Fall Theater Season in Tucson 2015

st. joan.jpg

Winding Road Theater Company
Saint Joan, by George Bernard Shaw, adapted by Toni Press-Coffman
directed by Susan Arnold, featuring MAC-Award Winner Lucille Petty
Our first Saint Joan, and admirably performed by Winding Road, especially Lucille Petty, who seemed the embodiment of a slight, middle-class French girl.  Shaw’s plays are usually long, so Press-Coffman’s shortened adaptation was appreciated.

All Hamlet, All the Time.

This Fall, The Rogue produced Hamlet and Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern
Are Dead
in rep.  And, the National Theater broadcast live a performance of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

National Theater:  Saw this production first – most lasting impressions:

  • Cumberbatch, lithe as a cat, gliding from floor to tabletop, rooftop to street.  That man moved like a ballet professional.  
  • Always impressive, the NT’s staging of the final scenes included the destroyed castle of Elsinore, complete with tons of dirt.  What a job to clean that up after each performance.
  • Polonius, always one of my favorites, played by David Calder, seemed shrunken in the role.

That National Theater Live is a great gift to the world from the U.K.

The Rogue

Hamlet by Wm. Shakespeare and Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, playing in rep. 

Oh, theatrical joy!  Matt Bowdren played Hamlet.  No, he became Hamlet.  Again, in a micro-theater, you heard Shakespeare’s most quoted lines up close and personal.  The Tucson production was considerably shortened from the NT Live production (almost four hours).  But this was easily the best Shakespeare production by The Rogue – we have seen about five over the years.  

And, Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – pure magic.  Tom Stoppard brought the lunacy of Beckett to the stage existence of minor characters, whose only purpose is to appear several times in Hamlet, and like everyone else, to die.  The pair create word games, bet on coin flips and doze to pass the time between appearances.  When they are “on stage”, you experience that exact scene, with the same actors, that you saw in the performance of Hamlet.  How wonderful to see the plays in tandem.  Patty Gallagher is the more dim-witted Rosencrantz; Ryan Parker Knox is Guildenstern.  They inhabited the roles.  This was the best exploitation of Gallagher’s outstanding physical theater skills ever.  

University of Arizona Repertory Theater
Ooops, we did it again.  Cabaret, starring the U of A theater students.  They nailed it!  Excellent Master of Ceremonies and a Sally who gave her all.  The band appeared to be composed of profs – and they reveled in the swinging music.  







Reckless by Craig Lucas – Interesting, but not great, play with a dark Christmas theme.  Most memorable for split second scene changes.  All parts well-acted, but the ending was a let-down that wrapped things up a bit too neatly.