Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Archive for May, 2010

Well (2010)

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

The presence of Well on this year’s roster of Oregon Shakespeare Festival productions signals in no uncertain terms that the Festival is going to remain committed to presenting remarkable new work alongside the usual buffet of surefire crowd pleasers. Presented in the New Theatre under the direction of James Edmondson,Well also shows that organizers are getting better at finding forward-looking plays that can still appeal to Festival audiences for four months: it is vigorous and thought-provoking, emotional without being treacly, and it provides a gorgeous showcase for several Company stalwarts.


Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (2010)

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

You know you’ve seen something special when Company members are snuffling emotionally in the row behind you. The stereotype of comedians is for them to nod at another comedian’s act and say “that was funny” without actually laughing. I’ve seen actors leave a powerful, moving show giving high fives and chatting excitedly about the performances. So, the fact that the cast of this year’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof got to their fellow actors should tell you a lot.

The play is largely a character-driven piece – there’s a plot, but the external story doesn’t actually move much and the play is essentially in real-time. Maggie (a sublime Stephanie Beatriz) comes from a hard-scrabble childhood but is now married to Brick (the what’s-left-to-say Danforth Comins), a drunken, washed-up athlete who has forsworn a budding career as a television sports announcer in favor of the bottle; Brick is the favorite son of a wealthy plantation owner who may or may not be dying soon. The action, then, revolves around the machinations of Big Daddy’s sons (Brick and his brother Gooper, the latter played with quiet frustration by Rex Young) and their wives (Maggie and Mae, respectively, the latter played by Kate Mulligan with scene-stealing brio) to secure the prime inheritance share from their father. When they aren’t digging at each other, they mostly turn on themselves.