SHOWING : August 15, 2008 - September 20, 2008
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In a plantation house, a family celebrates the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy, as they sentimentally dub him. The mood is somber, despite the festivities, because a number of evils poison the gaiety: greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds. Maggie, Big Daddy’s daughter-in-law, wants to give him the news that she’s finally become pregnant by Big Daddy’s favorite son, Brick, but Brick won’t cooperate in Maggie’s plans and prefers to stay in a mild alcoholic haze the entire length of his visit. Maggie has her own interests at heart in wanting to become pregnant, of course, but she also wants to make amends to Brick for an error in judgment that nearly cost her her marriage. Swarming around Maggie and Brick are their intrusive, conniving relatives, all eager to see Maggie put in her place and Brick tumbled from his position of most-beloved son. By evening’s end, Maggie’s ingenuity, fortitude and passion will set things right, and Brick’s love for his father, never before expressed, will retrieve him from his path of destruction and return him, helplessly, to Maggie’s loving arms.
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maggie was awesome!!|
Thursday, November 20, 2008 ||
OMG!!! I cannot believe you thought that one-dimensional, annoying Mae should have even been considered for the part of Maggie. Yes, Maggie is a difficult role, and I thought Kimberley Lowe pulled it off beautifully. She looked the part of a true "Southern Belle" and was very cat-like in her mannerisms and behavior. On the surface? You must not have been at the same performance I was b/c I saw Maggie as a woman trying from every angle to win over Brick, Big Daddy and his fortune, and have a child that she so much wanted. I know the role of Mae was one-dimensional and a bit part, but she she did not give any variety to it at all. She was an annoying, unlikable character and I did not feel sorry for her at all. I thought Gooper was great- he got his point across as being the "unfavored" son and how painful that must have been. Mae was just a mean, self-involved woman w/ no depth at all. Maggie played her role to the hilt from all angles- she was sexy and playful at times, then grief-stricken and catty at others. I cannot believe anyone would see her in this role, especially given the fact that she carried the full first act in basically a monologue, and see her as just "on the surface." I thought Big Daddy gave his role a good try and had some good moments, but he sounded more like a character out of "The Godfather" than an owner of a Southern Cotton plantation. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW] |
May your reach always exceed your grasp…|
Sunday, August 31, 2008 ||
Rosewater is doing WHAT?!
They don’t even try to do that DOWNTOWN!
At a Community Theatre!?
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”?!
Don’t you mean “Cat in the Hat - SOMETHING”?
You mean THE “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”?
This could be… uh …
Much like people who go to a NASCAR event wanting to see a good race, but fearing they might witness a spectacular pile-up where someone gets killed, my wife and I headed to the Rosewater Theatre in Roswell Saturday evening to see their current production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.
I am acquainted with the director and have shared the stage with a couple members of the cast, so I wanted to go to support them in their efforts. Not ever having seen a production of this iconic work, I also thought it was a good opportunity to learn more about it (you never know when you might get a chance to audition for it in the future, right?). I was also very curious about the compromises a community theatre production would have to make to pull this off.
To continue the NASCAR metaphor (or is it a paradigm?)…
What we saw was a good race. No spectacular pile-ups. No one was killed or injured. The course turned out to be one of the most incredibly difficult ones I’ve ever seen. All the drivers made it to the finish line in good shape. No records were broken, but I would call it a successful race.
I came away from this production with a great respect for all the parties involved. This was an incredibly brave and courageous undertaking. Did Rosewater think they would sell more tickets by adding this to their schedule? I doubt it extremely. But they did offer theatre goers, and theatre participants alike, something dramatically different. That is to be supported and appreciated by all.
Another positive I came away with was the skill of director Mark Schroeder (known around these parts as Okely Dokely). Directing a work as monumental as this is also takes courage. Given the severe limitations of community theatre when it comes to budget and talent resources, the potential for unintentionally comic results is great. The layout of the venue dictated that “Cat” be staged “in the round” adding another challenge.
Mark effectively dealt with these limitations and challenges by maximizing the meager resources available to him. The blocking was varied, fluid and supported the dialogue and the characters very well. He avoided staging “tableaus” (which are deadly in the round) and kept his actors moving throughout the show. It seemed to me that he had worked the actors very thoroughly and had given them very detailed instructions on their movement.
The pace for this production was brisk. The actors never got a chance to lapse into the “theatrical masturbation” that can come so easily when working with great writing (but can kill momentum and impact in nothing flat). A very smart directorial choice if you ask me.
The cast also earns big points for their efforts. Just getting the “mechanics” (knowing lines, blocking, and keeping your energy level up) for a show like “Cat” is a Herculean task. This cast uniformly picked up their cues quickly, delivered their lines clearly with good diction and projection, and gave 100% of their energy to their performances. Everybody worked very hard and the results of that hard work showed. There was more heart in this production than I have seen in many professional shows!
Rosewater, director Mark Schroeder, and the cast of this production are to be commended for having the courage to even try to do this monumental piece of theatre. This production has its strengths and weaknesses, but above all else, it has honor.
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| || One more star. . . by jpmist|
| A fair and evenhanded review, I thought I'd add to it's praise.|
I suppose it's a dilemma for local theaters to put on American classics like "Cat..." cause it's tough being compared with the celebrated icons that have performed it. Still I applaud Rosewater for doing the show if only to help mature those actors ambitious enough to tackle it. Rosewater makes another interesting choice in January’s “The Elephant Man” which I’m very much looking forward to.
I agree with you about the amazing job the director and actors did in staging the play in the round. It’s an interesting challenge. The poor director has to be concerned with every quadrant of the audience seeing the actors faces at least 3/4s of the time while the poor actors have to fight the instinct to "cheat" yet in return have the luxury of being able to face their scene partner whenever it suits them. As talky as this play is, there was never a static moment, the play never dragged for me. Seeing a show in the round is a novel experience and I strongly recommend this if only to see how well this was done.
Having performed with Kimberley Lowe, I am an unabashed fan. Opening the play with basically an heroic 45 minute monologue, I felt she performed Maggie wonderfully. Lee Buechele, with whom I’ve also worked, will be the first to tell you he’s no match for Burl Ives or Rip Torn, but I though he was well connected to Big Daddy and fulfilled his role well. I though Daniel Tracy was spot on as Brick as were Allan Dodson and Katie McTeer in their supporting roles as Gooper and Mae.
I suppose it's a fair comment, yet I bristle slightly at the term "meager resources". Perhaps a hairstyle or two could have been improved but I didn't see where the production lacked for what was necessary to stage it. That they managed to have as much on the smallish stage that they had and still have room to maneuver was impressive.
Finally, I very much agree that the show and it's actors should be respected and supported for their generosity of heart, energy and creativity that they gave to their performances. The show succeeded for me, I plan to see it again.
Thanks for taking the time to review which gave me the kick in the butt I needed to write what I should have a few weeks ago. . .
| || I agree with everything you said, line! by mooniemcmoonster|
| I thought Okely did a great job. We went weekend before last and Daniel Tracy is a friend of mine whom I worked with earlier this year. I thought the staging worked REALLY well. I loved the interpretation of Big Daddy and very much appreciated that he didn't try to affect a stereotypical Souther accent. His performance was refreshing. Daniel's Brick was quite good as well (and that's not just because I know him :))I just really wasn't sold on Maggie though. That is a really, really difficult part and I've only witnessed a handful of people tackle her adequately and unfortunately I thought that she missed the mark and played it all very surface level without ever getting down to any "real". She was really the only one in the cast who I felt like didn't ever "get there". Gooper was great. Gooper's wife was awesome. At times I wished that she was the one doing Maggie just to see what she would do with it. That's how much I enjoyed her.|
All in all I thought Mark hit it out of the park on this one. Way to go, Okely!!!!!!!!!!
| || Copy Cat..... by a thespian in tears|
| I felt if I posted a review of this show, it would sound so much like Moonie's that I would be accused of being a copy "cat," plus, I couldn't have said it any better than she did. |
Daniel is a colleague of mine as well, and I went to see this production to show my support, and when you go for that reason, really enjoying what you went to see is a bonus!
I had not seen this show on stage before, and I found it refreshing to see theater as theater is truly meant to be seen...uncut.
It is worth the trip, if you are a Tennessee William's fan or not, and being staged in the "theater in the round" just added to its over all appeal for me.
| || That Reminds Me... by line!|
| Another thing I meant to comment on was that they didn't cut the adult language used in the script. There were "F" bombs and "S" storms and they were all perfectly appropriate and added to the emotions of the scenes. I am sooooo tired of directors and theatres caving to the expected objections of "The Baptists" or other "groups" who might be offended by adult language and scenes in an adult play. This happens way too often in "OTP" (outside the perimeter) productions. Although I find it perfectly understandable when the show is being performed in, or sponsored by, a church or other civic group. But otherwise, if the show ain't for kids or families, say so! Tell the patrons when they are buying their tickets, say it in the curtain speech, put a disclaimer on the advertising, the program and the marquee. Make every effort to let them know, and if they see the show and are offended, tell them "Tough! We warned you!". Kudos to the director and the theatre for doing "Cat" as written! That was truly refreshing!|
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