It doesn’t take superpowers to pick up the sound of people blabbing about two of Spoleto’s end-of-festival arrivals: playwright Daniel MacIvor’s (below) charming, funny A Beautiful View at Emmett Robinson Theatre and Danny Hoch’s hip-hop-themed solo-show in the same space, which just opened last night.
MacIvor and his actors, Tracy Wright and Caroline Gillis, have crafted a delicate, wonderfully nuanced look at two flawed women who can’t figure out if they’re in love or not, or even if they want to be. The naturalistic acting and MacIvor’s tight script are so of a piece with the lighting and sound design, it’s as if they all came together
organically – which in fact they did, a technique common to all of MacIvor’s productions with his theatre company, da da kamera. Using a bare black stage, a small silver boombox, a plastic fig tree, a portable tent, a couple of wooden fold-out chairs and matching red and blue hoodies, A Beautiful View presented 75 minutes of
beautiful understatement, in which we focused on two compelling characters and the connections between them.
As with Geisha, though, some audience members wanted more spectacle, a few more bells and whistles. There’s also been some muted grumbling about the fact that the two main characters and love interests are — how to put it delicately — carpet munchers (though one of the funniest moments in the play comes after their first hookup,
when each claims to be straight, worried that the other is a lesbian). The ending, too, has provided fodder for chatter. I won’t give it away – at least, not until after the festival — but you sure don’t see it coming. Though it’s not for a lack of hints in the lead up.
Regarding Hoch, when I saw him with Mike Daisey at Wednesday’s ‘Conversations With’ program, I found him to be one of the most thoughtful, articulate, and intelligent artists I’ve encountered in a long time (though Bill T. Jones runs a close second). The word is that his opening-night performance at the Emmett Robinson last night, as expected, had some confused audience members (a lily-white crowd) wondering where the break-dancing and rhyming was. And there’s every indication that the Holtians who see his show (a wonderful new word, coined by blog commenters to describe Spoletians like Blind Date’s Drive-By Booer, David Holt, who want to see nothing but happy, pretty, strictly entertaining things on stage) will be declaiming their dismay at the sad, traumatized, afflicted characters he channels and the street language he uses throughout the show. I say fuck ’em. I can’t wait to see Hoch’s show tonight.
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