Friday, July 9, 2010

Show #34 "The Cider House Rules: Part One" at Book-It Repertory Theatre a middle-aged female who is trying (without success) to get into better physical shape, I wish that I could burn calories and fat vicariously by watching active folks run around and work very hard.

If that were the case, I would now be in top athletic condition.

Sadly, that is not how it works. But, even as my sagging body sat in a cushy theater seat all evening, I felt as though I had had a work out just by watching all the hyper-activity on stage at the Seattle Center House Theater last evening. It was exhilarating. It was exhausting. It was great theatre.

So many times, I hear people say that good theatre doesn't TELL you the story, it SHOWS you the story. Whereas this is true, it usually makes folks leery of any play that has too much narration and the "breaking of the fourth wall."

But, narration is what Book-It does. It takes a piece of literature and, more or less, reads the story to you. Of course, there are actors who are moving (quite quickly and athletically) about the stage illustrating the story as the they are telling it. There are costumes, props, basic set pieces (just enough to tell the story) and light and sound cues to go with it.

But the narration and dialogue? All taken straight from the original source.

I must admit, I was a bit hesitant about seeing a show with Book-It. I wasn't sure I would be engaged in the story the whole evening, knowing that this is how they presented theatre. I feared I might be subjected to an evening of "book on tape" or something as dull as that.

Wow....I was totally wrong. Thank God for that.

In order to make copious narration be engaging and effective, the actors had to work at a brisk pace for the entire 3 hour show. Scene changes had to occur quickly, with set pieces placed on stage at a sprinter's speed. The actors' entrances were immediate and fast. The dialogue (and monologues) were swift, energetic and intense. What an athletic event!

"The Cider House Rules" has been divided into two parts, in order to include all the important and poignant details of the novel that the movie version edited out. That was a wise decision.

We were so wrapped up in Homer Well's story during his years at the St. Cloud's orphanage that we hated to end the tale there. Part Two will play in September.

We can't wait.

Graphics courtesy of Book-It Repertory Theatre

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