Friday, March 11, 2011
While some of Christine Hamel's directorial decisions paid off (simple, suggestive costuming; well placed action; solid character direction), she got carried away when it came to some of her more high-minded artistic efforts. The ghost was staged with a complete lack of nuance, all drawn breath and wide eyes, never the least bit haunting. Many of the off-text moments fell the flattest, like when Titinnius declared that she would stab herself in the heart then preceded to slash her wrists (then keel over almost instantly- I'm not a science person but I'm fairly certain that's not how that works). But it wasn't until the fight sequences that I wrote off the direction completely. Whether the fault lies with Hamel or fight director Adam McLean is unclear, but the animalistic play on the murders of Caesar and Cinna the Poet read less like metaphoric interpretation and more like a scene from Mean Girls with all the irony taken out.
But there was redemption for the production, enough of it to make the show ultimately a success.
That redemption lay in the excellent ensemble. They weren't all perfect: Genevieve Durst and Catherine Woodard, for example, overplayed their serious roles to comical effect; the strange speech patterns of Olive Fine were distracting and Sophie Gibson- Rush's cold take on Caesar created a strangely robotic effect. But, for the most part, I couldn't have been more impressed with the group of sophomores who took on this demanding show.
Ultimately, the silliest, strangest directorial choices in the world couldn't have detracted from this talented group. I look forward to the careers the have ahead of them as they graduate CFA.