Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back to school

Well, it was fun using the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre for the last two meetings, but in practice, it didn't work as well as we thought. There was little room for the actors to sit between the edge of the set and the house, and the sound wasn't as good as we though.

For this reason, we moved back into our old classroom for this month's meeting, and will continue to meet there from here on out. This also allows us to go back to our second Monday of the month schedule, since we're no longer dependent on the move-in/move-out dates of of the shows in the theatre.

We had an excellent turnout, 16 people, which was our best turnout in months. And we only had four scripts, our lowest count in months. I've got to admit, it was nice having time to discuss each of the plays in detail, and still getting out by 9pm. Whether it makes sense to reduce the number of scripts per meeting is something I plan to explore.

We opened with the beginning of Sue Bachman's new drama, Ladies of the Chameleon. In it, the recently widowed Cynthia dishes to her best friend Maggie about the man who has swept her off her feet. Some said it was suspenseful and that they liked Cynthia's nervousness, while others thought it needed tightening. One person suggested that it might be fun to add a dash of alcohol, with the women revealing more and more about themselves as they get drunk.

Next up was Grant Swenson's 10-minute comedy Quest for the Golden Moustache. He originally wrote it for a collection of four short plays that start the same and end up going in different directions, with this one being the comedic one. Here, a teenage girl is sent by her father on a quest for happiness, only to find her real father at the end. The audience thought there was a nice contrast between the flippant attitudes of Tessa's teenage friends and the serious theme of parental abandonment that the play addresses. But some thought the characters weren't differentiated enough, and several thought that Tessa accepted her new father too quickly.

After that we read Snow White - Alternate Ending, the rewrite of a 10-minute comedy that Jeff Schmoyer brought to Drama Lab a year or two ago. He did a great job beefing up the humor, as both the audience and actors laughed a lot. Everybody liked the rapid-fire dialogue and thought that the Disney-with-a-twist-of-sass characters were fun. There was some concern that the contemporary references might quickly date the play, but others said those could easily be generalized in the script.

We finished up with the next scene from my old-time radio farce The Last Radio Show. In it, we get a Frankenstein spoof called "The Thing with Two Spleens". The consensus was that this show-within-a-show was not as funny as the previous three and that it needs to be to keep the energy rising. The audience also didn't like ending of this show, feeling that it was anticlimatic to have the Monster merely dent the wall of the lab rather than burst through to cause even more havoc.

Our next meeting is Monday, December 14. See you all then!

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