Archive for September 2011

“Amy’s View” by David Hare at Arts West

“The play’s the thing,” said Hamlet. Evidently he hadn’t seen David Hare’s “Amy’s View.” Hare can be a terrific playwright, but this isn’t one of his better efforts.

Amy (Angela DiMarco) is the adored daughter of Esme (Julie Jamieson), a successful stage actress who is not enchanted with Dominick (Robert Hinds) the young critic and filmmaker Amy’s in love with. It’s 1979, and, aside from the fact that Dom seems cocky and perhaps a womanizer, he’s dismissive of theatre as a viable art form in contemporary times. It’s that last characteristic that infuriates Esme. Poor Amy who believes that love conquers all is caught between her love for her mother and her love for Dom.

So this is a play about the strains of familial and romantic love, about grief and betrayal. But it’s also a play about the old vs. the new. Theatre is old; film and video are new. It’s the word vs. the image kind of thing. As technology rapidly advances, traditions and cultural icons fall out of favor

And because Hare is always the social critic, he manages to take on some of the politics and the class consciousness of the time, Margaret Thatcher’s time. (The play covers the years from 1979 to 1995.) The play’s issues are still pertinent, but so locked into the past here that they appear quite dusty.

The Arts West production with its classy set, good principal and supporting actors, and thoughtful direction by Christopher Zinovitch deserves praise. You just have to wonder why this play was selected to open the season.

Through Oct. 1, at Arts West Playhouse and Gallery, 4711 California Ave. SW, Seattle, $10-$34.50 (206 938-0339 or www.artswest.org)

“September Skies” at Odd Duck Studio

It’s September 10, 2001, and a man and woman at Boston’s Logan Airport learn, much to their annoyance, that their flight to Los Angeles has been cancelled. Alternative plans must be made. They begin to talk. He’s clearly interested in her. Although she just wants to get back to her fiancé, there’s something about this fellow traveler. A spark is kindled. They make some decisions. Who could have predicted what would happen on 9/11?

Playwright Jim Moran’s “September Skies” which is premiering in this production is one of those quiet little pieces that sneaks up on you. You’ll not forget it. The 90 minutes in the theatre, leave you with enough to think about for days to come. Chance, fate, missed opportunities, divine retribution—what role do these play in your own life? The play isn’t perfect. It could use some tightening, but it’s a powerhouse of a work in which so many little lines that seem to be hardly worth attention turn out to have profound significance.

Cheryl Platz as the neurotic Amy and David Foubert as the super cool Dave play off each other well. Rik Deskin proves himself the most versatile of performers.

And if you want an example of how successful a modest production can be, this is it. Set, sound, and lighting work well together to create the necessary ambiance and mood. This is no small feat when you are limited by a small budget.

This is definitely a small budget production with a big impact.

Through October 1 at Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave., Seattle; $10-$25. (206 679-3271 or eclectictheatercompany.org)