Monday, October 13, 2014

Do Not Go Gentle

Botetourt is fortunate to have its very own local theater, the D. Geraldine Lawson Performing Arts Center.

The community acting crew is known as Attic Productions. They put on five or six plays annually.

Saturday night, my husband and I ventured out to see Do Not Go Gentle, a play by Susan L. Zeder. The Roanoke Times reviewed it here.

Director was Katerina Yancey. I was not familiar with any of the cast this go-round. I thought they did a good job. It is, after all, community theater and I don't expect acting on par with Sandra Bullock or Tom Hanks.

The RT review is rather negative, and I do not agree with it. I greatly enjoyed the play. I think it is a woman's play, and therefore the reviewer was unable to relate to what was going on.

He wasn't able to get the messages. Or rather, the reviewer called the messages "old hat" and dismissed them. 

Those messages were that war is bad, killing is bad, violence is bad. That actions of others have consequences that reverberate in places never even considered by those undertaking them. That love endures, despite differences. That pain and suffering are part of life, but so is healing. That art and words matter - that everyone's voice, whatever that voice may be and however those words come out - matters and can and does make a difference, even if that difference goes unnoticed or commented upon. 

These are messages that we need to hear time and again, because we certainly, as a society, don't live like that. We live as if lives are small and of no consequence, that only money matters. We live as if human beings are but another commodity to be bought and sold.

This play, at its heart, exploded that. So of course it's not the kind of show that certain folks around here might enjoy. They might actually have to think, and we can't have that.

However, I was teary towards the end, and the messages of this play came through loud and clear to me.

In the show, Lillian is an 84-year-old woman who dies. Her son comes home from Germany with his daughter to attend the funeral. He meets his cousin and they go into the house for an estate sale. The walls have been covered with dramatic and sometimes scary paintings, of planes in battle, children shooting one another, and other visions. We don't see these, but the director rightly allows our imagination to fill in these blanks. The family rifts and secrets come out, and Lillian's fears about the upcoming war (the play is set on the brink of the 1991 Gulf War) are discovered. The play covers a lot of ground in two hours.

The show continues on October 16, 17, and 18. For $12, it's a good way to spend some time, and who knows, you might feel a sting in your heart of hearts, like I did.

5 comments:

  1. You should be the play reviewer for the RT! I was amazed that the RT reviewer spent so much time telling the plot and then blasting the script of a play that's been around for a while and so little on how the actors performed. At least he liked the stage lighting.

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  2. Sounds excellent - I wish I could see it. Unfortunately I am on the wrong continent!

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  3. Glad you enjoyed the performance, even if the reviewer did not.

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  4. great review! i don't know why we haven't been over there to see anything yet...one day!

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  5. Ooh, that sounds really interesting. I'm not surprised about the Roanoke Times' review. The quality of that newspaper, like most, has gone way downhill in the last ten years.It has become a game for Kurt and I to announce the daily typos.

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