Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thespian Thursday - Anton's Uncles

Well, I would love to review DSC's production of 'Miss Saigon' on here tonight... but I really just have to review the production of Los Angeles City College's production of 'Anton's Uncles' I saw here in DC first. I can't help myself. For those of you in 'Miss Saigon,' I promise I'll get to you next week. Sorry!

Anywho, as you know I'm in DC and loving it. My wife competes in two days and so far she has been LOVING all of her workshops. It makes me happy to hear that. We (my mom, mother-in-law, and myself) had some free time tonight after some sight-seeing and I thought it would be nice to spend some time with Whit and catch the production of 'Anton's Uncles' hosted by the Kennedy Center tonight.

Now, I could just say "it was amazing" and go to bed. Because it was. Amazing. Really. Absolutely brilliant. That said, I will take a few minutes to tell you why.

[I sincerely apologize to the director/playwright/choreographer and also to the actors because I don't know anyone's names... if you stumble across this blog and you do know their names please let me know so I can praise them shamelessly.]

'Anton's Uncles' is a 'deconstruction' of Anton Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' which is an extremely hard thing to explain and I'd be lying to you if I told you that I completely understood it. The point is this: it was a piece of theatre unlike anything else I have ever scene before. 'Anton's Uncles' literally takes every theatrical element available and interweaves them together seamlessly. Humor, passion, music both in song and dance, costuming, lighting, set, sound, etc... This production is an excellent example of what paying attention to detail can do. All of the elements are incredibly strong.

As I am going through all the thoughts in my brain I'm realizing how hard this is to explain. 'Anton's Uncles' is very... artistic. It has very specific, usually unrealistic blocking. Not so much blocking, but choreography... Even during the moments where there is no music I would still call it choreography rather than blocking. And when there is music it becomes something so fantastic! Without warning, the lights shift into a deep, saturated, almost club-like, very stylized look, and all of the characters break out into huge energetic dancing that is such a joy to watch, and then, again without warning, everything is jerked back into the subdued "Chekhovian" type of acting.

Some moments of the production even became beautifully absurd. With the stage manager dancing with the actors, a Justin Timberlake reference, and hilarious dance numbers whose sole purpose was a set change. Even a moment when the actors pulled an audience member on stage with them... and it worked! Everything was just so tight. So tight! I can't imagine the hours that must have gone into that production. Everything was so crisp and clean and perfect.

Anton's Uncles is really one of those shows that you come out of with a whole new perspective on what theatre is and what theatre can be. I commend the actors for their incredible dedication and talent. I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time. And to the incredible lady who wrote, directed, and choreographed this piece... there really is only one word to describe you: genius.

Well done to everyone involved. I hope this isn't the end of the road for this script... if somehow you get the opportunity to see it. Do.


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