The Great Plotnik

Friday, April 19, 2013

Category Three

Driving to Shmerkeley last night, stalled in the merging bridge traffic, as BMWs flew by, one after the other, careening into Plot's lane at the last possible second, Plot and Duck came up with this Order of Preference, as applies to shows we are about to see:

(1) Short and Entertaining
(2) Long and Entertaining
(3) Short and Boring
(4) Long and Boring

Sometimes you get a hybrid, like the other night at Theatreworks, where Act One was such a drudgery that if Plotnik hadn't been seeing the show for free, and felt obliged to stay for the whole show in order to write an accurate review (and if Ducknik would not tie him to his chair after his twelfth squirm and seventh glance at his watch), he would certainly have bolted for the car at the intermission. But then the show took off in Act Two and the eternal question arose: "Doesn't anybody use an editor any more?" 

We call this

(5) Long But Worth the Slog.

Since plays rarely have intermissions anymore, (2), (4) and (5) have almost been eliminated, except for famous playwrights. Last night we saw a (3), written by an Austrian playwright that we suppose is famous in theater circles, which is a little like saying The Best Fish Tacos in Beverly Hills. Plotnik had never heard of him. The play was like Ionesco Meets Your Middle School Acting Recital.

How Much Can We Overact? Let Me Count the Ways.

A Greek Chrous made up of firemen? With hoses?

But at least it was relatively short. Ducknik was the one looking at her watch this time. 

When you leave a show like this one, in a theater you enjoy most of the time, and you know you are going to be forced to file a dubious review, you tend to be silent. When Plot is not talking, Duck knows he hated the show. When Duck is not talking, Plot knows she felt the same. They didn't say a word until after the Street Spirit guy.

By the way, what is with the Street Spirit? Is this an East Bay Street Sheet? They look like the same paper, offered for sale by the same folks but The Street Spirit has the front page in color! And what happened to that guy with the amazing, deep basso voice, who we've seen out in front of Berkeley Rep, before and after each show, for at least five years?

Where was he last night? Hope he's OK.


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