Wednesday, December 09, 2009

enough to make you wish you were in Austin

This is one of the most interesting pieces of theater criticism I've seen in a while. It's a discussion of a one-man Henry V done in Austin, Texas:

On arriving at the OffCenter and receiving my complimentary champagne (apparently there was some sort of Federal holiday on) I was informed that I would be seated. This is odd for our fringe spaces, but what the hell… not my show. I waited. And Robert greeted me and showed me to a seat of his choosing.

On setting out to perform a one man version of Henry V, Mr. Faires wasn’t pacing out back trying to find his inner Dionysus, cramming scene 4, or opening his 4th chakra, he was personally greeting and seating all 60 of his guests.

Did he then run out back to compose himself 10 minutes before curtain? No. He simply stepped on stage, surrounded by 20 of those guests, adjusted his props and began when his lights shifted.

It was a piece that could have been told in a bar by as expert a storyteller as Mr. Faires. Simply a gathering of friends who asked for that one story about the time Harry went to France.

The unpretentiousness of what is described here...I could take a bath in it. The intimacy of it, the friendliness of it, dare I say the warmth of it? The author enjoins his readers to "Stop building a monolith to yourself in every production and performance". That's what we need: fewer monoliths, more warmth.

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