Posts Tagged ‘Performing Arts’

theater worth seeing. sunset limited at theatrical outfit.

Photo credit: Chris Bartelski From left: Pete Thomasson as White, E. Roger Mitchell as Black

just a few short weeks ago, I was completely unfamiliar with cormac mccarthy’s one-act play the sunset limited. actually i am not even sure i knew that cormac mccarthy even wrote plays. a few weeks back i heard two actors talking about a product of the sunset limited they were performing in, that was taking place in downtown atlanta. the interview, broadcast on am 1690 (a definite favorite of mine), and subsequent several minutes of dialogue from the play they performed on the radio, intrigued me tremendously.

thus, when scoutmob (twitter; @scoutmob) showed up in my inbox the next morning with a 50% coupon for the same play (thanks scoutmob!) i decided to check it out.
so last night i went to theatrical outfit (twitter; @theatoutfit), which is in a small theater next to the rialto and saw one of the best stage productions i have ever seen in this city.

a one-act play that deals with complex issues like race, religion, faith and futility and suicide is not an easy thing to pull off (see the wikipedia entry on sunset limited for a primer on the plot), and to make it work, the actors better be damn good. and in this production they were.

the actor playing “black” was amazing; forceful and tender and with an incredible grasp of the rhythm of the dialogue that mccarty wrote for him. in fact through most of the play i kept thinking that he was overpowering the actor playing “white” and this was my one criticism of the play.

until the end, when i realized the director had done this intentionally, keeping “white” subdued and almost and blank canvas for “black” to paint on. It stayed this way, until about 2/3 of the way through the play, when “white” burst forward dominating the stage and “black.” very impressive feat of acting to pull off if you ask me, being able to hold back like that and then scream forward right at the end.

it’s a complicated work and i am still digesting what it means and what i truly think of what was presented. However, you only have a few more days to see this, so i wanted to get this review out, because if you are a theatre fan or a fan of cormac mccarthy you really owe it to yourself to get downtown and see this before it closes out.

sunset limited
theatrical outfit
through april 11
balzer theater
84 luckie street nw
atlanta, ga 30303

Under the Big Top

Last night I was able to attend the premiere of Kooza, the latest Circque du Soleil offering under the yellow and blue striped big top at Atlantic Station.

Walking in and being greeted with flower bearing characters on stilts forces your mind to the place it should be: imagery and imagination and letting go of those pesky grown up thoughts that nag and plague us all.

As we waited for the doors to open so we might take our seats, we wandered about eying (and buying) schwag, opting out of the hours devours being passed by staff dressed in black and masks, and watching the “making of” and snippits from the show being projected on flat screens throughout the climate controlled (bless you, Cirque) tents that form the show compound.

The show itself wasn’t terribly unlike the only other Cirque show I’d been to: Allegria. I was particularly fond of the women who contorted themselves in ways that seemed impossible, but clearly wasn’t. Who should have snapped their spines, but didn’t. The music was different, the story was different, the set and the players were different, but what remained the same was the length the choreographers and performers go to when throwing themselves about on stage for our entertainment…and how well they did it.

At dinner before the show, we were asked twice if we were “going to the circus”. We laughed smugly, because a circus means the stench of elephant dung, droopy cotton candy, and a scary old dude in a top hat. In hindsight, we were wrong. The similarities are there if you’re able to see ’em: to awe the audience, to cause them to gasp, to allow them a place where they can let go of the world and its burdens, and to connect to a quieter more youthful mind. Sure, there were dirty jokes and innuendo that the children (kicking my chair) didn’t get, but the wee ones in my sight all sat on the edges of their chairs, just like I was.

If you have the opportunity to see the show during its run (Jan 2 – March 1), and can find loot in your budget for tickets (anywhere from $38 – 125), I recommend it wit a two wee caveats:
– Don’t bother trying to have dinner at Atlantic Station first unless you make reservations. The wait at Rosa Mexicana was 1hr 20min, and the service at Strip was hideous (there will be a Yelp posting about that, shortly)
– If ya gotta “go”, do it before you walk over. The loos are probably clean, but are those mini-building deals you have to walk up steps to get to that have four stalls per.

Footnote: many thanks to Dave Coustan for the comp tickets that allowed me to begin my new year the way it should: with the arts.

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