Their fellow performers wrestle with the tricky requirements of acting through their own bunraku-style puppets, director Andrew Moore's device relating to the human monsters that inhabit Juana's dark universe. It's an intriguing approach, but one that calls for considerable refinement, as does Moore's realization of the play overall.
Not an unfair statement at all. Juana is a very ambitious production, and no doubt an extra week or two of rehearsal, as well as another grand or so in the budget would have yielded more polished results. The lesson I take from this is that I didn't go far enough with the minimalism. As a theatre maker, I believe in exploiting weaknesses, and turning them into assets. I could have gone much further.
I am happy that the Times reviewer got what we were trying to do with the puppets. That pleases me.
The Tolucan Times review hasn't yet shown up online, which is a damn shame. It's a great review!
Thoughtfully conceived by director Andrew Moore, the play employs puppets as metaphors for how others manipulated and controlled Juana's life.
Go Team Metaphor!
The Backstage West reviewer didn't seem to appreciate ... well, anything:
But director Andrew Moore has made so many unfortunate choices and has been saddled with so many unhelpful circumstances, the story of the betrayal of Juana ... over 30 years by her father, husband, and son feels exhausting.
I take that back. He raves about the very talented Phillip Kelly, as well he should.
So there you have it. Three reviews from three publications, reflecting three very different takes on our humble little production.
I remain very proud of my actors, designers and tech staff. I am deeply thankful to have had the opportunity to work with the wonderful Erin Scott, my stage manager, a complete professional in every sense of the word. She was a godsend. And I would be completely remiss if I didn't also publicly acknowledge Colleen Reilly, the true artistic producer of this play, whose tireless dedication kept me going. Write Act Rep is a great place to make theatre, no doubt about it.
So, that pretty much raps things up. The show closes on December 15th, and there will no doubt be a post-mortem at that time. For now, in the words of Dave Grohl, "done, I'm done, and I'm on to the next one."