Sunday, January 12, 2014

just read the book

Gina wanted to do something different for a date night and so I agreed to do something different.  She wanted to go see the stage version of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce at the Alabama Theater in Birmingham.

I don't have much to write about it because I fell asleep fifteen minutes into it.  Three actors played all the characters in the play.  Though I had read the book many times in my life, there was always enough to go back and glean from the story.  Having just three actors in this play seemed to make the story on stage hard to follow.  It wasn't long before I got tired of trying to follow it.  I understand that it was probably a budgetary decision to keep the cast slim, but the story I believe would have been better told with a full bus load.  I also didn't care for the Lewis character being played by all three actors, often simultaneously.  It just cheapened the experience for me.  At times I felt like I was watching a high school play.

When the play was over, Gina asked if I had indeed fallen to sleep.  That was a fifty dollar admission per person and I had taken a nice nap.  When she had asked me to go with her, she requested that I not walk out if I didn't like it...and I didn't. She asked me what I thought of what I did see and I told her that I could've given her a better time at home just reading the book to her.

The only thing good about this play is the poster that greeted us at the front door.  It was a hat tip to Rene Magrette.  If it were me though, I would've left off the 'Heaven' and 'Hell' text and allow the illustration to be ambiguous and a little more surreal...but that's just the graphic designer in me.  I like the poster art.

What could've been would be nicer.  If the director had interjected British dialects with these characters.  C.S. Lewis was a Brit after all and I can't read his work without hearing it in my head.  I did appreciate was that the fellow that played George MacDonald had a nice thick Irish brogue in the play.  I wished that they would've interjected more British flavor.

The sets were okay, but where's the bus?  Maybe that was just too tall an order for a stage play, but not having the bus is like having Dr. Who without his Tardis.  The backdrop consisted of rear screen projections.  It have been nicer if that Magrette feel of the poster was carried over in the images.  The heaven and hell of Lewis' The Great Divorce are surreal places.  I think it would have been facinating to push the surreality of the book with Magrette like images.  And please - just one Jack Lewis per play.

Though I didn't care it, I would have liked to have seen Max McLean's version of The Screwtape Letters.  It received great reviews and I'm sure I missed out on a good show.
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