Friday, June 02, 2006

"Stones in His Pockets"

The Stoneleaf Theatre Festival has been happening in Asheville for the past week. I've been doing some house managing for the shows that are taking place in my department's space. Last night, I saw a wonderful production of Stones in His Pockets done by North Carolina Stage Company. The performances were flawless -- two actors (Charlie McIver and Scott Treadway) playing about twenty different roles, each clearly and vividly.

I can't decide how I feel about one-person shows, or even shows like this where two actors play many roles. One part of me thinks that it increases the theatricality and encourages the audience to actively engage its imagination; the other part frets about the miniaturization of the theatre and the slide toward what Aristotle called epic.

Uncharacteristically, I don't have a strong opinion on this issue. Something I continue to struggle with.

1 comment:

YS said...

I am laughing when I realize that my position on one person shows depends largely on what the last solo show I have seen is.

There is something I admire so much about the solo performer. They have the guts tostand out there and say, "there's nothing else here but me baby! And I am going to hold your attention and entertain you." It is almost like a game of chicken.

Some pet peeves about solo performances:

-Stand up comedians essentially doing their stand-up act and calling it a "one man or woman show."

-Seeing a new solo show and realizing, about two minutes in, that the solo performer even realizes that their life is not exciting enough to maintain a 10 minute short play, never mind a 60 minute solo performance piece.

I actually ended up writing a play about this called I Go Solo. It Got an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) nomination for Best New Play that year:

http://www.theatermirror.com/igsetcls.htm

-The increasing practice of a show like Eric Bogosian's Drinking in America, or Anna Deveare Smith's Twilight Los Angeles, being done by a cast of say 13 different actors. Having seen both shows performed by their authors, and then seeing the multi-performer versions, I can honestly say that something is lost.

Just my thoughts