Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Evening with the Big Banana

At work, I write a weekly Openings and Closings email that is sent out to a couple hundred theatre goers. While the process is sometimes time consuming and tedious (damn formating), I really enjoy it and it gives me a chance to read over most of the theatre happenings in Philly. Since I took on this theatre challenge, I've been using it as a guide and reminder.

The other week, The Blue Monster caught my eye. Since it wasn't listed as a Family show, I thought, "Hmm, this might be amazingly outrageous." And so you know, I love puppets and masks. Names like The Blue Monster, tend to involve things like puppets, masks, and the supernatural. Obviously, I looked into this show. Here UARTS blurb on the show:

A mystical Blue Monster, a seven-headed Hydra and an evil Knight stand between two young lovers, Taer and Dardane, as they struggle to break an ancient curse. Written in 1764, this rarely performed Italian play, inspired by the characters of commedia dell’arte, blends masks, puppetry and physical comedy in an unforgettable tragicomic fable. Director Aaron Cromie is an award-winning member of the Brind School faculty known for his inventive modern take on the traditions of the commedia.

I knew this was a show to see. Now I only needed to find someone to go with me. Oddly, puppets or masks on their own are a hard sell for most people. So the combination together along with an old-school physical theatre style was near impossible. Lucky for me, I have Jake.

Jake and I have been friends for a yew years now, and one of my favorite things about him, is his love of the arts. Another thing is his enjoyment in the absurd pieces of life. Back in October, I told him I had a pair of roller skates for sale (I bought them for a show I worked on), and he jumped at the opportunity to buy them. Then, he came to my birthday party as a roller skating banana. Amazing!

We already had plans to hang out the day that The Blue Monster closed, I called him up to see if he would want to see a kinda odd mask and puppet piece with several monsters in it, and he said there would be nothing better than that. Afterwards, he had some regrets.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. The set was beautiful, the lighting interesting, and the costumes were good too. This production had an Asian/Chinese theme, which I am always a fan of. This was the first Commedia piece I've ever seen, and I'm not sure how I feel about it as a whole. Jake just couldn't get behind it. I think he enjoyed the technical elements, but is not a fan of Commedia dell'arte as a whole. Funny little side note, his ex was the costume designer, so he was rather judgmental. Definitely a great night.

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