Saturday, January 22, 2011

Three Viewings: Theatre Anew San Francisco: Talented Cast Provide Ample Rewards

Jeffrey Hatcher’s literary intensity invariably is rooted in the psychic pain of his characters. That trademark style is manifest in this tripartite exploration of loss and longing.

As a series of demanding monologues, it’s imperative that the actors possess consummate acting skill. They must be able to grasp the intent behind the words to give them the requisite depth of meaning. Thankfully, it’s readily apparent that each cast member was chosen for more than just their superb vocal intonation. They're all first-rate.

Notwithstanding the somber theme of ultimate loss, Hatcher doesn’t forsake the opportunity to entertain us and have some mischievous fun along the way. The key, then, is for the actor to practice restraint and deliver the lines for all they’re worth without anticipating the surprising denouement.

Alas, patience is a virtue that somehow got lost in translation. The benefits of a lingered phrase or timely pause cannot be overstated. They give the audience a chance to digest the full impact of what’s been said. Too often the actors appeared a bit too eager to get to the climax.

I hasten to conclude, however, that despite the dubious tempo, the show is mostly successful and the payoff(s) truly rewarding. And the ingenious idea of utilizing an actual chapel as the play’s setting wonderfully enhances the overall effect. I recommend it highly.

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