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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Night at Intiman

Posted by on September 14 at 13:26 PM

Moonlight and Magnolias opened at the Intiman last night. I’ll leave the review to Brendan Kiley, who’s writing about it in next week’s paper, but I walked away thinking two things:

1) Since when can you drink in the theater? Is this what happens when a theater wins a Tony? Everyone gets to drink their cocktails during the show? A nice development.

2) No amount of drinking could make Moonlight and Magnolias a good show. At one point the characters are sitting around talking about the movies—they’re filmmakers—and one says: “The movies are dead. Over. This industry’s finished.” In my mind I was replacing the word “movies” with “theater.” Not much later, one of the characters says: “Ask yourself: why do we do this, fellows? Why do we put ourselves through it?”

My question exactly.

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When's the last time you went out for a night of theater? The Intiman has allowed drinks in their auditorium for at least the last two years.

Yeah, in-house booze is one of the great consolations prizes of the post-9/11 theater slump. So glad it's sticking around, and too bad about Moonlight & Magnolias...

I thought the policy was that you can bring drinks into the auditorium only if they are mit lid.

I thought you were leaving the review to someone else.

Normally you can only drink before or during intermission - one isn't supposed to take drinks into the theaters, unless it's a dress rehearsal or special event (e.g. cocoa for a Yuletide Experience).

you may want to call the Intiman.... they have been allowing drinks INSIDE the theater for some time now...not just the dress rehearsals.

I hate to slam a theatre because I know how difficult it can be to be a successful company, but I don’t think it says much about the Tony regional award that Intiman won it this last year. Sure Intiman can be great when doing new adventurous stuff like Nickel and Dimed or The Light in the Piazza, or having Craig Lucas direct Loot. Loved Nick Garrison as Nurse Fay! But then the rest of the season is just crap filler. I saw Arms and the Man which was directed by the artistic director and it stank. I’ve seen better high school productions. Not to mention the awful Mystery of Irma Vep. I read a review where they blamed the play for the production being bad. I saw Mystery in S.F. at the Magic Theatre and I was literally rolling in the aisles, so it couldn’t be the play. I just can’t afford to subscribe to a theatre where 50% of their stuff is bad.

And I will never, ever, ever, understand why Seattle theatres keep casting John Procacinno. He’s not only a horrible actor but he stinks at movie reviews. Okay, Laurance Ballard I love. Sometimes I just want to see some new talent rather than the same old guys over and over. And while Seattle has a huge list of regular male actors, you’d be hard pressed to come up with more than 2 women.

The best theatre in town is being done at the fringe theatres. Even if you don’t like it, at least you’re surprised. It’s much better than the same predictable mainstage crap. Empty Space, Arts West, Theatre Schmeater, etc, this is where it’s happening.

These same actors keep getting hired for the simple reason that they've developed a "good old boys network" over the past 30 years or so with the directors who have established themselves at the big houses.

You'll see new actors onstage at those theatres when they start hiring new directors.

Theatre Brat--

Could that have been my review you read? I stand by it. The Mystery of Irma Vep is tired. The production was also horrible, but the play really didn't belong at the Intiman in 2005.

In the meantime, Theater Schmeater, "happening"? You're off your rocker. WET, yes, Empty Space, maybe. Theater Schmeater is in a major holding pattern--and Arts West, while they sometimes produce a good show, is hopelessly retrograde w/r/t programming.

Old people have stagnated theatre. It's a vicious cycle. They're the only audience willing to shell out, so major troupes do out-of-touch shows catering to them, which disconnects them from mainstream America and fails to generate a new audience, outside of the tiny sects of diehard theatre kids. And so major theatre fails to significantly evolve.

Also, asking $50-60 to see a show is fucking ridiculous when one can see a movie for $10 (or at home for free or much less) or a concert for $5-20.

They're doing it to themselves. I personally draw the line for theatre shows at $15. Thus I see a lot of smaller shows, and I find the quality is pretty good. The marginal utility per dollar for the major shows just isn't worth it. Thus the Intiman and other major houses won't get my money.

Wow, Mr. Frizzelle. If that's the way you feel about theater, then it's small wonder that your reviews are painful to read and consist of little actual journalism. Frankly, the majority of The Stranger staff who review theater in this town come off that way, in fact. A notable exception is Bret Fetzer; at least we know he actually enjoys the medium. Makes me miss Joe Boling even more every time I read unhelpful reviews -- he was never anything less than fair.

I agree with the comment about Schmeater. I find their seasons not only stagnant, but on the misogynistic side as well. Seattle (and most of the rest of the country) has one non-union male actor for every six non-union females. It would be nice to see some more of those women used to advantage in productions.

Note: alcohol sales are a large part of what keep theater, particularly fringe theater, alive in Seattle -- *not* ticket sales. So drink up.

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