Friday, April 18, 2008
To be honest, Barcinda Forest isn't ready for review or for viewing, but they've asked for both, so I'll oblige on behalf of those who come after me. The "environmental" story by Janeen Stevens is one-dimensional and hokey (think Fern Gully, only without the animation), and Barry Gomolka's staging for Original Intent Theater -- which aims to fit the problem of producing plays on a "small, relatively inexpensive scale" -- actually causes problems. Hoyt Charles uses classical periaktoi to change scenes (a nod to their mission statement to "revisit theatrical conventions"), but the actors are the ones who have to spin them around, and the crude illustrations on them -- like fourth-grade art class -- are more distracting than revealing. And although Georgien's costuming for the blue jay, deer, wolves, and spirits of the forest is color-coded, only one of the actors actually attempts at the physicality of that animal (Johnny Ferro): the rest just look like humans standing around in clothes with leaves or boas stitched on them. Finally, the choice to have the animals speak in blank verse and the two men -- land-developing Cash Cutter and his innocent, journalist son, Paul -- in prose is a good one, but one that requires precision and smoothness from the actors. Here, the two worlds -- animal and human -- don't clash so much as they bleed together, and that's why Barcinda Forest is rough.