January 29, 2005

Double header, part one

This weekend, Studio Theatre put on two one-acts. The first was The Missionary Pursuit by Brent Aronowitz. It started a little slow, with the feeling that the actors were just reciting lines, but it picked up after the first few comedy bits loosened everyone up. The show opens with two girls, roommates, chatting about their boring, loveless lives, and how much they hate their jobs; and then there's a knock on the door.

Mormon missionaries: comedy gold.

The two guys who played the missionaries had the act down. Noah, the one that gets smitten with one of the girls, played the naf perfectly. His deer-in-headlights look was masterful; just as his jaw dropped, his eyes briefly would go ever-so-slightly crossed in the cutest way. I don't know if he always does that or whether he developed it for this part (I've never noticed him doing it before), but it certainly worked here.

The one downside I saw was that there was a lot of unmotivated blocking. Stand up, walk across the stage, say your next line, sit down. In a show that is so dialogue-oriented I can see that it would be tricky to really motivate a lot of it; the most natural thing for whole ten-minute stretches of time really would be to sit there and talk, but that would be too boring, I guess. Possibly related here was the problem of the enormous stage: both this show and the one that followed it took place in supposedly modest apartments, yet the stage, the living room, was bigger than my whole apartment, I think. Perhaps with a smaller set, the walking across the stage wouldn't have seemed so out of place.

The highlights of the piece were a couple of great monologues. They were the sort of life-exposition monologues that people prepare to show off their acting skills, and they were performed quite well. Noah had one (well, a few, really, but one big one) and Erica, the other lead, had one as well. Some really excellent bits of character work there.

I had mixed feelings about the ending; it was kind of a let-down, but at the same time, the last couple of lines definitely capped the piece. Certainly the show as a whole gets a big thumbs-up from me.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" --often attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Posted by blahedo at 11:44pm on 29 Jan 2005
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