Monday, May 22, 2017

Hand to God

I got to see Hand to God the other day at Dobama Theater.  I enjoyed it and all of it's dark humor, but it wasn't what I was expecting.   It was advertised as a cross between Avenue Q and the Book of Mormon, two shows that I really love.  This show had puppets and a religious theme, but that's where the similarities ended.

Premise: a widowed woman works for the church and is trying to put on a puppet show.  Her son, Jason has a puppet (Tyrone) that has a very dark streak, eventually leading the group to believe that he is possessed by the devil.   

Tons of dark religious psychology in this show.  Eventually, Tyrone is revealed to be a manifestation of Jason's pain for his father's death.   Also, lots of violence and a gratuitous puppet sex scene.   This show is definitely for the 21 and over crowd.   It's not a musical, so you don't go home with a song in your heart.   Tyrone's last speech actually reminds me of Puck's at the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The effect is eerie and fascinating.   :If you like creepy plays, watch this.  If dolls and puppets scare you, or if the religious overtones hit close to home, I'd advise you to avoid it.   It's not every day you see a guy bludgeon his own hand with a hammer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Something Rotten

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing Something Rotten.  We saw it on the final weekend, which is very unusual for us, but we had scheduling conflicts that couldn't be moved.   This is a really fun, original story for any fan of the Broadway musical genre.   Basically, two Brothers in during the Renaissance are writers in direct competition with William Shakespeare (who is portrayed as the David Bowie of his day).  With the gleanings of a soothsayer, they decide to write a musical, centuries before the genre is supposed its debut.  

The fifth number, A Musical,  garners multiple ovations in the middle of the first act.  Check out the link to see all the allusions to Broadway shows.  

The music is classic 1930's Broadway with lots of incongruous, campy, slapstick humor.  If it comes to your city, go see it!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pelleas and Melisande

I went to see the opening night of Pelleas and Melisande with the Cleveland Orchestra.  There are performances tonight and Saturday, and I really recommend it.

The plot is what happens when family and lovers don't communicate and assume very bad things.   Golaud finds Melisande at a pond in the forest.  She is a survivor of some kind of trauma.   They get married with them not knowing much at all about each other.   Pelleas is Golaud's younger half brother, and he develops this childish crush on Melisande.  It is mostly flirting and games, and ends act 3 with a kiss.   Golaud kills his brother over this and eventually Melisande dies after childbirth.

The staging and music were way better than the plot.   It's Debussy, so the music is very beautiful.   The singers were among the orchestra, and the action was done in a box far back on the stage.  It was full of dancers, smoke, lights, and projections.  The glass went cloudy or clear with electric charge.   It was a pond, a grotto, and oftentimes a forest.  It was just as impressive (yes, intentional pun) as the director's previous staging of the Cunning Little Vixen.

The opera is 3 hours long.  90 minutes (acts 1-3), 20 minute intermission, and then 65 minutes for acts 4 and 5.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Freaky Friday the Musical

I have seen all three versions of the Freaky Friday movie franchise.   Although the characters were different in all versions, the premise is the same: a mother and daughter switch bodies and experience one another's lives.   I was quite happy with the musical at Cleveland Playhouse last night.  This show has not been to Broadway yet, but I imagine it will once it earns a following.   CPH has even extended its run by an entire week.  Go see it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Try the World: France

So our Try the World France arrived.   We only yesterday finished the Holiday Box.   And I've only sampled the Greek box.   I'll need to start this one because it has perishables in it.

 I actually already bought a tube of this chestnut paste in the fridge.    I know it's good.   Great with dessert type things.
 Salt without iodine.   It'll be nice to add at the end of a meal.

Tomato spread.  I haven't really looked at the recipes much, but I can probably use it with a wrap or pasta.
 Mustard, also good for sandwiches and wraps.
 Fig jam for cookies or crepes.  
 Cheesy crackers!
 Butter cookies!
And finally crepes!   I only recently learned how to make these on my own.  It's not as hard as I thought it would be, but these look yummy.  I know what I'm having for breakfast.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Between Riverside and Crazy

This week, we went to Cleveland Play House to see Between Riverside and Crazy.   Wow, that was thought provoking.    CPH never fails to present fascinating material.

So Walter is an ex-cop living in a rent controlled palatial apartment in New York City.   He is recently widowed and his son is helping him around.  The NYPD wants him to take a settlement for his lawsuit 8 years ago.  He was off duty and shot by another cop, and race seems to have been a factor.   He has non-related family going in and out of his place and there have been complaints, and he is threated with eviction notices.

One thing not mentioned in the pre-show conversation are the lies each character tells.   When you see it, watch for the recurring theme.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

I loved the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the first time I read the book in the early 2000's.   Now it's a play that won many Tony Awards!   But, I get ahead of myself.

The story is about Christopher, a young man in Swindon, UK who lives with his father.  He discovers his neighbor's dog dead, speared through with a gardening fork.   He decides to investigate the murder and finds out truths of his own life.  

What makes the story unique is that Christopher is not neurotypical.   He is brilliant and mathematically gifted, with an eye for detail.   The book described life from his point of view, and the play brings it to life further.   You get a real sense of his perceptions through the lights, sounds, and Greek chorus.  The black box encompassing the stage really lets you into our protagonist's head and experience sensory overload.

The post play even features the proof of the Pythagorean theorem which was in the book's appendix.  If the tour is coming to your city, definitely go watch it.  It's not a musical, but it is a very faithful translation of the book with some additional enhancements.