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Talley's Folly - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Talley's Folly
After seeing the Lyric's Talley's Folly (we lost chenoameg!) I find that most of what I'm thinking about is differences/similarites to the dpolicar/chanaleh version. All the things I think about the play are still true - I still find Matt more sympathetic than Sally, the writing good, and so on. I found the Lyric Matt very like Dave's Matt, but the Lyric Sally much more different (both harder and more frightened, which meant I could maybe understand her a little more (though I guess having seen it once before helps with that), but like her a little less.). I wonder if this is because Matt's character (for me) is so tied up in the accents and voices?

The only thing that I really didn't like was the music during the Sally-confesses confrontration. My first instinctive reaction was "oh for God's sake, is that someone's cell phone?" Then I realized it was music from the bandstand (there's a line about it), but even so, it made my entire emotional reaction to that scene one of annoyance at the noisemusic as opposed to a reaction to anything going on on stage.

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Comments
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: April 13th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
The sounds effects were all strangely abrupt and brief like that. I found most of the physical stage business awkward, as well, which is odd for the Lyric.

One interesting acting/directing difference I noted between this and TAF/my default imagined version was the level of explicit flirtiness, especially from Matt. Among other things, it somehow made their not-young-ness a little more real for me, but I didn't entirely like it. Matt ended up seeming too smarmy, for one thing...though that was also related to him emphasizing the happy/confident side of the character more than I might have chosen to, I think.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: April 13th, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
we lost chenoameg!)

I fell victim to no good deed going unpunished. While I was out yesterday afternoon a family locked out of their car borrowed my cell phone to call AAA, but the call took 20 minutes. I wasn't willing to punt any of my plans for the day, so I left my house for the T at 6:40pm, just missed a train in Davis, and was still waiting for a train at Downtown crossing at 7:35pm, so I gave up and went home.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 13th, 2006 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not so much help now, but for future runnings-late, I think taking the Green line to Copley ends up faster than the orange line to Back Bay, just because there are so many more green trains. (It's farther outside for cold/rainy days, though)
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: April 13th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good point, I never think about how close the theater is to Copley, although I've walked much of that area before.
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: April 13th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking about this after I saw the Lyric production (and got to talk to the cast, which still curls my toes).

The biggest difference I noticed between his Matt and mine had to do with centeredness. I think his Matt _needed_ Sally more than mine did... was constantly off-balance leaning towards her. Not so much physically, although of course there was some of that, but emotionally. It made his Matt pushier in some ways, weaker in others, less amusing, more vulnerable, less ironic. It helped position Sally as stronger and harsher. In a lot of ways I think it worked better than my more withdrawn Matt.

Which has gotten me thinking about the difference between playing a role in isolation and playing part of a group, which was cool.
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: April 13th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm, I was almost about to say...well, not quite the opposite. But I think they had many flashes of strong connection, surrounded by a more isolated-from-each-other baseline, than you guys did. Partly because their Sally was more strongly closed off more of the time, but their Matt was also more...self-conscious? calculating? consciously playing for effect, rather than being naturally playful?

He did *also* play a lot more emotional on the parts where he's emotionally stressed; in general, both of them played everything with the gain turned waaay up. Not quite over the top, but getting there. Sometimes that worked well for me, sometimes it didn't.
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: April 13th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with pretty much everything you say here. Their Matt was _all about Sally_, all the time, in a very active way that wasn't necessarily very nice. Mine was always _aware_ of Sally, but in a much more "This is who I am, and I'm gambling you're gonna want that" kind of way.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 13th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
To start a subthread in the middle of this - what do people think the purpose of Matt's third-wall-breaking is? (clocking it in at 97 minutes, getting the dog noise, etc). To make it feel more like a reminiscence and less like something happening now? To give more weight to Matt as in control of the scene? I still don't quite know what to make of it, myself.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 13th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your Matt was more amusing, which I think comes from the things you said. It made you more enjoyable to watch, but it did make me think more strongly in the TAF show that Matt deserves someone better than Sally. (But again, I was probably very influenced by knowing how it turned out. The first time, the idea of Sally hiding in the kitchen ALL DAY while Matt waited lost her tons of my sympathy, whereas this time I already knew she did that...)
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: April 13th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sally is interesting that way. She's profoundly broken, but high-functioning. It's only when she's pushed to the end of her coping mechanisms that she starts to do completely insane things. It's a tough role.
From: tirinian Date: April 13th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I kept thinking about the comparisons to the TAF show at the beginning, but it mostly fell away as I got into the show. The one thing I did notice again was in Sally's big reveal, I only barely noticed what Matt was expecting the reveal to be, where in the TAF show I was totally clear what Matt was expecting and was expecting the same thing. Sadly, I have no idea if that's actually a difference in the shows, or if I just knew what the reveal was the second time.

I do think it's more Matt's show than Sally's (he does far more of the talking, even if you don't include the monologue at the beginning), so maybe it's harder to do different takes on him, 'cause he's better developed in the text?
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: April 13th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's more constrained by the text than Sally is, I think. Not sure I'd say better-developed, though maybe. He sure does have the bulk of the words.

I don't think it's just that you knew what the reveal was... I noticed that too, it wasn't really clear what was happening in Matt's head there.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 13th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
it wasn't really clear what was happening in Matt's head there.

This was definitely true for me, but that's because about 70% of what was happening in my head was "I need to stop paying attention to the damned music" :)
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: April 13th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I first saw this play when I was 10 or so, and it's been a favorite since (I convinced a friend to put it on with me in 8th grade as an independant project, and I've read it at scriptreads and things once in a while over the years). Until I saw it at TAF--as an adult, in the company of other adults who hadn't seen it before, I hadn't been bothered by this question, but now I am and was particularly noticing it watching the Lyric show (I don't think this was necessarily due to the production as just that I was primed to think about it). To wit:

Matt must have a theory *from the top of the show* what he thinks Sally's secret is. Mustn't he? He has explicitly been told that there is a secret, anyhow; I suppose the new information Sally gives him is that it involves a broken engagement. OK, maybe that means it does make sense for him to not have a pre-formed theory, which is the way I always read it before, and which gets rid of the problem of why he's suddenly upset about it when he hasn't been bothered for the whole beginning of the show. Never mind, then. :)

(But another question that occured to me more strongly this time, because Sally showed an explicit reaction: Matt warns her that he's here to talk marriage very early on ("I came to talk to your father, I hear that's how things are done in these parts"), and yet she reacts to the more explicit later reference (about changing her name) as though it's a big surprise. Anyone care to comment? :) )
visage From: visage Date: April 13th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I only barely noticed what Matt was expecting the reveal to be, where in the TAF show I was totally clear what Matt was expecting and was expecting the same thing. Sadly, I have no idea if that's actually a difference in the shows, or if I just knew what the reveal was the second time.

This is the first time I've seen the show, and it was pretty clear to me what his theory was.
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