May 23, 2014 Catestrophic Theater



May 23, 2014 — Go early if you haven’t been there before, but go. I drove an extra 20 minutes on I 10 looking for Naylor. When I got to the theatre, the air conditioning was working. There was always a line for the toilet, but the small theater that is Catastrophic Theatre was nicely hung with good equipment. The stage set, though taking ideas and methods from Death of a Salesman in the 50’s was very well designed, pretty, perfectly functional, except for the curtain which stuck a bit.

The opening speech, though well spoken, funny and interesting, may have rivaled the world record for the longest sentence in a play. The first act moved well, was exceedingly well written, was funny, was well acted. The audience helped it to be more enjoyable by laughing so much. Every actor in the play seemed accomplished and acted like they understood the words and their place in the play. At the end of Act One, I found myself highly impressed by all I had seen.

When Act Two ended, it was almost 11pm. The show was scheduled to start at 8. So, what had happened during Act II? It was far less populated with jokes and, whereas Act One seemed to take its humor from the quirkiness of the characters and their views on life, Act Two was more like ACTing about sad things. Unless Act Two was a response to Act One philosophically, I’m not sure why Act Two was needed. If ‘you are born, you die, you live awkward life, you are given drugs by a doctor and finally know you’re beautiful for a second’ is what the second act is about and ‘life is not understandable but funny’ is what Act One is about, then, maybe, I understood the play. But why did it all take so long? Why did Act Two seem to drag along? Not so many jokes written into the script may have been part of it, but maybe the ACTing was milked a bit and the pauses which seemed ‘characteristic’ in Act One became terminal in Act Two. I didn’t care about the birth or the death. If I was meant to care, the actors didn’t pull care out of me. If it didn’t matter whether or not I cared, why did those scenes take sooooo long? Having witnessed the intelligence of the playwright in Act One, I wonder if the director and the actors didn’t miss some clues about how to play. Maybe if the life of Act Two went by too fast or something……