Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In a Forest Dark and Deep

I saw this show this afternoon! I was really excited because Olivia Williams is awesome- I saw her first in Dollhouse a few years ago and was thrilled to see her again as Miss Stubbs in An Education. To be honest, I had no idea who Matthew Fox was (he is apparently from Lost and Party of Five, neither of which I've seen.) Also, it's directed by the playwright Neil Labute, of whom I am a new fan (I saw another one of his plays exactly a month ago, The Shape of Things, which I loved.)

The show was all right. I didn't like it as much as I would have liked, but there are a few factors that went into this "eh" reaction. First, both of the actors' energy was kind of low- the reason I tend to avoid matinees. As an actor, I know that matinees are usually not nearly as good as night shows, but the student price was only offered for Wednesday matinees. Also, my energy was really low, so I wasn't a great audience member. I wasn't a huge fan of Matthew Fox's acting for awhile, but he got better as it went on. I don't think he's done a ton of theatre, and it shows. That being said, he wasn't bad- it wasn't torturous to watch him or anything, but Olivia Williams just seemed more comfortable on the stage. And I think the main reason I didn't like it as much as some of the other shows I've seen, or even as much as Labute's other play, is because I wasn't supposed to. In the program, it says that the roles in this show are not for actors who want the audience to adore them. The characters, Bobby and Betty, are two terrible, terrible people, especially Betty, and they spend the play reminding each other of that. Betty is incredibly annoying- besides having a ridiculous amount of faults, she's also very whiny. I think Olivia Williams must have been exhausted at the end of the show, as she had to spend most of it crying.

Williams did fantastically with her accent- for a part that emotional, I heard one slip up, that's all. It's very interesting how high and young-sounding British actors' voices become when they do American accents. Williams has a lower, very calming English voice, but you only heard the low register in this show when she was sobbing without speaking. I was really impressed.

Overall, I'm glad I saw it, but I'm also glad that I didn't pay a ton to see it (though I was more than happy to take the free seat upgrade I was offered.) If nothing else, I got to see an actor I like live, which always makes for a good story.


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