Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Awake and Sing!

You may find yourself wishing you were able to do either of the two key title words during the show! Seems strangely appropriate that this would be a Lincoln Center Theater production. Not sure if this one would be able to stand on its own as an independent production.

Unfortunately the cast was a dichotomy - either very talented - Zoe Wanamaker (the mother) or a series of "Broadway debuts". And believe me, you could see the difference. While it was nice to see Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) on stage I didn't get that same "she's deep" feeling as I get when seeing her on "screen". The brother (Pablo Schreiber) seemed slightly over-acted (perhaps that had something to do with the dated and stale plot). It was a treat to see Ben Gazzara - but I was not sure if his speech impediment was acting or the result of a recent stroke. Sad, but true.

Act I seemed to crawl. Act II picked up a bit - and I must say that I truly loved the use of the disappearing walls in the apartment to symbolize the "freeing" of the characters from their "emotional prisons" as time passed in the play. I think that WAS the best element of the show for me. The show progresses to the "obvious" end (most seemed to know where Grandpa was going and what he was going to do). I just didn't think the play had the necessary ingredients to keep an audience interested over 2 hours and 30 minutes.

One other note - it seems that production had to have a special white sheet of paper inserted into the Playbill (like those "Is your Cell Phone off?" pages) to tell you that there would be an additional 2 minute pause between two scenes (in addition to the TWO intermissions!). Apparently, people have been getting up and leaving thinking the show was over at the wrong time. I wonder why?!

Or perhaps they simply took the opportunity to flee under cover of darkness!