Monday, March 10, 2014

Review of The Roper at The Den Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Roper. It was written by Will Dunne and directed by Ron Wells. It was about a man named Lewis Swegles (Tony Bozzuto) and he went to a saloon as a roper. A roper is a person who used to be an outlaw but now works for the government to capture other outlaws. He used to steal horses, but then the government said "hey, why don't you come and work for us." And then he said, "Yes. I would like to do something good in my life." He goes to a saloon and he finds out that they are not only coney men but they also want to steal Abraham Lincoln's body. If you don't know what coney men means, you can learn it from me--ADA GREY! A coney man is a man who make fake money. While Swegles is pretending to help steal Abe Lincoln's body, he starts to become kind of friends with the outlaws. It is about being part of one kind of community and then switching to another kind and then switching another way again. It is about friendship, respect, and robbery. I think this is a really good play. Over the time, you start to like the characters more and more. And then you start to get more protective about the characters and you hope that they will just give the whole thing up and go into making soft toys.

I thought that the set (by Andrew Hildner) was really cool, especially the Lincoln Monument one. I liked the numbers because it reminded me of the real thing. Even though I haven't actually seen it, I have seen pictures. I also really liked how at the bar they had that sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. I also liked how there were pictures of ladies on the mirror. That really told me it was a saloon! I thought that the snake was really convincing. If it was a real snake, that was awesome. And if it wasn't, it was very realistic snake puppetry. When you walked out of the theater at intermission to get a candy bar or some Sprite, as I did, when you come back in, the set is completely changed. Nothing is the same. I thought that was awesome how quick they were.

There was this character called Nealy (John Luzar). He begins and ends the play and he also tells us what happens to Lewis Swegeles afterward. I think the playwright began the play with Nealy coming out and telling us about Lewis Swegeles so then you are prepared not to hate him but to like him. Nealy is good friends with Lewis Swegles and he was asked to be a part of the kidnapping because Lewis told everyone that he was a giant outlaw who everybody had heard of. But of course he actually wasn't and he was not very convincing. But then the outlaws still believed that he was the big outlaw. That made the outlaws look as dumb as they were. And I thought that it was hilarious because Nealy was just like, "Hi. Can I go now?" in a little shaky voice.

Throughout the entire play you love the character of Mullen (Michael Thomas Downey) but he is a very big jerk. He pulls people across tables, throws people against the walls, and points guns at them. He is not exactly the nicest person. But you still like Mullen throughout the whole thing because he is evilly lovable. It makes you happy whenever he's on stage because of the way he is hilariously, lovably ignorant. Hughes (Ted Hoerl)is also lovably ignorant but he is not as cruel, so you aren't surprised that he is so funny and lovable.

I loved the tour guide (Robert Koon). I thought he was amazing. He seemed like a very very cold rock. He liked to give more sass than service. You know that it is not good to steal Abe Lincoln's body, but he makes you wonder if there is some element of rightness because he is just so sassy. You want to see him have his mind blown. This actor played two roles. The other was another of the outlaws but you don't like him as much because he quits on the job. Then I was glad that he came back as a different kind of character; you wouldn't have know that he was the same actor. You knew because of the program.

Tyrell (Brad Woodward), who was a man in the secret service, wanted Lewis Swegles to succeed and keep being their roper. And then he made Lewis Swegles angry because Swegles wanted his name in the newspaper, but he was a secret agent, so he couldn't. He wants to people to know how great he is. People see him as a criminal, but he wants people to see him as a hero. I thought it was really really really funny when Lewis Swegles said, "Oh I just want the kids to see me as a good person." But then Tyrell said, "How many kids do you have?" and Swegles said that he was dreaming of when he found the right girl. That was really funny because if he hadn't met the right woman yet he might never have kids.

People who would like this show are people who like suspense, lovable outlaws, and realistic snakes. It shows you how interesting it was that I was wondering what would have happened if they had gotten away with it. I really liked this show because it was based on a true story and I had never heard of this story before. People should definitely go see this show because it is a very funny show but also very suspenseful. Some kids would be ready to go see this show, but for some it might be too gun-pointy and there was also a tiny bit of swearing.

Photos: Joe Mazza

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