I wouldn't want to be a theatre critic because I don't like to say anything bad about anyone. Also, if I like the play or movie, I don't know if I can always express what I like about it. That being said, I am going to add my critique here of a play I saw last night--just because I don't have a huge audience and it probably won't get back to the guilty parties.
First of all, "The Tempest" is a Shakespearean play, so for me, that means it has to "go the extra mile" to be good. While I try to train my ear to accustom itself to the "foreign" speech, I also rely a lot on actions and expressions of the players.
Well, the lead put new meaning to the term MONOlogue--meaning a speech, given with monotone qualities, no inflection of voice or actions. Even when he was speaking with other performers, he did not raise or lower his voice or show excitement, disappointment, anger, whatever. I rely on these emotions to help me understand what is going on. My daughter, an English teacher, who was with me, told me in Shakespeare's day, they would have booed such an actor. Okay, enough about that poor fellow.
Now that I've hung myself by speaking badly of someone who has more guts than me to get up in front of a crowd, spent hours and hours memorizing all those strange words, and who gave up so much time to try and bring enjoyment to others, I will go on to the brighter side of last night. I realize that three certain characters in the play had more animated and comical roles and therefore, they were more entertaining to begin with, but I would think that the rest of the cast members would have taken note that the only extra applause (applause given at times other than end of first act and end of play) was after these three characters were done each time. They were very good.
I am even going to name a couple of names. My favorite was Bryan Gregor. He played a deformed slave/savage. He got into the part and gave it his all--a tint of evil, but also soliciting pity--a job very well done. The other one was Nicholas Maraia who played a jester. His facial expressions were terrific and reflected good comedic talent. He was not afraid to hold back and perhaps, overact as a jester would do. These two parts were well matched. The drunken maid by Dawn Anstett also played well off of them.
I was glad for those three. Had it not been for them, I would have felt cheated out of $10 (in advance, $15 at the door--cringe) and of my time. They made it worth my while. I love to see local talent that may be taking flight to bigger and better things, or not. Even if they just want to share that with us locally, I thank them. I wish there were more opportunities for them locally.