Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Drive By/The Swan

So, yeah...just a wee update.

firstly: The Anti-Elmo

Life continues apace, folks, as it is wont to do. Work has been particularly hectic, and things are bubbling in the ol' personal life. The fact that I have one still, is remarkable in and of itself. Behind the scenes, I'm pulling a lot of elements together, so that's taking some time.


I have to take some space here to recommend the lyamhound's latest show: The Swan.

It's a twisty little piece, taking the form of a modern epic fable, and its subject matter is so much light-weight frivolity: Love, and Its Ability to Transform Those In Its Thrall.

Quibbles could be had with the script (which is strong regardless), but by and large, the show, like most, depends on the strengths of the performances to carry it through. And in this instance, we have three quite distinctly strong performances to sink our teeth into. Kudos to Grant Knutson for pulling together this cast. Kudos, also, for Knutson's verve and wisdom in creating some amazing pictures while serving the show's absurdist humor quite well, indeed.

Dennis Kleinsmith(as Kevin)turns what could be a threatening blowhard into a maddening example of what's wrong with "nice guys" in general. Beth Peterson delivers what I consider to be her strongest perfomance yet, as Dora, a befuddled woman whose bad luck at love has left her more than a little ambivalent when it comes to matters of the heart. Dora's relationship with Kevin has all the earmarks of a relationship based on convenience: boredom, ennui, and exasperating tediousness.

Then, narratively, along comes the titular Swan. It's probably not hard to guess that Dora's initial motherly attention to the swan (which she names Bill) becomes something else, and that it will have an effect on the other characters in the show, but I won't tell you what that something else is. That is a journey I highly recommend for you to take.

What I can tell you is that Kleinsmith's and Peterson's great performances would come to naught if it wasn't for Lyam White's magnetic effort as Bill*. And this isn't mere praise, it simply is. You need a strong Swan presence for the story mechanics of the show to work.

White virtually thrums as the Swan**. Attention to animalistic detail in terms of mannerisms and characteristics is there in spades, and one doesn't think of him as anything other than a swan. Kick ass.

There's a lot to think about here, all of it very adult and intelligent; which would be enough if the company hadn't also transformed one of the more problematic performance spaces in Seattle into something that suited their needs quite well. Images replay themselves in my head repeatedly. Not least of which is a climactic image of two of the characters staring yearningly at each other...this still haunts me.

Anyway, yaddabladda, go see the freakin' show.

*Am I biased? Well, it's no secret that Ly's a good friend of mine, but let me put it to you this way: If I didn't like it, you wouldn't be reading this.

**White has already been told that if he complains about being fat again, he will be punched where he fucks. A threat I intend to follow through on, no matter what Xtine sez.--tbo


At 7:45 PM, Blogger amandak said...

Ooohh, I WISH I could have seen it.

So jealous.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

...virtually thrums...

thrum v. - to recite tiresomely or monotonously, to sound with a monotonous tone.

Dude, he's your friend. How can you say shit like that about him in public?

What a dick.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Depending on your source, "thrum" can be more specifically (or maybe more broadly) defined as any hum or drone, as in a mantra or that deep, earthy buzz that some people hear according to a recurring news magazine report; there's a long tradition of referring to someone's performance "humming" or "buzzing".

Yes, I know you're being facetious.

Funny enough, the first definition on dictionary.com had to do with sewing or weaving. You can imagine my initial confusion . . .

At 11:07 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Yes, I know you're being facetious.

But pedantry is uncontrollable reflex?

I'm looking forward to seeing the show, but don't know when yet. Have to shake off this damnable toddler.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

But pedantry is uncontrollable reflex?

Just as it is yours to be a dick.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Touche', Papi-word-on-high

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Missuz J said...

Le sigh.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Stine said...

White virtually thrums as the Swan**

- oh honey, ain't all he's "thrummin'"

And I will personally hunt you down, skin your testicles, and eat the refuse for my meal if you punch my Swan where he fucks.

Just saying.

And yes, go see this show, and I'm not even being biased, my boy rocks! During one scene, he also jumps from the floor to the top of a friggin fridge, in one leap. He Bruce Lee-d the shit outta that role.

I like poultry.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

all I'm saying is dude needs to gain at least 40 pounds before he can start complaining...

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Stine said...

Oh I agree with you darling, I'm just saying, let's find a less "affects the fucking mechanism" punishment for the Mr. and his faggy, "I'm so FAT" ways...

We'll talk...you and I will break him of this shit one way or another. Of course, you may still be in a "mood"...so who knows what that may mean.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

I have an idea! I'll punch him where he fucks when he complains about being too fat. How's that?

At 10:44 PM, Blogger PJoyLynn said...

love the anti-elmo.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

Question for artists, arts administrators and, perhaps most importantly, arts consumers who visit this neck of the woods . . .

To what degree does one pay attention to reviews?

In light of this and this (4th show down) (neither of which, by the way, I find particularly discouraging, because this show is decidedly odd, the choices at our fintertips equally so, and the whole effect could be off-putting, or at least an acquired taste; and even more, the fact that, despite not liking my vocal choices, the Times reviewer actually referred to me in print as "sexy", tickles me to no end), I find myself asking the usual questions about critics and reviews: Do fringe companies rely on reviews as the one form of financially equalizing marketing? Do critics and their opinions accurately or adequately represent the thoughts and interests of the audience at large?

Obviously, adjusting the show for critics (or anyone else) once open is as close to a sin as a good relativist like me is likely to acknowledge, regardless of the validity of the criticism. And I'm not inclined to take any of these reviews to heart (indeed, the criticisms in each review point fingers at different aspects of the play, which indicates to me that they were troubled, and couldn't quite put their fingers on why . . . which sounds like success to me). I mean, as we've seen, the music and cinema I've appreciated over the years is often subject to misunderstanding by critics and audiences alike.

On the other hand, ignoring the critics is stock in trade for movies and CDs. Theatre . . . well, I don't know. I tend to find that theatre people fancy themselves more educated, more "academic", than fans of more "populist" art forms. As such, they may be more susceptible to "corruption" by a perceived critical consensus (not that these reviews represent much of a consensus). Or maybe not. I'm half questioning, half musing on the matter. Thoughts?

At 9:00 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

What the fuck is this doing here? It is such a great topic, and had you put it on your blog I wouldn't have so easily handed out my snarkiness about putting some theorizing out there.

I have lots of thoughts, but I'm not sharing them until you put this up on your blog where it belongs. And then we can throw down.

(You know the last SH!TSTORM had this as the BONE.)

At 4:40 PM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

I don't know if there's much to "throw down", but it's on the blog if you're just dying to pick a fight.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Hell yeah! But, poor choice of words on my part. I just meant it was really interesting.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I have an idea! I'll punch him where he fucks when he complains about being too fat. How's that?

I've been thinking about this whole punch-him-where-he-fucks idea, and I think it is a good one for two reasons.

1) You probably only need to get punched where you fuck once to change your behavior.

2) Beigey hits like a little girl with a calcium deficiency, so the chances of permanent damage are slim.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Missuz J said...

Where ya been beigy pants?


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