Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

01 July 2007

Theatre Diary from the Best Coast

I stole this "best coast" thing from Danny. I'm kinda liking it. Especially because it covers all of the places I stayed while I was in California/Nevada. Anyway, I thought I would talk about the theatre I saw while I was in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I saw a show tonight called The Waiting Place. It was a new play by an FSU student named Sarah Mattern and I liked it fairly well. A little too... neat for my tastes, but pretty good.

In Los Angeles, my favorite of the theatre pieces I saw was Tracy Lett's Bug. (Yes, the same as the movie. I'm not sure how it works on celluloid, but it's gangbusters on stage.) It was put on by Lost Angels and it was fucking superb. No lie. The acting is excellent. Peter (Andrew Elvis Miller) is a kind of drifter and he shacks up with Agnes (Amy Landecker, who was in the original off-Broadway production of the show). Then they start finding bugs in the Oklahoma City motel room where they live. The dialogue is fresh and funny and the staging of the show is nothing short of brilliant. The bugs are in their skin, see? So Agnes and Peter need to get the bugs out of their skin. You do the math. So Agnes and Peter cut at their own bodies in an effort to get those bugs out. There is also about 30 minutes of nudity. The stuff that goes on on this stage is mind-boggling, and it's done so well that it's all totally believable. And the acting is so good that I believed every minute of this show. Miller and Landecker (who should both be nominated for Ovation Awards) are supported by Andrew Hawkes and Laura Niemi who are also absolutely excellent. (Hawkes's might actually be my favorite performance in the show.) Bug is also skillfully directed. The director's name is Scott Cummins and he should be getting tons of work. This is a really great show. Bug has been extended until July 8th, so if you can still see it, you definitely should go. Seriously. Don't miss this show if you can see it.

After Bug, I saw Federico Moreno Torroba's zarzuela Luisa Fernanda. which I guess I already talked about here and Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare's production of As You Like It. Sigh. I hate that play. As usual, of course, I find Lisa Wolpe to not be a very inspired director. And did I mention what a campy actor she is? But I've already discussed it in detail here so I don't need to go into it all again.

And I saw Tony-winner Jersey Boys, which isn't really a musical so much as it is a revue of the Four Seasons' music done by a really good cover band.

I was in Las Vegas for three nights, though, and I saw three shows. Thanks to Christina, Isaac and Ryan who got me (and in some cases a whole bunch of my friends) into all three shows absolutely for free.

Mystère (at Treasure Island) is classic Cirque du Soleil: lots of acrobatics, skillful clowning, amazing acts and a sort of nineties sensibility. I totally loved this show and was wowed by all of the acts. It's fantastic.
(at the MGM Grand) is more of a martial arts thing. I liked it, but it's not so much a display of acrobatic prowess as it is a show about the set. The theatre itself took my breath away. There are all of these catwalks extending into the house. They're lit up and absolutely beautiful. As you sit in your seat waiting for the show to start, performers begin to swing and repel from the catwalks over the audience. And then there's this platform that is the stage and it raises and lowers and rotates into a completely vertical position. And all without making sound. It's extraordinary. And clearly cost a fortune.
My favorite show, though, was Zumanity (at NY NY). It's about sex and sexuality. It has lots of cool acrobatics, all of which have to do with sexuality. And it's so queer as well. The body types are not all typical and the couplings are not all heteronormative. I'm seeing it again the next time I'm in Vegas without question. Maybe twice. I loved this show. And I am hoping to be able to write about it. It's so interesting and cool. And filled with nudity. (And you all know how I feel about nudity.)