Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kill Shakespeare (Strawdog Hugen Hall) (Review by Anthony Tournis)

I was sitting on a beach drinking a Margarita. I was out. Gone. Never going to write
another review again. “Good riddance” I mumbled. It had been a while since my last review but
the image was still burned in my mind. The deadlines…the screaming…the sexual harassment.
As the sound of the surf gently lulled me into a much anticipated slumber I could make out a
man in a white suit coming towards me. This did not bode well. The concierge approached, my
palms started to sweat. “Phone for you, senor” he said with an almost innocent quality. He
didn’t know who was on the other line, and if he did he would probably pray to the god that he
held so dear that this phone call was quick. As he handed me the phone I could see a bead of
sweat trickle down the side of his forehead. That bead of sweat sealed my fate. I put the
receiver to my ear, “It’s time.” That was all that was said. The concierge looked at me with pity.
I looked at him as I rose from my cabana chair, grim determination in my eyes. “Pray for me,
Joaquim. Pray for me.”

On Monday night I saw the latest offering by Strawdog Theater in the form of a graphic
novel come to life…Kill Shakespeare. I read the Kill Shakespeare books when they first came
out. In fact, I reviewed them. I liked them a lot. Read my original view if you want my take on
the story. This version of Kill Shakespeare is unique in its own right. I have never seen anything
like it before. It has the charm of a radio play, the beauty of an art exhibit, and the communal
feeling of a silent film. A lot of thought and technical prowess went into developing this
experience and it really shows. This show is a multi media monster which is tamed by the
incredibly capable designers and crew. From the top notch vocal performances to the insanely
great original music, I and my fellow audience members were thoroughly entertained. This is
the point in the review when I would single out certain performances that I enjoyed more than
others but I can’t do that. Everyone who lent their vocal talents to this show should be
commended on a fantastic job. This is the true definition of an ensemble. The art is absolutely
stunning as well because it is the original art from the graphic novel, only projected in HD. It’s
beautiful. The staging is interesting to say the least. The audience faces two white screens
which have the panels of the comic book projected upon them. The actors stand at the back of
the space and watch the panels as they give their lines to match the panels. It does take a
second to get used to if your brain isn’t trained to read the panels of a comic book, but you pick
up on it quickly and are really able to follow the story.

This shittiest part of this show is that it is coming to an end. I wish that I had seen this
show sooner so I could tell you all to go and see it right now. If this show ever has a second
incarnation, run to see it. If you don’t, then you’re dumb.

Pulling me out of retirement – D

Show rating – A

-Anthony Tournis

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