Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Tense, Compelling"

Critics are an interesting element in the production process. They can often make or break a show with one single swift pass at the keyboard. In one single evening they judge months (even years) of a playwright, cast and crew's work. Worst of all, some critics have never even penned, directed, performed or designed a play. They are voyeurs of our world. Powerful, box-office-altering voyeurs.

At the college level, reviews tend to not really make a big difference. They rarely come around and when they do they tend to be three parts summary and one part flattery. No matter what, it's always exciting to see our work earn public attention.

Ian Opolski wrote a review for The Collegian that went to press on closing night. It's an overall positive review. Unfortunately for Ian, I'm not sure he truly understood the play and would benefit from a second viewing. For example, he refers to Mrs. North played by Emily Brown as the "the mother of the deceased boy." Did the constant repetition of  the name "Alexander Boltwood" and "The Boltwood's" throw him off? (He could've been tired that night.) Fortunately for us, a lot of people did think the plot full of action and we performed the last two nights to full, fantastic audiences. Thus, proving that word-of-mouth may indeed overpower the critic. 

An excerpt from the review:
Some Mother’s Son is a low-action domestic drama, so it naturally must rely on character development to maintain interest. Smith’s production fares well in this regard. It is fortunate for the performance that the bulk of the action falls on Susanna Apgar, who plays Masha. While the entire cast handles the material capably, it is undoubtedly Apgar who dominates the stage. Even in the rare moments in which attention is drawn away from her character, Apgar often manages to pull the focus back onto herself by way of small, effective movements of her face and body. Constantly cleaning, wiping or wringing her hands, and taking shuddering breaths, she skillfully relates the growing emotional strain of her situation 
while also gesturing to the character’s darker undercurrents.

Alex Teicheira, who plays Masha’s husband, Carl Kvichak, also performs well, particularly in the second act, in which his character develops more nuance. Likewise, the brief confrontation between Masha and Constance North – the mother of the deceased boy played by Smith undergraduate Emily Brown – is one of the most shocking and shattering moments of the entire piece. As little actually happens in the plot of Some Mother’s Son, its cast should be commended for how engaging and lively this character-driven drama continues to be throughout its duration."
-Ian Opolski, The Daily Collegian
To read the complete review go HERE.

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