There’s lots of plays going on, Excuse me for whining about lackluster ticket sales. I always do that. It comes with performing plays about stillbirth. I had a co-worker tell me to my face, “I can’t see your show.” I said I understand, we’re all busy. She emphasized, “No … I can’t see it.”
A number of the shows which opened with mine are closing at the same time. Last week I caught a matinee of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It’s not regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greater works, but the production at Great Lakes this month has been something to see.
The last time - the only time I have ever seen it was at school. It was not a well-produced production. The costumes looked like the designer said, “hey, I’ve got an idea, let’s go through the stock and choose the outfit that best represents your character!” Honestly, I think that was the design. Matt Glave, he of The Wedding Singer and Baby’s Day Out played Proteus. That’s about all I remember about the production.*
At GLTF that part is legendary because it’s the one that we like to remind everyone started Tom Hanks career. He won an award from the local critics for the performance. I have no doubt it was a memorable performance.
There was a scheduling conflict with the man playing Proteus this season, and as a result my boyfriend Eric Perusek was in the right place and right time to be assigned the role for three matinees in the middle of the run. I caught it last week. If I didn’t know him, or that he was an understudy, I wouldn’t have been able to tell, he walked in so seamlessly. It’s a lovely rendition of a slight story … Proteus loves Julia. His friend Valentine meets Silvia, falls for Silvia. Proteus meets Silvia, becomes obsessed with Silvia, conspires to ruin Valentine so he can have her … and in the end he realizes he’s been an idiot, Julia takes him back, everyone is happy.
What? Oh, nothing. All right, carry on.
This production was bolsetered by what it did not do, which was try to explain away Proteus’s actions. He is smitten, stupidly so, and gets over it. Eric did that very well. And for the high school audience I watched it with, one pop in the nose from Valentine was all it took to snap Proteus out of it -- and also send shockwaves of reaction through a very tense and worried crowd of teenagers.
Then there’s the singing and the music. It’s a big, heartsick lovesong, this production. I was very happy with it. It made me happy.
*Sounds like I am dissing Mr. Glave, doesn't it. That's wrong, I am not, it was Shakespeare's script and an uninteresting production concept. Before he left O.U. I entirely fell in love with Mr. Glave as Betty/Gerry and the entire company of "Cloud 9". (Glave, seated on the floor.)