Friday, March 26, 2010
Show #15 "Fences" at Seattle Repertory Theatre
Packing ourselves into the car and traveling from Tacoma to Seattle is always a hefty trip. But Randy and I feel it is well worth the time and effort it takes.
For the past several years, we have been season subscribers to the fine theaters in Seattle. We've seen some things that we have absolutely loved, and others that...well, we haven't exactly adored.
But, the drive home from the shows is always filled with lively discussion. We don't always agree, but our car talks serve as our own private "Siskel and Ebert At the Theatre."
Last evening, we attended opening night of August Wilson's "Fences."
What a production! From the moment we stepped into the Bagley Wright Theatre, we commented on the amazing set design. The pre-show (and "during-the-show") music immediately made us smile.
Then, an unbelievable cast of actors took the stage and mesmerized the entire audience for 2 1/2 hours. August Wilson's playwriting contains dialogue and monologues that can only be described as poetry.
So, with all these elements in place, it should have been the perfect evening at the theater, right?
But, to my consternation, I spent the entire evening wondering if I even liked this play.
Afterward, Randy and I proceeded to have our post-play car talk. He, too, admitted that he wasn't sure if he liked the play. He described the production elements as "brilliant." But, did he like the show? He didn't know.
We discussed the characters, themes, and the actor's performances and wondered what statements Wilson was making about each. We critiqued the actor's performances and shared what different choices we might have made had we directed the production.
We reflected on our own families and other families we knew from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. We debated our views on child-rearing and the effects parents have on their children's choices in adult life.
Finally, as our car continued southbound on I-5, Randy mused, "Here we are debating whether or not we liked this play. But look at us, we're still talking about the show. We never talk about a show this much..."
It's true. "Fences" sparked more discussion than any other show we've seen. Something about it cuts to the heart and jump-starts the imagination like no other.
But, I still haven't decided whether I liked the show or not. But, with some theatrical experiences, maybe that's not the point.
Production photo courtesy of Chris Bennion and Seattle Repertory Theatre