Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review of Orlando at Court Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Orlando. It was at the Court Theatre. It was a story about a boy that turns into a girl, and it was also about how you can love women even if you are a woman. It took place in a lot of time periods; to be precise, the Elizabethan, the 19th century, and the 20th century. Orlando is mostly thirty for the play even though she/he has lived through all these different centuries. At the very beginning he is sixteen. There is a male chorus; they played different characters. The director, Jessica Thebus, made them play some women parts too because this was a play about men and women put together and how they connect to each other. It is based on a book by Virginia Woolf. She wanted to tell people that you can marry people that are the same sex and that people can feel like boys if they are girls and feel like girls if they are boys. What happened to Orlando couldn't really happen in real life because she is alive for centuries. Most people are only alive one century.

The Queen Elizabeth was played by Lawrence Grimm. I thought he did a good job playing the Queen because he was a boy and the character was a girl. He was so funny. The Queen was like "kiss me," and then Orlando kissed her and she said "That's my boy!" I felt kind of sorry for her when Orlando kissed the other girl.

There was a scene where Orlando was in the bed with the Queen. And the chorus was outside of the bed and said, "And the flower bloomed and fa-ded. The sun came up and back down again." That was funny because they were like dancing at the same time. Their arms were up, and they were on their tippy toes, and when they said faded they put their arms down.

In the book they said that the girl that Orlando was supposed to marry (Thomas J. Cox) was dropping as many handkerchiefs as she had but Orlando would only pick up Sasha's handkerchief. In the play, she threw so many handkerchiefs and said "Orlando! I'm dropping my handkerchiefs! Will you pick them up! Hellooo!" That was how I imagined it in the book except I did not think it was going to be played by a boy.

Sasha was played by Erica Elam. Sasha was a Russian princess. I love how she was like "Translation: Will you please honor me by passing the salt." She was always speaking in French but she had a Russian accent. She did a very very good Russian accent. She was going to marry Orlando but then she went away on a ship with sailors played by the chorus. She should have stayed with Orlando but maybe her father was worried about her and she had to go see him. Maybe it was for a good reason.

When the big flood happens there was a couple laying in bed with millions of eating utensils. I love that part because it is so hilarious.

There was a scene of Othello by Shakespeare in the play that Orlando saw. I thought that it was a very good adaptation of Othello. And who played Othello was Kevin Douglas. Orlando was thinking that he had murdered Sasha with his own hands. But he did not. He was just imagining. He was imagining it because Othello is about a man who suffocates his wife because of the handkerchief but she did not really give it to another man that she is actually not in love with. Othello feels really bad and kills himself.

The actor that played Orlando was named Amy J. Carle. When she was a boy she just wore her hair up in a bun--very easy. I thought she did a good job at playing a female and male part--even though they were the same part. There was a flies game that they played that the Duke that was playing with Orlando (Cox) had to give money to her because whoever had the flies on the lump of sugar that they thought got the money. So it was like gambling. She was like "Ah! Ah! A fly!" and then she got his whole entire fortune. But then he was like, "I can forgive you with my charmingness." And she was like, "Oh no. Not again!" I felt that when she actually speaked to us (not just speaking to a character) it was cool because it made you feel like she didn't just care about the people in the story, she cared about the people watching.

The scene where she changes into a woman was a cool part because the chorus said "And she stands in front of all of us in complete nakedness." You saw her behind a curtain, but you knew she was naked. It tells you that she is a woman. It was not surprising because I had read that part of the book.

In the play, the chorus said "And he did what any young man would do." And Orlando says "King, please send me off to Constantinople" because he wants to get away from the Archduchess (Cox). And he does get away from the Archduchess--for a century. Most people would think that was good, but not Orlando because she lives more than a century. She changes into a woman and comes straight back to London and she meets the Archduchess and then he turns into the Archduke. He revealed "A man in black," and then said: "I was in love with you when I saw your picture, but I knew I could not marry you because you were my same sex." Then he turns into like a hilarious pose. Orlando is not impressed at all. The Archduke did like a lot of teeheees. The chorus said: "with an unmentionable number of tee heeing and haw hawing." She said, "Have you ever shot a Tiger?" And he said, "No, but I shot an albatross." Like duh. It is much easier to kill an albatross than a tiger. If he had shot a tiger, I would be like, I will marry you. Because that would be very useful.

Now let's talk about the Captain (Kevin Douglas). When Orlando is a woman she meets a Captain, and he says, let me give you the smallest slice of corned beef, just the size of your fingernail." It was funny because women's fingernails are smaller than men's. So that is a very small slice! She says, "The only thing to do was to resist or yield." And she yielded. There is a part they left out where a sailor is at the top of the mast, and he sees her ankles, and he almost falls off the mast. They didn't have anything to be a mast, and it would be kind of dangerous for the actors because they might fall and break their heads. That is why they did not put in that part.

They also left out the horrible-est character in the world--Greene. I did not like him because he wrote a horrible poem about Orlando. The playwright Sarah Ruhl left him out because I think he was such a bad character and she just didn't want to make people feel too too too bad for Orlando.

Now let's talk about Shelmerdine. Adrian Danzig was Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, Esq. And everyday at breakfast, he told Orlando his name. And she is like, what's your name again? He is the husband of her. He is like "I think you are a boy," and she says "You are a girl." And then they said, "But we have to prove it," and they kissed. And it looked like they were going to wrestle. And I have no idea how that would help. The kissing helped in that time because girls could not marry girls and boys could not marry boys. Now they can. Their relationship was like a really good relationship because they liked the same things. And there was this scene where she read his mind about what he did, and where he lived, and what he liked.

The set was designed by Collette Pollard. I though the set was cool because they could move around the set. So they could use the bed as a lot of things: a ship, a bed, and a flower bloomed and faded place. It was really elegant. The costumes were made by Linda Roethke. I thought they were cool because when they said "And it was the Elizabeth times" they put on ruffle-necks. The costumes had lots of velcro and zippers--no buttons because most of the people were different parts easily. And buttons are hard to get on and off. They had different time period outfits because Orlando lived through so many different centuries.

People who would like this play are people who would like a long amount of kissing, and people that like boys and girls would like this play. You should expect nakedness. You should expect some funniness and some sadness. I laughed twenty five times out loud. When they did Othello, I felt very moved. And when Sasha left I felt very very sorry for Orlando. This play is more hilarious than sad though. I recommend that you should read some of the book before you see the play but not all of it because I think people would like the surprises. You should go see this because it is a very good adaptation of Orlando.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review of The Master and Margarita at Strawdog Theatre Company

I went to this play, and it was called Master and Margarita. It was at Strawdog Theatre Company, and it was a very creepy play. There were so many characters in it that I couldn't keep track of all of them at the same time. The play was fun, heartbreaking, and silly. And there were a lot of scary parts in it. People's heads got chopped off. It was so fun because there were these scary parts and these not scary parts. I thought it was great.

There was a whole entire magic thing, and the devil Woland said at the party that he was actually not a magician--he was a devil. Devils can do magic, but most magicians cannot do real magic. They were doing magic tricks on the stage, but the devil Woland was doing actual magic. Magic tricks are not actual magic; they are just things that people believe are actual magic, but they are not. I thought the actors did a great job doing the magic tricks, and most people believed it was real magic.

Tom Hickey played the devil Woland. The devil Woland was a cool and crazy character. I don't mean like crazy like blublublublu. I mean like crazy like "I can make this hat into a marshmallow! Now I'll pull marshmallows out of this marshmallow! Now everybody can have a marshmallow!" Magic crazy. One of his eyes was blue, and one was brown. The devil looked creepy with that. He seemed to kind of be a good person but he did some things that were bad. He did stuff that was great but terrible. Like in Harry Potter. He told Master and Margarita how to live forever, and that was good. He killed somebody, and I did not like that.

The Master was played by Dennis Grimes. When he met Margarita, that was the kissing part. There was a lot of kissing. They just met and--bup a dah!--they were in love! It felt like they were in love because he picked up the flowers for her, and when you are in love you just do stuff for the person that you love. And he did a lot of cool stuff like when he said, "Your nurse is very kind, but mindless." The nurse was played by Shane Brady. I thought he was funny because he dressed up like female nurse. Everybody did know that he was not a girl because he had some of a beard, and his feet were too big for the shoes, and he had hairy legs, and he wore a wig.

Margarita was played by Justine Turner. Justine was very good when she gave him the cap--she looked very excited, like she was really going to give someone a present. Margarita was sometimes really loving The Master, like when she was helping The Master to calm down. She was the queen at the death party, and she got in return The Master. There was a scene where Margarita set Frieda (Christy Arington) free and forgave her for smothering her baby. That's how it was shown that Margarita was very kind. I did not know what smothering meant when I saw it, but now I know and it makes me feel sad. There was this part where there was this golden ointment. And it made Margarita's skin shine, and then her servant (Sarah Goeden) got it on too and came to the Devil with her pig. It is cool because it was supposed to be golden. At least Margarita wasn't all the way naked. They said take off all your clothes, but she didn't. Just some of them, luckily.

Andy Lawfer played the cat. And the cat's name was really long--Behemoth--that's a pretty long name. It kind of sounds like "be my myths" because some of the stories that The Master likes are myths. There is lots of magic in myths and in this story it was kind of a myth and kind of not myth. What was not mythical about it was that writers can write about Jesus. A giant cat named Behemoth is mythical. They named him Behemoth because he was not just a regular cat--he was like an ax-murderer cat because he cut off people's heads. He does kill all the bad guys so that makes him a hero--he's like the superhero of the story. There's nothing that he really does bad. Because he works with devil-- that's why everyone thinks he's baaaad.

Loretta Rezos, she played the prettiest servant in the world, Hella. You are great, Devil. You make great clothes for your servant! (Who really made the clothes was not the Devil; it was Joanna Melville.) I liked when she was delivering the telegrams, and it was like and back forth back forth. She just kept coming out and back in--it was cool and funny. It was like "I am coming in; here's some mail!" Out in. Out in.

Fagott was played by Danny Taylor. The silliest man in the world--but he is just a character. And he was really funny when he like does this long speech when Margarita comes to the dance, and he says "And her name must be Margarita" and it goes on and on until he finally lets her in. Fagott's make up was really weird because it had waves over his eyes like eyebrows. Aly Renee Amidei did the makeup. I think she was trying to make it look like he was supposed to not blend in so that everybody would see him except for the actors who were pretending not to see him.

Anita Deely played Azazello. She was a person that hated the Cat. She just hated the cat, and one of the lines she said to the Cat was, "I still think we should drown you." Isn't that kind of funny? She had a manly voice and she dressed in pants, boots, a bow tie, a shirt, and a mask. I think I would describe her as cool. She is a messenger for Woland. And she went to go tell Margarita to come. She came because then Margarita could do whatever she wanted, and she would be free.

The play that The Master was writing was about Pontius Pilate. The prisoner was also played by The Master. The prisoner was Jesus. Why did everybody not like the idea of a play about Jesus? Because people in that time in Russia could not have any churches. Ian Maxwell was Pilate. The first scene was hearing Pontius Pilate talking to a prisoner. You think, poor prisoner and that the play is all about Pontius Pilate and the prisoner. It just turns out to be a play about the Devil and it is not all about Pilate; that is just a play they are doing. At the end, Pilate goes to see his dog and is absolutely happy.

Ivan was played by Kyle A. Gibson, and he was the younger playwright. At the end he was having dreams about The Master and Margarita. Then sometimes he dreamed about the play that The Master wrote and he realized he liked it better than his own play. You don't like him at first, but then you start to like him because then he starts to like The Master and Margarita.

Dan Granata played Trepan. Trepan was the director and he went to Yalta. There was a funny line where all the people who worked with the devil Woland all were in Yalta, and Trepan said "Where am I?" and then all of the devil Woland's group said "You're in YALTA!" It seemed like he was on a game show, sort of. Like one that gives him Yalta as the gift.

Ron Thomas played Berlioz. He was an older writer who was a critic. He didn't seem like a critic; he seemed like an idiot. He was always with his friend Ivan except when he was dead. The audience is not supposed to like Berlioz at all. When he gets his head chopped off we all feel kind of sorry for him and grateful sort of at the same time.

There is a scene which was the dance scene. It was really cool and creepy because there were people that were all dressed up like very famous murderers that died. There was a part where Margarita flew. I thought that was amazing!! Eileen Mallary designed the dances; I thought it was cool. Before the party when Margarita came in, the devil Woland asked Behemoth that "Why should you wear a bow tie if you are not wearing trousers?" And then Behemoth says, "Cats don't wear trousers." I thought that was really funny. I loved it! There was a creepy severed head at the party. That was soooo cool and disgusting.

At the end of the play the Devil says, "I liked all of it. The only thing that I don't like is that it is not finished yet." It would be like "Then Pilate started to go and find his dog and..." and there is like this pause and it doesn't have the end yet." I thought it was kind of cool and kind of sad.

I think it should be for ages 8 and up, but I am really glad I saw it because it is such a great play. People that like severed heads and kissing and dancing and creepy people would like this play. And be prepared to think that you are never going to see The Master again, but then you see him even though he disappears for an entire half. And be prepared for talking severed heads.

Photos: Chris Ocken

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review of Barrel of Monkeys' Matinee That's Weird, Grandma!

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called That's Weird, Grandma! And the company was called Barrel of Monkeys. When you go to that theater you feel like you're in a mouse hole because it is kind of small and cute. You kind of feel like you are a mouse if you are a kid. And all the kids feel really happy because it is cozy.

The play was a matinee. If you don't know what a matinee is, you can learn it from me--ADA GREY! A matinee is watching a play in the daytime instead of watching it at night. Ta da! The differences between the matinee and the nighttime plays are that behind us there was someone screaming and crying at the matinee, more kids were at the matinee, and when we got home we didn't have to brush teeth, read books, go to bed. Nighttime is not better for the kids, but it is for me because I am a reviewer. Why, do you ask? Because those kids can't stay up that late.

They do plays written by kids, and next year because I will be seven I can write a story for Barrel of Monkeys that they might turn into a play. Sometimes they are exactly like the kids told them and sometimes they are not. I am not going to talk about all of the stories because there are eighteen stories. I am going to start with my least favorites. My least favorite I think was "The Worried Dog" because there was a lot of potty humor. The dog wanted to use the human potty, and then the owner got mad at the dog. I don't like potty humor because I just feel like it is kind of gross. Only in some circumstances when it is funny. I didn't think it was funny in this--it was grosser. And there was another one called "Untitled (Beach)" and it was about the baddest rock singers in the world. When the mom fought Hannah Montana that was kind of cool. I did not like how she was so excited about all the rock singers that I don't like. I would have been excited about Pipettes, Steven Malkmus, and Le Tigre.
Here is one that I do like. It was about chocolate. It was called "I believe That Everything Needs to be Chocolate." I liked it because it was funny because there was this girl in the middle and she said "Chocolate" whispering; it sounded like she liked chocolate. And I agree that somethings need to be chocolate--but not just chocolate. They said you can eat your own house, but that is exactly what I don't want to do because then I wouldn't have any place to live. And my house is so tall that I couldn't eat my whole entire house; I would just have a chunk of house.

"Soft Hearted Stuntman" was a short one, and it was about people trying out for a movie with Soft Hearted Stuntman in it. The person that was trying out for it said, "I can do all the things those guys can do, and i can give a hug." I thought the scene was really loving and cute.

In "Moving Into the Hotel" there were these people that moved into a hotel, and they couldn't pay that much. So then they were asked to do some stuff in the kitchen, and they put all the things in the wrong place. They left the fire on. Then they heard that a program was on the tv, so they went up to their room and watched it. Then the hotel went on fire, and they said let's go to a different hotel that is less smoke-filled. It was funny because there was a fire and they didn't even notice that a fire was on and they were watching tv. They handed stuff to each other down the line like in Looney Toons.

In "I Think People Should Not Kiss," there were all these signs that were protesting kissing. I don't think at all that people should not kiss, but I liked it anyway. There were people that had signs, and one of the people who was in the show was saying about how people should not kiss, and then someone kissed one of the actors. Then she changed her sign to not protesting kissing because she actually loved kissing.

I liked when I got to press the button this time. Before the show has to start someone has to press a button. It was my first time pressing the button. It was really fun. I got to press it with another girl. That was so great; I was like, "Wow, I get to press the button!"

I think people that would like this show would be people that like kids and they also like short stories that were written by kids. Kids themselves would love it. It is fun and cool. It is cool but not cold. When you go there you should expect some protesting and some fire and a change of stories every week. It is much better than just seeing the same ones because then you can see different stories each week. It was so great because they had great kids write the stories, and they also had grownups that really knew how to act to act them out.

Photos: Dean Ponce