OCR Interpretation

The Cannon. (Watertown, N.Y.) 1992-current, December 01, 2014, Image 7

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Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/np00010013/2014-12-01/ed-1/seq-7/

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enteRtAinment December 2014 / Pg. 7 Te Cannon Teater Review: Much Ado About Nothing By Tomas Bauschke Collaborator Te audience hushed and the curtain parted, but the lights never dimmed! Te production of Much Ado about Nothing was presented by the touring troupe of Te American Shakespeare Center (ASC), which hails from Stanton, Virginia. Perfor- mances by the ASC ran at Saint Law- rence University in Canton at Eben- Holden Hall from October 2nd-5th as part of their 2014-2015 Method in Madness Tour and also included presentations of Doctor Faustus and Hamlet . Tis luminous play wed- ded refned Shakespearian tradition with resounding modern relevance. A classic romantic comedy that hath nary a death — but feigned, this pursuit cleverly rounds out the tale with two unexpected marriages. It’s a twisting, turning, hilarious story to accomplish itsmerry end. “Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.” Curtain was promptly at 7:30pm, with the actors having pro- vided their own musical entertain- ment beginning one half hour prior. Te show played in the round — that is, with the audience seated closely around three sides of the stage. Au- dience members were hence ofen directly involved in the action. “Bea- trice”, for instance, hid behind a be- wildered and thrilled little girl. Te cast gave inspired per- formances one and all and the au- dience intimacy within a context of our modern 21st century is truly in keeping with the original tradition of Shakespeare’s own Globe Teater company, Te King’s Men, playing to their own audience in late 16th century London, England. Charm- ing. Te play was directed by Benjamin Curns, who has performed with the ASC since 2001: “We are a theater of imagination, not a theater of technology.” Te production used only one modest stage background of curtains and a few simple props, allowing the cast to play casually yet directly to the audience and in a well lit room, as Shakespeare’s troupe had. Indeed, Te American Shake- speare Center’s motto is “We do it with the lights on.” Te experience was refresh- ing and delightful. Te action pleas- antly evolved at a noble pace, but without feeling rushed, because the ASC’s forthright production shook of those annoying pauses for scene changes. Tis unpretentious com- pany of actors has built its world re- nowned repertoire around the capi- tal idea that they forego accepted convention and façade, instead play- ing to and for each audience alone — and it shows. Tere is a method in such madness. Te Bard would be proud. Tis troupe did not rely on elabo- rate sets or lavish costumes; they instead championed clear, relevant language, costumes and music; well- paced action; and genuine, spon- taneous emotion to relate directly with the audience. Musical segues and inter- ludes were performed by the ac- tors themselves, playing a variety of acoustic instruments. No micro- phones were needed in this well-nigh cozy setting. Tus the action kept moving by avoiding any distractions of an orchestra. Cast members play- ing various instruments aforded their characters greater depth and tallied ample, timely moments for sentiment and humor alike. Musical selections included Lady Gaga and Mumford and Sons. Such relevant links with today’s culture dispelled any hint of ancient pretense by con- veying the tone of their inspired per- formance into a modern and easily understandable context. Tey bated the hook well, and this fsh did bite! Shakespeare wrote plays for his contemporary London au- diences — not for any god or king. Te American Shakespeare Center hath not merely delivered classical Shakespearian Teater back down to earth, they hath single hand- edly borne it forthwith into the 21st century; not with excessive scenery or kitschy devices, but by focusing simply on telling great stories with well-crafed plays and accomplished performers. Much Ado about Nothing was a rare treat to behold, as I spent an interesting, engaging and charm- ing Saturday evening basking in the glow from an artfully splendid stage performance of Shakespeare. “For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.” Review: Mockingjay Part 1 (*** out of ****) By Patrick Crane Layout Editor When does a movie make so much money that making less mon- ey than expected becomes a failure? In it’s opening weekend, Mockingjay Part 1 grossed 121 million at the box ofce. By any standards, 121 million dollars is a massive success. When compared to the previous install- ments of the franchise, however, it is a drop-of. Are not as many people pay- ing because they know it’s only half of the story they want to see? Are they not paying because there are no Hunger Games in this Hunger Games movie? I’m not sure if it mat- ters. What does matter is the qual- ity of the flm, which hasn’t seen any real decline from its predecessors. Te main distinction that needs to be made is that this movie, just like everything that is part 1 of 2, is an overture to the second part. So it serves a role that fans may be disap- pointed to watch, but it is as neces- sary as any of the other installments. Tere is plenty of action for anyone (save perhaps the hardiest adrena- line junkies) and the pacing is ap- propriate. It builds on a palpable sense of dread that has been coming to a boiling point ever since Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook ) and Peeta Mel- larch (Josh Hutcherson, Red Dawn ) escaped the arena with their lives at the end of the frst flm. Despite the action pres- ence throughout, many seem dis- appointed with Mockingjay partly playing as a ‘How to Incite Revolu- tion 101’ class. Although the story may belabor some points about how Katniss needs to be turned into the revolution’s fgurehead, it is a thor- oughly necessary subtext to the plot and themes of the flm. Katniss just wants to do what is right, but she must fnd that there are conse- quences to doing the right thing. President Snow (Donald Suther- land, Pride & Prejudice ) makes sure that she understands. Overall, Mockingjay is a ser- viceable prelude to the 2015 release of the last chapter of the franchise. It does not desperately cling to over- blown action sequences, nor does it focus too much on the vaunted love triangle. It has been met with alter- nating cheers and shrugs by critics, and that’s about the best that it was ever going to get. As the title plainly states, it is the frst half of the last part of the adventure, and that’s all it was ever going to be. It saddens me to think that this will be one of the last times I see Phillip Seymour Hofman on the silver screen, but at the very least many audience members who may have not seen much of him before will know who he is. My favorite moment in the flm was Jennifer Lawrence’s rendition of “Te Hang- ing Tree”. It was fantastic and haunt- ing, and felt organic,which is not easy to come by in blockbusters. Photo: Te Hunger Games Wiki

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