Sunday, April 24, 2011

Amedeus, Capriccio, She Stoops to Comedy and Mad Men

This weekend has been filled with offerings on the relationships between music and words, words and theater, music and God. I am amazed that we found ourselves at three different performances delving into the nature of art forms. How did this happen? No dysfunctional families, no musical comedy, no mythological heros.
On Friday evening, Earl and I went to see Unhinged Productions
'She Stoops to Comedy.' I've often liked this company's plays and was prepared to like this one. But for me, the play never took off and we left at intermission
because I was weary of waiting to be engaged. Was it the production or was it the script? All seemed contrived or perhaps the actors were just trying too hard? Or was the dialogue just not clever enough? One of of actor's lines sums it up well. "Oh, please don't examine the script to closely, Kay, or we'll be in trouble." I agree. Unhinged Productions used to exceed my expectations. I'll wait for the new season and try again.
After we returned home, I searched on-line and found a 2003 NYT review of the play which stated, "Packed with theatrical in-jokes and wordplay, ''Comedy'' feels dense and exceedingly thin at the same time."
Well, there you have it.
On Saturday, we drove again to the Cineplex theater in Webster to hear the Met's live production of Capriccio with Renee Fleming. Another tale where the play of words is contrasted to the making of music. The dilemma? Does one enhance the other, making opera the best of both worlds? Fleming as the Countess asks, "In choosing, does one lose?" I was transfixed by "Capriccio" and saw some similarities in what the Unhinged Productions playwright was attempting. Strauss portrayed the dilemma so exquisitely.
Then this afternoon we went to the Alley Theatre to see Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" and what a powerful production of the tale of a bargain struck with the one with whom one does not make bargains. That would be God. And once again a story of how music can transform our hearts and souls. I was simply wrung out when we left the theater. Shaffer's story is of Salieri making a bad bargain with the divine and then fighting God through Mozart. I only pulled myself back together later on Sunday night after reading more about Mozart and finding that indeed, "Amadeus" is but powerful fiction.Jeffrey Bean as Antonio Salieri

So, we attended three performances in one weekend, two of which I wouldn't have traded.

And then there were four episodes of the fourth season of Mad Men. And then the commentaries.

Well, what a weekend.

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