Monday, June 30, 2014

Review of Assassins by Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Assassins. It was directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith. The book was by John Weidman and the music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim. The music direction was by Kory Danielson. It was about all the assassins of presidents getting together and Booth (Eric Lindahl) was basically the leader of them all. There was a Proprietor (Jeff Meyer) who was at this booth (ba-dump shh, get it?) and was selling guns and telling people to come and shoot a president. And then they take his advice and go to shoot a president. I really liked this show. I thought that it was very sad but at the same time very scary but at the same time sort of funny. I think that this show is educational and it also makes you kind of realize what it was like to be those people. Some of them do it because they are crazy and some of them do it because no one pays attention to them and some of them do it for love which is not exactly love and some of them do it because they have a stomachache. Some of them do it because they don't feel like the president is doing enough for their people. It is okay to write a mean letter to the president saying I think you need to work more on these issues because you are making me angry, but you should not just go and decide to kill them.

I really liked the John Wilkes Booth song. I thought it was very very very catchy. I even want to download it on iTunes. I thought the Balladeer (Cole Doman) was a great singer because his voice was just perfect for this. It was kind of a country song. He seemed not sympathetic to any of the assassins at all because of the tone in his voice. I also liked how it told a lot about John Wilkes Booth. I know some about him and his life and this made me learn some new things about him as well as see the things I already knew reenacted. After you see the play, you don't like Booth even more because he is basically the leader of all this and he basically makes everyone come and shoot a president. I think the actor did an amazing job; he reminded me of Jafar from Aladdin. He was very evil but he seemed very honest and was good at tempting people to kill presidents. He was the first one to actually do it.

I had never heard of Guiteau (Greg Foster) before but he seems like a very scary person if I met him on the street because of the way he looks at you with this kind of broad smile like he's known you for ages. I think the actor did a great job with that. He wanted to be ambassador to France and he thought he was one of the most famous authors even though he wasn't a very famous author. I've never read his book. It could have been great, but he was too much of an optimist. He was a optioptimist. He thought everything was going to be great, but actually it is not great. He kills Garfield and is hanged.

I felt very sympathetic to Zangara (Alex Heika) because he always had this stomachache and he had tried everything to get rid of it, but nothing worked. I thought the actor did a great job with the accent. I think that Zangara felt like no one ever appreciated him and that he was alone. The song made that shown because all these people were like, "Thank goodness I was there to save Roosevelt." But he was like "I wasn't there to save Roosevelt, but I tried to kill him and then I didn't get any attention." But then he got attention from the police!

Byck (Jason Richards) is one of the characters that you feel the most sympathetic for. His hobby is basically to talk to people through tapes and tell them to write more love songs. Then he tells this guy on the the tape they will know about him soon. That made me realize that all he wants is to be famous. He just doesn't know what he's doing; he doesn't realize what he is getting into. Me and my mom looked on the internet and saw that he shot a pilot and copilot on the plane so then he could crash it into the White House and try to kill Nixon. They don't tell you that in the musical, though, so he just seems like a helpless guy.

There were three people who did the assassination for Love: Fromme (Allison Hendrix)., Czolgosz (Patrick Byrnes) who was in love with Emma Goldman (Neala Barron) and Hinckley (Michael Potsic) who was in love with a movie star. They each wanted to impress the people that they were in love with. You don't feel as sorry for the guy who actually kills the president (Czolgosz) because he seems like he is more evil because he is more smart. Hinckley just seems kind of mental. He doesn't know this woman but he knows he is in love with her, which is kind of like a Disney movie when they meet and fall in love as soon as they lay eyes on one another. Only this was even a badder way to start a relationship because they haven't even met but he knows he is in love with her because of her beauty.

I thought that both of the girls seemed not insane-asylum crazy. Not like they would just kill anyone. But they still seemed crazy but I understood why Fromme did it, sort of: because she missed her boyfriend and thought he would be proud of her when he got out of jail. I think that Allison seemed into her role in a good way. She made me believe she wanted to murder someone. Moore (Barron) was a mother, a pet owner, and an attempted assassin of Ford too. Three of my favorite things--except for the assassin part. I thought it was funny when Moore accidentally shot her dog. It was not a real dog; it was just such an unrealistic dog that it was hilarious. Then she seemed so unfazed that she just shot her dog; like it was an everyday experience. I think both of them have funniness to them because they are both so bad at trying to kill someone because they are so clueless. You couldn't actually laugh at them if they actually did kill Ford because that would make them worse people. They were amazing comic relief.

The last president assassination in the play is the assassination of President Kennedy. This is the only one that is not really realistic because Booth comes to his work and tells Oswald (Nathan Gardner) to go and shoot Kennedy. And then everyone who has ever assassinated or attempted to assassinate a president comes and is like, "Please assassinate the president…for us" because the other people who did the exact same thing were all connected and wanted the same thing: they wanted basically another friend. It is very farfetched, I have to say that, but it kind of makes you happy for some reason because they are people who wanted to have friends, who wanted to be noticed, who wanted to be a part of something. And then the assassinations of the presidents actually did something. It doesn't make them seem worthwhile, but they got what they wanted. They are not alone.

I thought that the live music was an awesome aspect of this. It really makes the experience more alive for you. I like the idea that it was basically a run-down carnival. I think the carnival kind of represented the assassins; they are run-down too. I liked the ladder part of the set (designed by Zachary Gipson) and how there was basically a little platform there so it was basically like the place people wanted to go. Some people made it and some people didn't. I also liked how there was this Ferris wheel with the presidents' faces on it. That was basically like the counting down of who had been assassinated. And then when people didn't assassinate there was a big AAANNN!

People who would like this show are people who like America, complicated relationships, and unrealistic pet deaths. People should definitely go see this show because it is educational, the singing is amazing, and it helps you understand what it would be like to be one of these people. This was different than any other musical I've seen. I felt very involved with the characters and like I was actually reliving these people's stories. You feel kind of scared at the end; if you were going to run for president, and you see this show, you would not want to be president. But it is still a great experience because it is like the best way to learn history.

Photos: Joshua Albanese Photography

1 comment:

J Kingsley said...

Another fantastic read! Ada should hold seminars that are mandatory for all other theater critics, EVERYWHERE. No one breaks it down like Ada. :)