yes, *that* Dawn person (dawn_guy) wrote,
yes, *that* Dawn person

local theatre review: OutFest

Caution: unvarnished opinion may seem less complimentary than necessary because I point out mostly areas for improvement rather than high points.

For a few years there has been an annual queer-themed performance event at the Registry Theatre. This year is no exception, though they changed the name of the organization from Modus Vivendi to Page1 Productions and it's now called OutFest. Four shows over three days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday matinee, Saturday evening).

This year's productions were much less fraught/angsty than previous years. The pieces have gay characters central to the plot and the story lines themselves revolve around life in general without focusing intently on the hardships of being closeted, mistreated, trans, or looked down on by society. Yay representation. Gay and lesbian representation almost exclusively with no transgender characters, but that's the way the community seems to be structured (and why I tend to find local queer events somewhat uncomfortable).

It's long. Thursday's show started at 1930h and the intermission began at 2138h, after which there was a second half almost as long as the first. Some of this is trying to pack too many pieces into one show: this could easily be a semi-annual or two-event festival given the quality of material now available. Some is playwriting: every locally written piece dragged in places. Some judicious direction would have helped: the piece that came from The Producers had an unnecessary encore, some directing decisions could have been made in the environment of the plays themselves.

Highlight of the evening was a two-person scene in which we saw two characters having their first online dating experience, with excellent portrayal of tentative chemistry. The two actors are married to each other in real life but you'd not have guessed it from their performance.

One actor (David) demonstrated in several pieces that he hasn't learned how to be a supporting character. He was over the top in every play he was in, stealing the scenes that belonged to others. He was in his element as Magenta in the Rocky Horror show I saw recently and so out of place in every role last night.

One piece, centered on a presumably bisexual person who never leaves their apartment and lives online, desperately needs a dramaturge.

The musical act, an 18 year old singer/songwriter/guitarist, was out of place for profound heteronormativity. It was a strange choice given there is plenty of queer musical talent in the region.

The evening was well worth the $18 ticket price. [Side note: it's a pity local theatre in this region is largely attended by friends and family, though understandable given the calibre of most of the work.] I'd have been happier with half to a third of the material being cut before the call for auditions, especially given the doubling, tripling, etc. of roles (acting and non-acting).
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