Tag: Kyle Anderson
A Clown Car Named Desire
By Brooke Breit, Punam Patel, Mike Kosinski,
Sky’s the Limit
Written/performed by Tim Baltz, Aidy Bryant, Brendan Jennings, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer and Mary Sohn
Check for half-price tickets
Shared setting not enough to unify disconnected scenes
|Appetite Theatre Company presents|
|The Dining Room|
|Written by A. R. Gurney
Directed by Basia Kapolka
at Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton (map)
through Nov. 20 | tickets: $15 | more info
Reviewed by Oliver Sava
Their dining room’s a place where children celebrate birthdays, wives work on dissertations, and matrons fuss over fingerbowls. Through a series of short vignettes, A. R. Gurney’s The Dining Room chronicles generations of WASP history through social interactions in the dining room, creating a portrait of privileged America over the course of the 20th-century. Six actors play a large cast of characters, and are required to change age, status, and dialect depending on the scene – yet bizarre creative choices detract from the actual events on stage.
From the very start of the show it’s unclear what tone director Basia Kapolka is trying to capture. A creepy whispering voice asks patrons to turn off their cellular phones before the show, and the whispering continues throughout the production, repeating choice lines from the preceding scenes. When it becomes evident that there is no horror aspect to the show, this becomes extremely distracting, and diminishes the energy at the end of scenes. Because of the disconnected nature of the play, the emotional flow from scene to scene is essential to keeping the show interesting, and the whispering breaks that momentum.
Another strange choice is to have the entire cast costumed in early 1900’s period wear, which causes confusion when the scenes are set in more contemporary times. When there are no visual clues as to when a scene is set, it would be extremely helpful if the clothes could reflect the shifts in some way. Instead, the actors have to deal with restrictive layers of clothing and hairstyles that oftentimes trump the comedy of the actual play. Why wig an actress when you don’t have to? And the turn of the century Snooki poof should be a no-no anytime, anyplace.
Appetite Theatre’s The Dining Room is a production in need of serious polish. The actors still need to get more comfortable in their environment if they are going to convincingly portray people that have used that dining room for years. In general, the energy of the production could be much higher, which would help bring out the chemistry between the romantic pairs while heightening the dramatic moments. If more time was spent on building actual relationships instead of odd creative decisions, The Dining Room could be a much different place.