Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Theater for Theater People

We've all heard those horror stories about those auditions. You know, the ones where you're in there forever, it goes on and on, you think you vibe with the director, and then, nothing. Being Seen by Richard Gustin is an actor's existential audition crisis realized. An actress bares her soul, gives her life story, engages in exercises, all for the part of a lifetime. But the question the director must decide is when was she honest and when was she acting. With The Director rarely seen and mostly heard, The Actor performs for a voice she knows nothing about. Being Seen is a twisted comedy made for the theater person. It's filled with witty quips and references only the trained artist would know. But for those not in the field, the puppet master work by the Director and the willingly submissive actress is a case study all in itself. The script Gustin has written is wickedly smart. The dialogue is snappy, the conversations are genius, and with little to nothing happening, there is so much weight that is given to subtext.
Until the great reveal, Being Seen is a mammoth showcase for Allison Minick. She easily captivates and entertains. I think it's safe to say she booked any gig with this theatrical audition. William Youmans as the director gave so much power to the language of the piece through his voice. His emphasis and ability to control in the darkness was nothing short of magical. Youmans is a wizard with his words.
Director Mindy Cooper had an incredibly easy job. Everything was spelled out for her in Gustin's script. And yet Cooper still put her stamp on the production. There was never a dull moment and every beat had a purpose. The storytelling was sharp and precise.
Moving forward, finding a way to captivate a non-theater audience will be the key. The insiders will love it. Those people who don't know what's going on? They're the ones who will actually be paying and seeing. And judging.