Monday, May 16, 2011

Review of Watership Down at Lifeline Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Watership Down. And it was really cool because it had a lot of fights and it was all about rabbits. It was for grown-ups, but I think six-year-olds could see it if they are very brave because there are a lot of fist fights, blood effects coming up on the screen, and the black rabbit of death.

Hazel was a very smart and helpful rabbit, and he was played by Paul S. Holmquist. He was always trying to keep his little brother safe. I don't mean like younger brother, I mean like runt brother. I really liked his part because he was kind. You think he was dead, but then he is actually okay. He starts out just being Hazel, and at the end he turns into Hazelrah which means King Hazel or leader Hazel. Paul Holmquist also played El-ahrairah. El-ahrairah is a legendary rabbit. There are lots of stories about him. Paul played both the parts because they both were almost the same: they were both rabbits; they both wanted to save their friends.

Chelsea Paice played Clover. Clover was very nice, and she was always trying to keep people safe--like when she was trying to get her friends to go live with Hazel with her. And she was the one that didn't get put in the cage. She also played Vinca who got killed at the very beginning. I don't think that was the owl getting Vinca. The black rabbit was the rabbit of death. The black rabbit takes her to the owl, and the owl gets her, and the black rabbit takes her away and turns her into a ghost. Vinca wanted to go anywhere her brother Blackberry was going. And then she dies. Then she didn't go anywhere her brother was going because she was dead. I was very sad for her.

Christopher M. Walsh played Bigwig. He was in love with Hyzenthlay, and he was told to watch over her while the others were gone because she was a troublemaker for them but not for Bigwig. Bigwig was fuh-larious. When he was trying to to sound disappointed he actually sounded very funny. When Hyzenthlay said "Don't forget to say that you were disappointed" he actually was disappointed, so it was very easy to say that he was disappointed because he was. He was disappointed that he couldn't make babies with her because it wasn't her mating time yet. He also was part of the Owsla in the first warren. He runs away with Hazel.

Mandy Walsh played Hyzenthlay. And she was in love with Bigwig. She wanted to run away so she could have babies. She had so many babies to take care of when she ran away. All the young ones were hidden and luckily none of the young ones died during the fights.

Scott T. Barsotti, he played Fiver. He can smell danger, and he's a runt. Hazel is his brother. He is scary at some parts. There was a scary part when he screams because Hazel they think is dead. He could smell danger at the warren, that something dangerous was going to happen. And he was right. Some believed him and some of them didn't.

Silver was played by Bryson Engelen. Silver was the cousin of Threarah. Threarah is the leader of the first warren. He was part of the Owsla for a month. Silver wore really funny goggles that I think were swimming goggles. I think the funniest person in how he moved around was Silver. He moved more like a rabbit than the others but none of them really dressed like a rabbit. Silver brings up the idea of rabbits fighting cats. I think he is obsessed with rabbits defeating cats. He thinks rabbits would give him a reward and make him a leader if he fighted a cat. I actually think some Rabbits could fight cats--like Hazel and Silver. They do once.

Dave Skvarla played Cowslip and General Woundwort. General Woundwort had a very creepy costume. He had like this scratch over one eye that showed that he always fights things. He wanted everybody to stay where he lived, and he wanted Bigwig to be killed. He's one hundred percent horrible. Cowslip was less scary, and he was nicer. It was awesome when Dave Skvarla played both the parts because then he got to play a good character and a bad character. Sometimes my dad gets to do that, so I thought it was cool. It tells you that they are actors that have spunk. Paul S. Holmquist had spunk too.

Jesse Manson playacted Dandelion and Kehaar. Dandelion was like the great storyteller. He told the stories about El-ahrairah. I loved Kehaar. Kehaar is a bird that all the rabbits like. He helps them by finding the house for them and by telling them the ways across the river. He was really funny, and his voice was hilarious. I loved when he said " I will go and mate on big water." I love how he called it "big water" when it was just an ocean, I think. And there was another funny part where he said,"and little baby bigwigs run away." I think he knew who was going to get married.

Chris Daley played Blackberry. Blackberry is one of Fiver's and Hazel's friends. He's very smart. He has a lot of smart ideas, like carrying Fiver over the water on a board. He is the only one with a sister. The others have brothers or no siblings at all. He is very sad when his sister dies. His sister was very smart too--she was smart to go with Blackberry because he's smart.

Strawberry was acted by Eduardo Garcia. Strawberry's wife gets killed. It is very sad when his wife gets killed, but you don't see it happen. Strawberry comes with Hazel and Fiver to the next warren because his wife is dead.

Captain Holly was acted by Matt Engle. He wanted to take Bigwig to jail, but then he turns to their side because almost all the rabbits at the first warren had died. Trying to save the other rabbits, he fights General Woundwort. It makes you think you like him and then you are sad when he dies.

Matt Kahler played Threarah. Threarah is the leader in the first warren. In the first warren he was calling Hazel Walnut. Fiver thinks a bad thing is coming. And Threarah is like "Yes, very upsetting" in not a very upsetting way at all--he didn't actually sound upset. He was supposed to sound not upset. It was hilarious. You kind of like him sometimes but sometimes you kind of hate him. And when he dies you feel sad because he is dead.

The costumes by Aly Renee Amidei were very cool. I expected them to be more rabbit-ish. It wouldn't be as much grown-up-ish if they had rabbit ears and bunny tails. It would be more for kids. The costumes told you what personality the rabbits had. Blackberry had a little bow tie and glasses, which made him look like he was smart. And Hazel's pants had holes in them, which showed you that he wanted to protect all his friends. I thought it was good that they told you about the personality instead of that they were rabbits. Joanna Iwanikcka did the masks. I loved the masks! The skeleton masks were awesome. The helmet masks were really appropriate because they had ears and they were rabbittish. El-ahrairah and his helper Rabscuttle wore masks--then it made them look more legendary. That's how you could tell they were legendary--they were wearing masks.

Wenhai Ma did the projections. They were really cool because the black rabbit of death looked like one enormous bloody mouth. They used projections for places that they go, like the barn, and they used them also for blood--like blood came up on the screen when someone got hurt. We thought it was very creepy when blood came up on the screen. I thought there would be blood effects instead of blood coming up on the screen. It was scarier. It was good that it was scarier because it was a very sad and scary book.

People that like rabbits and legends would like this play. Whenever it was funny, everybody in the audience would always laugh. And when it you thought Hazel was dead, everybody cried--but silently. People should see it if they like a combination of funny and sad and scary. It is a grown-up play and a kid play because there are some funny parts that kids like (like "big water" and "baby bigwigs")and things that grown-ups like, like wondering what is going to happen next.

Photos: Suzanne Plunkett

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review of The Neo-Futurists Present: Performing Tonight: Liza Minnelli's Daughter

I saw a play and it was called Performing Tonight: Liza Minnelli's Daughter. It was at the Neo-Futurists. And it was really awesome. It was about Mary Fons and how she thought she was Liza Minnelli's daughter and about not wanting to be in a play. It was about how hard it is to act while you are writing a play too.

In the first scene Mary wore a robe, and I didn't think it was an actual costume because she was telling stuff that actually happened to her and because it wasn't after a dance number. She might have been dreaming that she did this play or she was just talking to you as Mary Fons about stuff that happened to her in real life. I got that idea because she was wearing the robe. She is telling you how she made this play because she wanted people to know that she was actually Liza Minnelli's daughter and nobody believed her.

The costumes were really cool. Why didn't she wear the white one they were talking about? I don't think she was ever going to wear the white one in any play at all. At the end, her clothes were regular. When I am just wearing regular clothes, I feel lonely because it makes me feel like I am not Ada Grey. I am just a girl wandering around. I am not somebody; I'm nobody. She looked like a person that didn't do any plays at all. You feel sad for her because she is sad about the play and thinks nobody would like it. The clothes were really Liza-ish.

There are these two guys that are her assistants. They like worked for her all day--they were like double assistants. Their names were Donnell Williams and Joseph Schupbach. I've seen them in Barrel of Monkeys. I think she put these characters in her play because I think Liza Minnelli had assistants that were like them. There was this funny part that Donnell and Joseph did that was called "crazy dad." Her actual dad was the person that was the crazy dad. There was a marker on stage instead of the actual dad. But her dad was not a marker in real life. It was funny because he kept saying "I'm crazy dad!" Whenever crazy dad leaves he goes and says "Crazy!"

It was really funny when Joseph was like, "How about we can sing, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' and then they turn it on and Joseph is lip-syching and it is really hilarious because he sounds exactly like her--because he is lip-synching.

There was a little letter in the roses that said: "Donnell, I think you will be a great Judy." And Mary comes out and looks at it. And Donnell looks like Judy Garland because he was all in a dress and he talked like a girl kind of. Judy Garland is very mean to Mary. Judy Garland was actually a very good actress but a very snotty girl in this play.

Mary tells a story about her medical problems. It was really sad. I felt sorry for her. She could not have a baby. Liza Minnelli could not have a baby either, so that is one of the reasons that Mary thought she was her daughter. It was so weird because she said Liza Minnelli can't have a baby either--then how could she be her mother? She is kind of turning on her own self.

My favorite dance scene was the one where they wore bowler hats. They danced really cool. They did like hip hip hip and at the end she fell back in the chair. Literally almost fell off the chair--but she just like fell back off the chair. Her feet were still on it, but her head was tipped back like all the way. There was this girl in American in Paris, and there was the part where these two men were looking in the mirror, and it was like, oh I know that girl, and it showed a picture of a girl dancing like Liza Minnelli's daughter in this play.

Donnell, Joseph, and Mary are watching a movie. There is this girl that Mary says to the audience, "At first I thought that girl was a blow-up doll." And I agreed because 1) she actually looked like a moving blow-up doll that was a robot and 2) she looked like the mermaid in the-pink-panther-in-love-with-the-mermaid sculpture by Jeff Koons. If you want to see that you can go to the MCA.

There was a funny scene and before she got drunk she said "We are going to party after the show." And then when she wanted to forget all her problems, then she said, when she wanted to get drunk: "It's party time!" And then everybody went up and danced. And I danced too. I was kind of nervous because neither of my parents came out. Mom didn't come out because she was holding the drink. It was a prop that Mom was holding that was a drink. Someone gave it to her because they needed the prop for when Mary got drunk later. Dad didn't come out because he was hot and he was wearing so much stuff. So Donnell helped me feel good about going up on stage by coming up with me.

The scene where she drank a lot--that was kind of a little creepy. I was actually a little scared because I thought she was actually going to get drunk in real life. She gets drunk and she climbs on so much stuff and is in the audience. Joseph and Donnell are telling her "We do believe you, and we can go to New York." You thought she was going to hurt somebody or shoot a gun because she was in the audience and she looked like she was going to shoot herself or something. She was so sad and angry and some people shoot themselves when they are sad and angry and drunk. She was so angry that the helpers didn't believe her that she was Liza Minnelli's daughter. If kids go to see that they will be very overwhelmed.

I GOT A DOLL! Liza Minnelli's daughter gave me the doll that looked like Liza Minnelli. She's like "Maybe I am actually not a superstar, so maybe I will give my favorite thing to you because I don't need it anymore because I am not doing the show." She was talking to me, and I am a kid, so that made it kind of moving. It was like she was talking to her very own daughter. I almost cried.

People that like Liza Minnelli, dancing, black shoes, singing, funny helpers, and playing very babyish pianos would like this play. It was fun because you get to dance and you can very much just sit back and enjoy because it is very funny. It was also moving, creepy, and overwhelming. People should go see it because it is awesome and delightful to see.

Photos: Johnny Knight