Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is It Too Much to Ask?

Okay, they were both previews. Okay, maybe they'll fix the problems (if they even perceive them as problems). But in one week I have experienced not being able to see and not being able to hear in high-profile professional productions.

(I'm not reviewing these because that would be premature. I'm only discussing problems that seriously compromised the enjoyment of each show.)

Sutton Foster (who was the most
intelligible person on stage)
Thursday night, very early preview of The Library. Perhaps it was director Steven Soderbergh's decision; perhaps it was lighting designer David Lander's; perhaps they made the decision together. Whoever is responsible, it's a bad idea to light a show so darkly that people's faces are barely visible--or not visible at all. It wasn't until well into the play that I could even see that Michael O'Keefe was Michael O'Keefe. Obviously, previews are the time to try out ideas, and I hope they realize that this one has a negative cost (clarity)/benefit (atmosphere) ratio. (I also don't understand why they didn't sneak in more light after establishing the mood. Isn't that Lighting 101?)

Friday night, first preview of Violet, and the band frequently overpowered the singers. This is fixable, and I hope they realize it's a problem and fix it. (I was in the back of the balcony, and I don't know if the sound people ever pop up there to listen.) But even if they do fix it, there are still some serious enunciation issues. Violet is a wonderful show; it deserves to be heard.

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