Correction please: ADAM Long--- he's an old acquaintance of mine.
Also: NPA's Young Actors Guild presents two very different plays: Pygmalion and Springs Awakenings - this weekend only at Gist Hall at HSU in Arcata -Thursday Jan 23rd through Sunday night. Pygmalion/My Fair Lady (a musical adaptation that takes place in 1930s Manhattan) starts at 5:30 each night with a matinee Sunday at 1pm and is for general audiences and is lively and lovely with comedy, song and dance, including aerial dancing. Springs Awakening, recommended for mature audiences, is a powerfully intense drama about youth and parents, sexuality and communication, life and choices and was created in the late 1890s and first produced in 1906. Springs Awakening plays at 8pm each night and there is a matinee on Saturday January 25th at 1pm. These are both full length plays and are ticketed separately, tickets will likely be available at the door but are also available in advance at Wildberries Market and Brown Bag Ticketing online. Thank you for supporting our Young Actors Guild of the Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy Charter High School in Arcata!
A credit I missed for Shrek: choral direction by Katri and Larry Pitts.
CANCELLATION: this weekend's performances of About Time at NCRT have been cancelled, due to an actor's illness, according to Exec Director Michael Thomas.
I hope it's obvious that I didn't intend to detract from anyone's experience of this play. And while feelings may be strong on this point, it is factually true that the birthday cake reveal occurs fairly early in the first act (it is in the third paragraph of the 12 graph Wikipedia summary, for instance) and it is very soon obvious that Gabe can't be "real", especially when he's "present" in Diana's consultation with Doctor Madden.
The matter of spoilers for a play that has been around for four years is debatable. The first reviewers write about it in a particular way, but even though the play is new to the North Coast, my responses to its strengths and weaknesses were predicated on the two-thirds of play in which Gabe's importance was as a powerful delusion. In the end, it is how it all plays out--and how it is played--that is most important to audiences. That Hamlet dies in the end is well known, but people still go to see it happen.
I offer some solace to those who feel the experience of others might be spoiled: not everybody who sees it will read the review before going, if they read it at all. And even those that do will probably not remember this "reveal" until presented with it during the show, as is often true of "spoilers" for movies and books,etc. (This discussion has probably done more to draw attention to Gabe's status than the review did.) And that's without counting the readers who read reviews but who never intend to see the play. There might even be those whose curiosity is piqued enough to see it because they're intrigued by the idea of a woman captivated by a delusion to such an extent that it seems physically real to her, or that the play chooses to make the delusion real to the audience in this way.
I'm glad I saw this show, before I saw this review. Just...wow.
"So while the review does reveal this, I don't think it detracts at all."
The original reviews from the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, and others deliberately didn't mention this reveal. These reviewers understood the power of Gabe's reveal.
What I don't understand is why these reviewers were able to see the same importance our cast sees.
Jonathan is correct. The exact amount of time he has been dead and the full explanation is not revealed until the end of the 2nd act. It's implied somewhat but the complete story doesn't come to light until much later. I realize now that's probably what Jonathan meant by "It isn't explained properly until the end of the 2nd act". These are plot points that are hinted at throughout until the full explanation, which, if we're doing our jobs, the audience is piecing together as the show progresses.
As mentioned, the first 7 numbers allow the audience to believe Gabe is a living member of the family. And unless I'm mistaken, the fact that he died as an infant isn't revealed till the 4th to last song. That information is in your FIRST paragraph. Glad you don't think it detracts Bill, most people I've spoken to disagree adamantly, as do all but one of the reviewers found on the first page of Google hits for "next to normal review", most of whom actually imply that he is alive.
That last comment was by Andrea Zvaleko. I didn't mean to be anonymous behind my user name.
While it is relatively early in the show that we learn of Diana's delusions, (Jonathan misspoke), it is definitely not as early as 15 minutes. There are seven full length songs beforehand, with lyrics are structured to make the audience believe Gabe is alive. I feel the composer/writer did not intend for the audience to know until the birthday cake and I have honestly been a little heartsick that this was exposed. It's a moment that is supposed to take the audience's breath away. It's the moment when the atmosphere shifts from cautiously lighthearted to dark in one, quick moment. I do really appreciate the positive spin of the review, and have very much appreciated prior reviews, I just wish less detail was exposed.
Gabe as illusion isn't explained until the end of the second act? That's the end of the play. Gabe as an illusion is made clear in the first fifteen minutes or so (the birthday cake scene), and is hardly the crucial plot point that the Bruce Willis character was in that movie. In fact the dramatic power of Diana's illness depends on knowing pretty early that Gabe is an illusion. Her difficulties in letting go of the illusion is partly what makes Gabe insist he is "real." So while the review does reveal this, I don't think it detracts at all. Especially if audience members know it before the end of the second act.
In M. Night Shyamalan's new movie, now in theaters, Haley Joel Osment sees dead people. The story follows his relationships with his mother the various apparitions he interacts with. Then there's Bruce Willis, a child psychologist who was actually dead the entire time.
So you should know going in that this is not exactly Anything Goes.
-a review by William Kowinski
I just can't get over this. Not knowing that Gabe died as a baby is half the dramatic interest of the show. Giving that away is colossally stupid. Zero understanding. Brain-dead.
The nature of Gabe's character is a MAJOR dramatic reveal. It isn't explained properly until the end of the 2nd act. The audience's initial confusion is fully intentional. This review gives it all away in the first paragraph, robbing audiences of one most compelling aspects of the musical. Truly embarrassing that this reviewer would fail to get that. If a movie critic included a spoiler of this magnitude, they'd get fired.
That said, it's very correct to say the production avoids the "raucous qualities" of a rock musical. It has indeed been transformed into a chamber musical, for better or worse.
To clarify, HATER is a production of the HSU Theatre, Film & Dance department.
Sorry, Josh. Stage Matters regrets the error.
It's Josh Kelly, not Mike Kelly.
You're right about these projects changing. I saw the first weekend as well as the second. "The Most Remarkable Man..." had changed significantly and "Heroine of Horseshoe Falls" was even more beautiful the second time I saw it.
Theater fans should also consider An Unscripted Evening, a two-night run of full-length improvised plays. That's right -- improvised plays. Complete pieces made up on the spot, complete with lighting and music, based off of a single audience suggestion.
In Print This Week:
Aug 28, 2014
vol XXV issue 35
The Importance of Why
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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