April 2nd, 2009


Speech & Debate

I had been wondering, recently, if I was losing my interest in theater. I've lost interest in other things - I don't play Assassin or board games any more, I don't watch much televsion. A lot of the plays I've seen recently haven't really grabbed me, and a lot of the plays I've seen with other people, they've been, mmm, less critical than I was. So maybe I was just burning out on theater? That would be sad.

Speech and Debate at the Lyric Stage really grabbed me. I have not sheerly enjoyed a play that much in a long time.

My metric continues to be Noel Coward: "I will accept anything in the theatre . . . provided it amuses or moves me. But if it does neither, I want to go home."

Maybe I'm moved less than I should be. Endgame, for me, was "It's the end of the world and he's keeping his parents in garbage cans until they die, but it's okay, because since none of the characters are believable people, you don't really care." And I didn't care - didn't care that it was a seminal work by a master playwright, or that the actors are brilliant (and they are!), or that the Boston Globe said that the show was exhilarating. It didn't move me, and it didn't amuse me, and then I went home.

But, my goodness, Speech and Debate amused me greatly, and moved me quite a bit. The characters were only exaggerated enough to be a bit larger than life without being wrong for high schoolers, and the main actors were amazing and completely unknown to me.

I tend to stand in ovations because everyone else already has, and it feels petty to remain seated just because the play wasn't to my own taste. This time I didn't have to wait for anyone else to stand up first, and it's nice to have a show, maybe every few years, that I want to leap to my feet for.
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