August 01, 2005

Catching up #1: Moon over Buffalo

More than a week ago now, I hopped on 34 and drove down to Monmouth to see Coffee Bean Theatre's production of Moon over Buffalo. Somehow it managed to take me almost ten minutes just to get out of Galesburg---curse those poorly timed downtown stoplights---and so I arrived a minute or two late. For a wonder, the production had begun on time (what kind of a theatre company do they think they are, anyway?), so I had to stand in the back while my eyes adjusted, waiting for a scene change or something to find my seat. The Rivoli is an old theatre that must have been beautiful once, but after Kerasotes bailed and the seats and carpet were stripped out, what's left is more reminiscent of a warehouse. Seating was in chairs that had been set out on the bare concrete; more than adequate, of course, but not your typical theatrical experience.

But about the show. It took a while to get into, and I was a bit disappointed; having been billed as "side-splitting", I found it somewhat funny, but less than uproarious---until the second act. This is when the mildly funny setup from the first act really pays off. I sort of embarrassed myself with the raucous laughter the show elicited at this point, although the director thanked me afterwards. ;)

Tim Holmes as George played a masterful drunk scene.

Good farce is probably very hard to write, but it's fun to perform and fun to watch. It appeared that a few of the actors were making great efforts not to crack a smile during some of the best bits; but who can blame them? The sheer absurdity of the situation is hard to resist. For the audience, it's even better---seeing the elements click into place, and suddenly knowing what horrible misunderstanding will happen next, being powerless to do anything about it but groan in anticipation. Delightful stuff!

I have to compliment the actors and crew on the costuming, especially for the women. The dresses they found were really good period pieces---they might have been off by a few years, but they were very close---and very flattering, as 1950s dresses often could be. (Fashionistas take note!) I was a little taken aback by the aloha shirt on Paul, though; I guess they must've existed in 1953, but the one he had and the way he wore it made him look thoroughly modern and out of place, especially against the rest of the clothing. Ah well.

When I got in my car, I really didn't know what to expect; I just was jonesing for a good theatre fix, in somewhat shorter supply during the summer. I was pleased with what I saw---low budget fare, but talented---and certainly intend to check out Coffee Bean's upcoming productions.

"That we all begin inside a woman and must emerge from her body is something that the male theologians of the world's religions have yet to forgive us for." --Kathleen Norris, _Cloister Walk_

Posted by blahedo at 11:56pm on 1 Aug 2005
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