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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Saturday November 10, 2007
12:11 AM

Moby Dick *does* *not* suck. But old media papers do.

[ #34871 ]

Fountain Hills is a small burb outside of Phoenix. Scottsdale grew into it somewhat recently actually connecting it to the metro spraw. Fountain Hills Community Theather is our community theater. They're currently doing a one man version of Moby Dick. Some dumb bimbo wrote a review that seemed to entirely miss the point, that of the show being a one man Moby Dick:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/1109sr-hoffman1109moby-ON .html

I posted a reply and duplicated it below the cut here. Let this be a lesson to dumb bimbos everywhere who think that you don't need any grasp of logic to write a theater.

---------------------------------------

The central premise seems to be that Fountain Hills Community Theater's rendidtion of Moby Dick stinks. Then the first argument to support this is, briefly, is that the book is a taxing read, and that the only situation in which it would be read is under a mixture of requirement and duress. This line of argument would suggest that any faithful performance of Moby Dick would be tedious, so it's confusing why FHCT's performance is singled out.

But I'm not just picking nits here. The basic questions I have while reading a review seem to be dodged. Another central argument against the the FHCT performance is that it lacks actor-to-actor dynamics, set changes, and so on. You're reviewing a one man play, and this performance is billed as such. There are well respected one-person plays that get good reviews, and those good reviews sometimes have the caveat of the dialogue being hammy at times, so what sets this one apart? It seems unfair to give poor marks to a one man play simply by virtue of it being a one man play. If I were a reviewer asked to review a one man play and I hated all one man plays, I'd at least disclose my bias. So, the question remains unanswered, for those of us who like a well done one man play, is this a good one?

Let me put it this way. I could look at the billboard outside of the theater and see that they're doing a one man Moby Dick and write this same review: it sucks because it's one man. It sucks because it's Moby Dick. The name of the directory and actor are published and could be referenced easily enough. If I were a little clever, I could guess that a few people couldn't stomach it for one reason or another and left at intermission. And that an old lady fell asleep at some point is a safe bet for almost any play. So, there's nothing in this review that gives me cause to think that you've actually seen the play. It seems like an amature hack job.

For the benefit of other people reading this review and associated commentary, I have seen this play, and my friends and I are passing this link around with some consternation. Here's an alternate review: the play is the story told from the perspective of Ishmael. There's one person on stage because an aged Ishmael is telling you the story as if during an encounter in a pub, but he, slowly at firsts, begins characterizing his shipmates. This is not a play where a smaller number of actors than characters attempt rapid changes to create an illusion of there being more actors, such as in Shakespear Abridged. It's simply one actor characterizing others in a story that he's acting the lead role in, and in my opinion, doing a fine job of it. The language is dense, the lighting dark, the ocean sounds hypnotic, and the tension slowly building. Regardless, the story is neither light nor cheerfully. Disney-ing it up with a fake whale and fanciful costumes would only detract from the story.

-scott

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