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Keyword: ‘Night of the Iguana’

Iceman Cometh

May 12th, 2013 No comments

Hickey (Dana Hart) 'inspires' his fellow saloon regulars.

Hickey (Dana Hart) ‘inspires’ his fellow saloon regulars.

Peter Roth and I got over to Ensemble last night to let The Iceman Cometh “wash” over us, as Eric Coble put it in a post. It did indeed. Four hours of washing makes for a very good scrubbing. The language does indeed wash over you and sweeps you up and spins you off and out to sea. I was reminded of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood with the powerful language and intense development of many, many characters. The play is truly a mammoth undertaking to see, let alone, I’m sure, to act in, or direct and stage. I can only ponder that effort. I remember going to Stratford one year and watching Night of the Iguana and thinking about how relentless and draining acting in that piece must be. Watching Iceman was confirmation again about the physical requirements of acting in a play that is long and filled with emotional power. Fortunately for Ensemble, the assembled a great cast with many of my favorite actors in Cleveland, including Michael Regnier (who was in my thesis play), Robert Hawkes, Bobby Williams, and Allen Branstein.

I won’t discuss O’Neill’s play that much, as there are other places online that discuss it and do a far better job than can I. All I can say is that I’m glad I got to see it. The folks at Ensemble did a great job.

Mineola Twins

April 18th, 2009 No comments

So, this post is long past the performance run…but I still want to say something about it, as it was/is the first convergence show for 2009.

I don’t mean any disrespect to the other actors in the play, but this play clearly requires a strong female lead and it was very strongly delivered by Lucy Bredeson-Smith. In fact, it’s hard to conceive of this play working without her. When I see performances like the one Bredeson-Smith delivered, I am reminded of the stamina it takes to be an actor and I am forever in awe of it. I often think I’d like to give it a go, but doubt I lack that most fundamental of characteristics; the characteristic that makes it possible to deliver night after night after night. Eleven years ago I went to Stratford, Ontario to see some plays. The play that impressed upon me, the first time, this fact of the stamina required for theater acting was Tennesee William’s Night of the Iguana. For those of you unfamiliar with the play, a “reverend” and bus tour guide with a predilection for young women, has a nervous breakdown in Mexico. For the actor, Geordie Johnson, who played the reverend Shannon (and who needs a new design for his website), the intensity of almost constantly being on stage and the high energy required to portray a nervous breakdown is exhausting even to watch. And to think the man had to do performance after performance three to four times per week from April through November (and this just one play–he was also in two or three others). Needless to say, my admiration goes out to actors and, in this case, to Lucy Bredeson-Smith who delivered her role three nights a week for five weeks with no less energy and certainly not much less of a physical demand, given the frequent costuming changes (ah em, including some rather large knockers).

I won’t talk too much about the play, as it was not one of my favorites by Paula Vogel. I thought the concept of twins and their dual natures was interesting, as well as the dual nature represented in their sons. I though the use of nuclear holocaust as a metaphor was unique as well as the nightmarish dream sequences that were the apocalyptic visions of the twins. More to the political side is the diametrically opposed natures of the twins: one a rebel, hippie, anarchist, lesbian; the other a virginal, mother, conservative talk show host, mental case; combine to point out the schism in our national psyche.

The play was worth seeing though for Bredeson-Smith’s performance.

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