Saturday, August 09, 2003

Fringe - Day 7 - Part 2

Five Women On A Hill In Spain
Loring Playhouse

Here I have a hard time saying one way or another, good show. Some theater just isn't for everyone, or is more for some audiences than others.

For instance, certain shows that are primarily character-driven rather than plot-driven in this Fringe, my actor friends just love 'em. My writer friends aren't as fond of the same shows because, like me, they tend to be looking for plot and forward movement in addition to character. Audiences in general, well, it depends on the skills of the performers and the likeability of the characters. If they enjoy it, they enjoy it, dramaturgy be damned.

It's obvious from the reviews and the audience reaction to Five Women On A Hill In Spain that people are divided on this one.

The most glowing reviews rave about the language and composition of the stage pictures. They love the actresses and design and direction.

And I have to go along with such folks, up to a point. You couldn't ask for a better cast or director for this script. They do their level best and then some to really make Five Women work as an active piece of theater. Their work is great, no question.

But I wasn't compelled at all by the script itself, even though I found much to admire in it. This script, no doubt, read very well on the page. The beautiful turns of phrase and the fluid way the story (such as it is) moves from one set of characters to the next are admirably done. But ultimately, nothing really happens. Some of the characters just speak, and at the same time don't say much. We don't get to know them as people, or what they want, or to care about them. They are simply a way for the author to get her words spoken aloud. The characters we get more glimpses of in what passes for action in this play, well, that's pretty much all we get. Glimpses. They don't really lead anywhere or add up to anything.

All that said, the language is lovely, the actors are fabulous, the direction and design top notch. If you happen to have some time, there are far worse ways to spend an hour in the theater.

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