the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

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To Be ... or not.

We took in a play last night at the annual Fringe Festival. It was something that one of atara's co-workers had written, and it was his first work every accepted and produced, so we were intrigued.

It was campy, and quite funny in spots, but it was very rough around the edges in both production and writing. I would rate it as good, but far from great - and I count the rough charm of it as what pushed it over into good. The premise of the play was wonderfully off-the-wall, and the writer managed to sneak a few cute twists into what was looking to be a parade of standard tropes.

For me, the biggest failing was that the dialogue sounded very scripted. It was not the (sometimes awkward) delivery from the actors that made it sound that way, but the slightly unnatural patterns of speech. Writing natural-sounding dialogue is one of the toughest things to teach and learn, so I am sure he will grow into it if he continues writing. The trick is learning what compromises you need to make in your jokes in order for them to sound like something someone would actually say.

A lot of the dialogue suffered from what I think of as the "Love Boatification" of writing. I consider that series to be just about the nadir of sitcoms, right down there with other shows of that era (like "Three's Company"). The dialogue in those shows followed a very formulaic pattern of Line -> Retort -> Counter-Retort -> Punchline. At each stage, the actors would pause to wait for the next line in the chain, and pause longer for the canned laughter and applause when the punchline was delivered.

It wasn't all bad - in fact some of the funniest moments of the play included clever wordplay and unexpected twists. I was pleasantly surprised when what seemed like just a surreal, throw-away encounter earlier in the play became a pivotal plot device toward the end.

I probably would not recommend it as a first choice for others who were going to The Fringe, but it was a fun little romp.
Tags: fringe, oracle, suff
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