talking Horse Theater. Majority of the theatrical play takes place in Willy Clark’s (Addison Myers) apartment in a beaten down hotel on upper Broadway during the 1980’s. Willy is an old and stubborn man who can’t seem to find work and relies on his nephew Ben Silverman (JJ Musgrove) to keep him sane and by allowing himself to have a friend there to hear his random and  everyday, vulgar comments. Later, willy’s greatest rivalry in everything Al Lewis (Aaron Krawitz) stops by Willy’s apt. to reherse and catch up. The remaining of the play focuses on this journey the two make with life and how instead of always competing against one another and bickering about every comment or thought, they find things about each other–they truly respect one another. Willy suffers a heart attack and is in bed rest and Al, Willy finds out, has been suffering poor circulation, eye sight vision and  body aches. When Al visits Willy, they end up laughing and remincing on each other’s involvement with each other’s lives.

Acting for this entire play was something out of this world! The entire time, I felt everything they were going through was real and not staged, so it would be wrong to not discuss the two leading character’s acting. First let’s look at Willy Clark. Looking back, every part of his performance was stellar and magical. One of my favorite parts came right in the beginning because it drew me to his character. He was watching TV and then all of a sudden a noise began to go off, he thought it was the phone and grabbed it before figuring out it was his stove for his tea. Those few movements and steps were so pactful. from his sleeping on the sofa, sudden jump on the noise and turning of his body and awkward eye glares were never too much but natural and raw; the way anyone would naturally react to something. The speed of what he was saying along with hand gestures also got to me. When Willy(Addison Myers) went to grab the phone, he squinted his eyes and put one hand bent and up above the breast area but it was the precision and quick movement that made it engaging. A second moment that Willy blew me away was when he and Al were rehearsing the “doctor’s visit” scene. The two kept bickering about who had the scene mapped out correctly and finally Willy started saying he was right and pointing to Al and leaning toward him all while lifting his shoulders up and down slowly. It just really showed me how “right” he thought he was and upset too. He showed he was in charge and by doing those slow chest movements I Interpreted how fed up he was (climax scene for me.)Something i like about Willy’s character is his ability to stay strong and not back down when he thinks he’s right because it drives the play and makes it more fun as a viewer.

It wouldn’t be right if i talked about Willy without talking about his partner in crime Al Lewis (Aaron Krawitz.) One thing i loved about Al’s character was his ability to keep the same expressive funny look throughout the play. He would open his eyes wide and slur his speech to mock Willy and i think that made me laugh overtime. One scene I remember as being funny was when Will and Al were going over the “doctor’s visit” scene and in-and-out quest. Willy yells “ENTER” and Al gives that humorous facial expression and jumps, looks at Willy and yells back “ENTER, ENTER. Who say’s that?”For me, after he said that he automatically crossed his hands in and out and then paused and did a shrug. I think Al was trying to show tough love towards Willy then, by correcting him in trying to make the performance better. His pitch went up to down, which is something everyone tries to do when proving a point. A second time I was impressed with Al was when he found Willy had suffered a heart attack. He came to visit, Willy like usual was trying to start bickering with al, Al instead tried to make the conversation positive and by not bickering. At that moment Al was putting his hand in front of Willy’s (in the air at chest level) and trying to convey this “enough is enough” attitude. I think one i love about Al that’s so different from Willy is he’s more rational and not looking to argue. You can see that from his sighs every time Willy tries getting upset.

The Sunshine Boys pt2

The play “The Sunshine Boys” is about two life long friends, after years of bickering and competing with one another are trying to cope with what life brings with old age–finding work, daily uncertainty and a hot temper. The two wise men discover that the wild kinetic friendship they have for one another is exactly what triggers them to finally see eye to eye. The setting of this play is minimal with simple house touches but with abstract acting and detailed movements and problems. The play is predominately a review. Review of past, present and future hurts and memories. Overall, a fantastic show with killer performances by Addison Myers, JJ Musgrave and Aaron Krawitz.

Booby Hatch: a Hysterical Musicale and Other Plays pt2

Booby Hatch uses lighting and the projection to take the average audience member and teleport them to a time period that is so dear to the performer, Heather Carver, that you begin to feel as if you know so much about her personally. Having lighting highlights those fond memories for Carver and having projection of past photos and thoughts ever said and ever come across, we get a mix of happiness and sadness.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead! pt1

I attended this play on Thursday February 25th. The play is about two friends, Rosencrantz (Dylan Bainter) and Guildenstern (Michael Bayler) who in this tragic comedy find themselves questioning life and the meaning of life while feeling and making the audience feel uncertainty at what comes next for the two adventurers. The boys are stuck at the changing time periods and obstacles at the moment with no way of avoiding their fate at the end where the two separate and disappear– leaving the audience to wonder where they ended up. The world of the play goes through various time periods and with that remains dark scenery, involving battles and clothing dark with bold black clothing and dark reds.

The entire show revolved on the importance on what the costumes and scenery were trying to bring to tell the audience, and so it would not be right if not to mention them. One moment in the play that stood out to me was in the beginning when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are encountered by Hamlet (Allan Benson) and his crew of Ophelia (Dani Tucker) Claudius (Aaron Scully) and the many soldiers and Ambassador. for example, Hamlet’s costume was predominately black with leather and dark eyeliner. Much of his material was ruff and tight. Much of his servants clothing were neutral colors, like browns and softer material. I think clothing was a great and easy demonstration into each characters personality. Hamlet throughout the play was very, straight forward, rude and reckless which his clothing was accurate to the tee. His crew, their clothing was more moveable, had more neutral colors (browns, light purple) and caught my attention. I think those individuals were the nicer, free spirt people who were kind and really funny. It also showed me that they are not in high social standing just with the clothing details but are great company. Another scene with great costume meaning was when the King and queen and the courtiers came out. That was one of those times when everyone was on stage. The king and queen were obviously in high standing with big, bright, luxury colors like dark greens and reds and with beautiful stitching and abstract patterns. Many of the courtiers also had those same colors, but not as intense, much lighter. They instead had flowing materials, showing me they were in high standing, but more laxed and welcoming of all. This makes sense because when their dance scenes came on, they had smiles and were engaged with the audience because they looked directly at us with respect. The king and Queen would always have an angle to them when talking, as if we didn’t matter.

Another big part of the play was the scenic and back drops in itself. Much of the scenic design had a lot of browns, with rugged roles and were hard. It matched the characters and how mellow the chapters were and down to earth, which the props were too! In the beginning, the only props were the hanging nets and then the carriage. It represented that time period being in the early centuries between early 1600 and mid 1600s because those are typically the use of transportation used. Moving forward, more props started being added, which I think started moving the time period to present 1900s, with modern technology and props. when the umbrella and barrels got added, I knew we were with modern times. I think much of the back drop colors and sizing had this dynamic relationship with the characters because the back drops started getting bigger and the problems within the play were deeper and more complected.By adding those specific props, it made the audience feel like we were there experiencing everything with them.

 

Mizzou New Play Series! pt 2

Love Always Wins 

 While remaining a dignified black doctor, Mr. Scott remains hopeful his daughter will survive her illness while having a constant reminder that race and equality for blacks and whites are very different and play a key role in there success.Until, he finds that sometimes love for a friendship can solve everything. 

The setting of this play is in the 1920s and is pretty minimal but they do a good job at showing personalities of the characters that give you a better understanding for what’s the real struggle-race. This event is a surreal one in that it accurately portrays the lives African Americans had to live during those times. The production was amazing. You will witness real, raw emotion; the kind that makes you think and engaged. This play to me, is a historical one in which many people can relate to or understand and i also think it’s a reminder too of where society today is and how far it’s come.

A great play with such accurate portrayals of the lives of these individuals and with such emotion built around it!

Mizzou New Play Series! pt 1

Mizzou New Play Series on February 14, consisted of five short plays. The first called Doctor Scott. A play about a married couple Doctor John Scott (Alex Givens) and his wife Mrs. Alaya Scott (Rae Davis) who struggle to live a normal life in the 1920s with race playing a key part in their lives. There daughter, Priscilla Scott (Erika Wilson) has a disease she can die from. Sheriff Huey Price (Nick Donley) gets stabbed by Charity Brown (Monica Hand) in the neck after racial comments being said and both the Sheriff and Priscilla get rushed to the hospital at closing. The second play, The Long Ride Home, is about a couple, Sam and Jesse (Jacob Estes, Clare Stribling) while driving on the highway with there cat Chole and a stranger, Dave (Kyle Cuypers)argue after Sam begins feeling love for another girl and admits it to Jesse. She say pulls over, get out of car, and he too. After arguing, she pushes Sam on traffic. Dave, begins flipping out. Moving on, play three Electra is about three woman (Bonnie Hay, Rae Davis and Ellen Ghidina) who pressure Electra Waggoner (Meghan LeVota) to remembering a specific time in her life that she can’t seem to remember. Eventually, the girls make peace and Electra remembers. The last play, Peace Talks is about a land dispute between Nelli (Rae Davis) and Gingie (Samantha Jones) while having the judge (Ladarius Burgess) maintaining the conversation and disputes. The girls make up in the end over land.

Out of all the plays, I’ve decided to go into detail with the play  Doctor Scott. The genre/style of this play is more of a historical setting and teachings. First, the time period is set in the 1920s, where race plays a huge part for the characters. Mrs. Scott and Doctor Scott, one of the only few black doctors struggle to cater to their sick daughter, Priscilla. The sheriff is a white male who constantly throws rude and racial comments to Charity Brown outside the porch.  Dr. Buck Ballinger is also a doctor but white and kind and gracious towards the Scotts. In the end when the sherif and Priscilla fall ill, Priscilla from disease and sherif from a stab wound, get rushed to the same hospital after Dr. Buck Ballinger assures the parents Priscilla will get care and not be rejected because of her black ethnicity.

I think the plot of the play came toward the ending of the play when Dr. Buck Ballinger stated that no matter what the race circumstances were for Priscilla, he assured she will be  admitted into the hospital, a white hospital. In the beginning it’s setting the viewers with this constant whites and blacks disputes. Some like Sherif’s racial comments to Charity Brown on the porch and him not allowing Mrs. Brown to enter the house, even though it’s not his property (clearly showing power over blacks). The moment Mrs. Scott hesitated switching over to the other side and assisting the Sherif (really switching to the white side) and his wound and her husband helping Priscilla. Then finally, Dr. Buck Ballinger stating how they both can be saved, Dr. Scott hesitating because his daughter is black and white doctors never were to found of black assistance. Yet, Dr. Tallinger states it doesn’t matter and they both will receive the proper care, while racing his voice and eyes. It sums up this idea that finally the racial tensions in the house were at a stop.

In a town with racial tensions, a family tries to save their ill daughter while trying to reason with white power. The couple tries not to anger the white sherif and Doctor, by keeping a calm tone. Their daughter is sick and dying slowly. They finally get reassured after keeping there peace, that she will be treated and saved.