Passionate about: Theatre-Fine Art-Rational Discourse-Good Books-Bad TV.
Doing things with your hands is therapeutic.
One should never stop learning and questioning.
Actively involved in:
The dramatic community in Dubai.
The Old Library in Dubai
I get involved in as much as I can to promote a love of reading and thinking.
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Love, Loss, and What I Wore - and a Goodbye
from the production at DUCTAC
For the past three and a half years I have
shared library duty with a very special lady, but this Saturday afternoon was our
last shift together because Deborah is leaving Dubai now to go back to England. She is
calm and kind. She puts up with my gabbling rants and makes really great book
reading recommendations. She casts a cozy spell over library members who all
adore her. Both our regular Saturday afternoon visitors and I will sorely miss
her warm presence.
The last night of DUCTAC’s production of Nora and Delia Ephron’s play "Love, Loss, and
What I Wore" (I think it was a DUCTAC show) coincided with our last shift together. Deborah very cleverly suggested that we go to
the theatre and watch the play so that she could tick off going-to-a-theater-production at DUCTAC from her list and we could have a lovely evening out after
her last shift at the library.
I love Norah Ephron’s work. She wrote the
script for "When Harry Met Sally." She directed (and wrote the script for) "Julie
and Julia" and "Sleepless in Seattle." Nora Ephron had an “illustrious
carrier as a screenwriter, producer, director, journalist, playwright and
author.” Her collected journalistic essays have had me weeping with joy and
sorrow - sometimes in the same piece. I was sad when she died because all her
lovely writing stops. Bearing all that in mind, it hurts me to say that I did
not enjoy this play. I have agonized for a couple of days trying to work out
why I was left unmoved by this show. Was it the script? Was it the acting? Was
it the direction? The staging?
All the right boxes seemed to be ticked. I
could not fault the acting. There was nothing obviously wrong with the
direction. The lighting was simple but effective, ditto the set. This
production was well rehearsed; the actresses did not miss a beat. Sadly somehow,
at the end of my cogitating my impression remained the same, from the script to
the performance it was just a bit flat and a bit safe. I blame this on the
staging. This show was intended to be presented as a sort of reading with
scripts on music stands with the actresses sitting and presenting the 25 odd
stories. I do not think this worked. Just because this was the intention of the
writers does not mean it is the only way or sometimes the best way to present
the piece. I feel much the same way about script cutting by the way. Writers
are not always the best judges of how their work should be staged or edited.
Now let me state here that clearly I am wrong because Nora Ephron had a
brilliant career and I don’t have one at all. Fortunately, however, in my blog
I am master of the universe and can believe what I want.
I think that a bit of bravery with the
staging would have made this production really special. It was written for six
players and in this production it was well adapted for four actresses. I did
have one bugbare; I did not understand why the slimmest actress was playing
the role of a plump woman and why a buxom actress was playing the part of
someone flat chested. I was a bit confused by that. The cast was clearly
talented and knew what they were doing so from that perspective the roles could
have been swapped. However, having said that, this casting may have been the
only way to adapt the show to cater for a cast of four.
You may feel that I have been overly critical
of this show. I have seen many productions that have been far worse and I have
been much kinder or I have simply not written anything at all. I justify my
criticism of this production as it was directed and acted by professionals, not
amateurs with no theatre training whatsoever. This show should have been
somehow more; it had all the right ingredients and the talent but just did not
work for me.
On a technical note I was pleased to see that
the lighting / sound box was better hidden from public view than most of the
productions I have been at. I was sitting farther back than I normally do so I
don’t know if that is why or if the front of the balcony was dressed
differently. If it was dressed differently other productions should find out
what was done and follow suite.
Usually shows in Dubai start at least half an
hour late. This infuriates me. It shows bad manners on the part of the audience
and a lack of control on the part of the producers. This show started fifteen
minutes late. That must be a record for Dubai. I challenge the rest of the
Drama Groups to improve their curtain up timing to match that stated on the
tickets. Maybe the tickets and advertising should say something on them like:
Time: 7.45pm for a prompt start at 8.00pm.
Late arrivals will be admitted during the interval.
What I would like to have happen to late
arrivals is to see them being locked in stocks outside the theatre -as an
example. Sadly Theatre is not the most well supported of entertainments so
really punishing late comers would not do at all. SIGH. What to do.