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Re: “Don't Stop Believin', Beardo

With all due respect, I feel like once again, Miss Swan fails to do proper research. Mr Davaran is not merely a "YouTube sensation" but a fine actor and singer in his own right. I'm sure he earned the part like any actor, and knowing him myself, it never sounded "daring" to me at all, but damn good casting. A little research into his theatrical history would have uncovered the fact that he's no stranger to the stage.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 03/31/2011 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Romance with Impact

Okay, okay, hold up: the director DEFINITELY did NOT give the text "the finger." I don't think Hillman ever does anything but try to freshen up the text and make it more relatable to a modern and, more importantly, young (yes, young as in 20's) audience. And no, Shakespeare doesn't NEED to be freshened up, but if you'll look around at the Impact audiences, you'll see that they are one of the only theatres in town with such a young median age. And for these shows, they're often sold-out. So clearly, Hillman is doing something right, time and again, with both intriguing audiences to come see these classics, and also in keeping them coming back for each new Impact Theatre-ean production.
I, personally, thought the Russian mafia setting was appropriate for the bleak, violent landscape they were going for. I also don't think it's necessary to read the program to get that, especially with a few russian words flung about and the manservant's Russian accent punctuating a few scenes.

I also thought the lovers were some of the best, actually, at handling the text, unlike Ms. Swan, athough at times modern interpretations of some of the other characters did distort things a bit, but not so much that you don't understand why they do it. Shakespearean-trained though some may not be, for the most part they all find their own truth in the words, and that is, after all, the most important thing.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 02/23/2011 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Just a Number

With all due respect to Ms. Swan, she severely missed the boat on this one. It’s not hard to do, mind you, considering the play IS so fast-paced. I think the most significant thing to realize is that this play is NOT about cloning. It provides a plot device, yes, but the real weight of the story is about child abuse, how to be a father, and the significance of the nurture side of the nurture/nature argument. And while Salter reveals only as much information as he needs to at every juncture, there’s no reason to believe that the final story we’re left with isn’t the real one, especially considering that while the story keeps changing, it also gets considerably worse. (SPOILER ALERT HERE) So the story we’re left with is that Bernard 1’s mother killed herself when he was 2, the father continued to abuse and neglect the child as a result from drinking and/or drugs, and then after 2 more years, the father cleaned himself up and decided to make things RIGHT. But instead of making it right with the child he had, he basically did a do-over, cloning the child and giving up the first one to foster care. He then started anew fresh with Bernard 2, never telling this son, of course, that he was a clone of the first one. Now, Ms. Swan’s understanding that he purposefully created 20 clones is flat-out incorrect. The doctors made these clones without his knowledge, so THAT PART of the story is actually new to Salter. Michael Black is one of these clones who Salter decides to meet, since Bernard 1 killed Bernard 2 and then killed himself, Salter is finally left with a situation he has to confront emotionally, and as he says, he “can’t make it right anymore.” His meeting with Michael Black is an attempt to connect with these sons of his, but he only finds that this man is not only completely unlike the Bernards, he’s actually a happy person, something that Salter’s absence in his life has afforded him the ability to be. THAT’s what happened and what is happening. There is no reason to believe the play takes place decades in the future, either, though I suppose it’s a possibility. Like I mention before, the cloning aspect is kept vague because it’s really not all that important how it happened—what it does is show us an interesting experiment in which 3 people of the same genetic make-up are given entirely different upbringings. You could do the same thing with twins or triplets separated at birth, but with this scenario you also get to see 2 people with the same name brought up (or partially so) by the same father but in different situations. Anyway, Ms. Swan did not realize this, and for some reason she keeps referring to Bernard 2 as “Michael Black.” Michael Black is the 3rd character you meet in the last scene of the play—the one happy character who was not brought up by Salter. It’s too bad she wasn’t at the talkback at first preview at which an audience member piped up right away and declared that this play isn’t about cloning, but about how to be a father.

I don't comment to argue about the quality of the production, which Ms. Swan did complement, but didn't give enough credit. It's an amazing and tight script performed by the best talent in the area.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 02/05/2010 at 2:16 PM

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