Photo by Don Kellogg

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bass for Picasso

 I have no problem with actors who have disabilities.  I actually love to see them on stage, disproving stereotypes, taking on the challenge alongside their peers.  At the end, we just decide who did well and who did not.  Who cares about the disability?  Not me.

On the other hand, I don't agree with the idea that a hearing person can't play a deaf character, a seeing person can't play a blind role, etc.  I don't think either should be preferred - or discouraged - just the best person for the cast at that time, that production, and the desired result.  This production of Bass for Picasso was produced by Theater Breaking Through Barriers.  They promote and encourage actors with disabilities to hone their craft.  Bravo!

Now - with that out of the way - the play was awful.  An absurd, (and frankly a bit dishonest) comedic romp (occasionally) looking at the gay lifestyle and concepts of family in New York today.   Well - i for one don't know anyone like these characters - none of them.  They were over-the-top and stereotypical.  I presume the theater company was trying to make a point about discrimination and stereotyping - just using another group of people to prove the point through the laughter.  Well, the characters were strange - and frankly, the disabilities the actors had only served to make each of their characters more absurd and in turn the entire play a flop.  There were plenty of funny lines, but I left feeling sad for many of the characters.  Most of them, actually.   I think the choice of the work was a gamble.  One that will not pay off.