Got a chance to see Rebecca Gilman’s new play. It’s been a little controversial amongst the SF theater hipsters because of the conflicting reviews. Robert Hurwitt says it “explores a contemporary Chekhovian vein, impressively balanced between biting wit and emotional depth.” Chloe Veltman calls it “a bland little drama” and says it’s “uninspiring.”
If I were a good blogger, I’d gin up the controversy by coming down on one side or the other. But alas, my Libran tendencies have won out: I’m right in the middle. On the one hand, I really dug the excellent acting, the perfect set, the sparkling dialogue. The first hour or so felt like being at a party with some interesting folks, who just happened to be perfectly divided into pro, con and undecided, so that the discussion was never one-sided. On the other hand, it felt about twenty minutes too long, which is rough for a 75 minute play.
Chloe blames conservative theaters’ “lack of nerve” (and does the one thing that I hate: saying definitively “theater should be” something, as if only one kind of theater deserves to exist — think how odd it would be to say “television should be a commentary on contemporary life set in space; nothing but Battlestar Galactica’s from now on”). But I personally blame the lack of outlets for one-act plays.
Think how many shows you’ve seen that would benefit by being 50 to 60 minutes long. Instead, they get stretched out to 70 and 80 minutes so that they have a chance to be produced. Nowadays, you’d never see a ZOO STORY paired with KRAPP’S LAST TAPE. Bring back the One Act! Okay.