Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review of Sugarward at The Side Project

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Sugarward by Sean Graney, directed by Geoff Button. This play shows two sides of Sean Graney: his funny side and his scary side. In my experience with Sean Graney's plays, I've only seen his funny plays. I have never seen his scary plays because I have been too afraid to see his scary plays because I didn't know what they'd be like. There were a lot of funny parts in Romeo Juliet and the scary parts I already knew about. You think Sugarward is going to be funny at first, but then it turns into a scary play. I think that was cool because it showed both sides of the actors, the director, and the playwright. The play is about a governor Daniel Parke (John Henry Roberts who is my dad) that wasn't a very good governor but he had good intentions. It is also about stealing, friendship, and sugar.

Sugar is not just sugar in this play. It is very valuable. People use it like people would use money or diamonds. Daniel Parke has a wife, he has several girlfriends, and he has sugar. When you lose sugar you lose everything that you had. I thought sugar was kind of like drugs because it can make you feel sick sometimes. You saw an entire package of sugar that they unwrapped and they just ate off of that. They also had an alcoholic sugar drink (that I suspect was just water or soda) that they drank. The play shows us that sugar is very important by them having all the foods and drinks be made out of sugar. If they lose it, they won't be able to do anything.

The first act was my favorite act because it was the funny act. It had both of my favorite parts of the play in it. One of my favorite parts was the part where Chester (Joel Ewing) came into Parke's house and they were arguing about the seasoning camp that Chester owned. (P.S. A seasoning camp is a place where African people were worked and beaten to death--the terriblest thing I have ever heard a person do.) (P.P.S. That is not the funny part. I am just filling you in on the beginning.) And they had set up dinner at the beginning and Parke yelled "I'll see you in a few hours!" And Chester was like, "Still planning on dinner?" And Parke, said, "Yes. I never break a promise." It was funny because they were yelling at each other but then suddenly they were very nice to each other about having dinner together.

My second favorite part wasn't funny; it was more interesting. It was when Parke was talking to Chester and he said "May I bring a guest?" And Chester said "Sure." And then Parke said "I will bring my adviser," or something along the lines of that, "Mr. Kirby." Then Chester says, "he's your servant." And then Parke still wants to bring him. That tells you that he's friends with his servant even though in that time grown adults are not supposed to be very good friends with servants. It tells us that Parke is a very nice man, but he changes in the second act; he is not as nice a man. I think that my dad did a great job showing the change over the four years.

I thought it was really cool that Joel Ewing played three parts. It was awesome because it gave this great joke to the play which was when Codrington came in for the first time Parke said "are you Mr. Kirby?" and he said, "No. I am Mr. Codrington." And then Parke is like, "You have a similarity around the face." It is funny because it is telling you that both of the characters are being played by the same person. I thought Ewing did a great job playing all three parts.

The second act was more scary than the first act. It was scarier because it had a lot of violence and guns going off and swords and stuff like that. They talked to each other more mean and less polite. Parke had been governor for four years and everybody has turned against him because they thought he would solve all the problems but he didn't. It makes him feel awful about himself but he also feels like he has done something when he hasn't done very much. He got all that he wanted but he made everyone unhappy. He has stopped the seasoning camp, and that's a good thing. He has also done terrible things that nobody likes like taking their land if they don't have a piece of paper and also taking their wives. I feel terrible about Parke's downfall for two reasons: one, because he is played by my dad and two, because he meant to do good but he didn't.

People that would like this show are people that like violence, funny servants, and huge packets of sugar. People should see this show because it is a perfect show to remind you about what it was like when your ancestors were alive. It wasn't as good as it is now. People didn't have control of who their king or queen would be. And people that were servants and slaves were treated terribly. This show is scary, funny, and beautifully designed.

Photos: Scott Dray


Gertrude said...

Hi Ada, This is the first of your reviews I have ever read. I saw Sugarward too and I find your review adroit and insightful.
I am a visual artist and I am taken by your comment that you found the play ..."beautifully designed." Can you say a little more about that? Are you speaking of visual design or conceptual design or both?
Also, don't you think it's interesting that one actor plays 3 different roles? What do you think the playwright was thinking when he decided to cast the play in this way? Any thoughts? I'm still trying to figure this out, too.

Ada & Mom said...

I think the writer was thinking it would be interesting to see one actor play three very different parts so people would recognize the same person but in completely different roles. I don't really know why it is appropriate for this play. Maybe it is that they are all together the problem but they are lots of different people. But I think that it was interesting to see him come out in different costumes and different voices. It was cool.

By beautifully designed I meant that the set was very colorful and it made me happy but then sometimes it made me sad still even though there were all the bright colors. It made it actually a little bit more sad, because Parke used to be such a happy and nice man and then he turned into a horrible and sad man but the set was still the same. So it is kind of like the set took all of his happiness. It is exactly what the play needs because it kind of shows how sad he is and what he really wants--what he really wants is to have a great place, but he doesn't.