One of the benefits of being an Artistic Associate at Magic Theatre is that I get invited to the first rehearsal of new plays, such as the one that opened this season, Goldfish by John Kolvenbach.
One of the very few downsides with having a show of my own in production is that I didn’t actually get to attend said rehearsal, nor the opening, nor any production of it until yesterday. It opened on the same day of our final dress and closes the day after our closing, so I had to do a little maneuvering to finally get a chance to see the show last night.
Man, I’m glad I did. Kolvenbach is a great writer. In fact, here’s what I said off the top of my head when emailing a fellow Magic Literary Committee member about the show, after she mentioned that playwrights in particular have been going out of their way to praise the play:
I’m not surprised playwrights are digging it; there’s some great dialogue there, with brilliant performances to bring it to life. I really enjoyed how he was able to make the emotions front and center without either resorting to irony on the one hand or getting maudlin and soap opera-ish on the other.
And I fully agree with what Nathaniel Eaton said in SF Weekly:
Last year, when Loretta Greco was hired as artistic director for the Magic Theatre, she said she wanted to bring back some of the Sam Shepard-esque energy to its productions. With playwright John Kolvenbach’s Goldfish, she (serving here as director too) does just that.
It’s a great script with powerful acting. And here’s the coolest part, if you jump on it: They’re running Goldfish in rep with Kolvenbach’s follow-up to the play, called Mrs. Whitney, featuring one of the best characters in Goldfish, set five years later.
You can even see both shows the same night, with a dinner served in-between. The last two marathons are Nov 6 and Nov 7, then Goldfish closes on the 8th and Mrs. Whitney continues until Nov 22. Knowing me, I’ll squeak in and catch it the very last week, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
In fact, you should go to the marathon, see them both the same day, and then go to the comments here and tell me what the experience is like. I’d love to do it, but, as I said, my play’s running those exact dates. So there you go.