Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review of The Petrified Forest at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Petrified Forest and it was at Strawdog Theatre. The Petrified Forest is about this girl named Gabby (Caroline Neff) whose father (Ted Hoerl) runs this restaurant, and she is one of the waitresses. She wants to go to Paris because they have cool, amazing sights there, but there is this boy named Boze (Shane Kenyon) who kind of likes her who is a football player. She kind of likes him, but she also likes this writer named Squier (Paul Fagen) who comes into the restaurant. She likes him because he's been to Paris and she wants to go to Paris. And I can't blame her for wanting to go to Paris because I have been and it is one of the beautifulest places in the world. I think she wants to live there really because there are civilized people there. They dance in the streets. That is actually what she says.

So there is this scene where Boze is protecting Gabby from Duke Mantee (Jamie Vann). Duke Mantee is the criminal and they are running away because they had just killed a lot of people. And the police are running after them. And everybody is saying like, "Let's go," but they are waiting for Duke Mantee's girlfriend, and he wants to see his girlfriend. And when he is protecting her, Boze gets shot and there is lots of blood spraying from his hand. His hand it like completely red with blood. I thought it was creepy and awesome.

Duke Mantee is almost completely bad, but I think he likes Gabby. I don't think he like has a crush on her. I just think he likes her. I think Duke kind of wants something to do while he is waiting for his girlfriend: like shooting people, being mean, talking to Gramp (Walter Brody), and eating. While Duke is eating his food, this guy named Pyles (Travis Porchia) comes in and keeps saying "Hi, brother" to Joseph (Brandon Saunders), the driver for the rich people (Jim Poole and Janice O'Neill). Joseph and Pyles are both African American characters and are both not treated equally as the people that they work for. Pyles kind of feels sorry for Joseph because he doesn't feel like he's treated as equal with the rich people he works for. But Duke Mantee treats Pyles like he is just a pile of nothing. He treats him worse than his other employees because he has a different color skin than everybody else in his crew. Pyles seemed nicer than the rest of the crew that were always pointing guns at people. He wasn't always pointing guns at people, he was talking to people and being funny and talking to his "brother."

So Gabby was kissing Boze, and Squier came in. And they were talking about how he wanted to be buried in the Petrified Forest, and he was talking about how he was a writer, and she said, "I've done a few drawings, but they aren't that good." But he turned out really liking them. When he sees the pictures, it shows us that she's really good at expressing her emotions by drawing. You hope that she turns out going to Paris with Squier because that is what she wants and nobody is letting her do that.

Squier makes a bad decision. It is a very scary decision, and I don't think he really should have done it because it took away part of his world. He should have just married Gabby, and then when he died she would get the money still. I have no real idea why he did it--maybe because he wanted her to get to go to Paris that second, or sooner rather than later. Squier kind of wants to be like Cyrano because he gets badly hurt and dies. But in Cyrano he does not want to die and in this he does want to die. Squier wants Gabby to be happy, and he wants to die knowing that she loves him like Cyrano knows that Roxanne loves him. It makes the end seem touching when Gabby recites Squier's favorite poem that she recited to him when he first got there.

Since I am a girl of only 7 1/2, I do not know anything about true romance. I know about being kissed on the cheek, because that has happened to me, but I don't know anything about being romantically involved. Even for grownups, it is a pretty confusing play, because nobody knows why he didn't choose to be a happy family for a while. I know about how Romeo and Juliet works. Romeo kills himself because he thinks Juliet is dead. But she isn't dead, and she wakes up, and then she kills herself because she can't live without Romeo. The Petrified Forest is a good play; it is an awesome play. But if you are a child it is kind of hard to understand Squier's decision. But everything else is pretty understandable. Like this football player has a crush on a girl named Gabby, and then this writer comes, and then she tells him about how she wants to go to Paris, and then this bad guy comes, and then it turns into total destruction. It is really not a children's play. It is a grownup's play, but I don't mind thinking about things that are confusing, but not so confusing that you are like "what's happening? I don't understand a thing he's saying!" I can handle, "I don't understand what this means; I don't know why he made that decision" because it makes a mystery for you to solve after the play is done. And I really like the mystery.

People who would like this show are people that like mystery, romance, poetry, and Cyrano. It is a very interesting play. I liked it a lot because it kind of made me see through a whole new window in the world. You can make a bad decision, but other people seem to think it is a good decision. It is like a big pile of questions that you have to ask yourself that you have never answered a question that is even a little bit like it. After the show is finished you will feel happy, you will feel sad, you will feel mad--an assortment of different emotions, some of which I don't even remember the names to all of them. If you are young and you come to see this play, you will feel like you switched minds with your mom or your dad or the person sitting next to you because you will be able to know even more grownup things than you learn everyday. This is the end of my review, for which we twain are met.

Photos: Leigh Loftus

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