The first question to ponder is whether great actors can lift a weak play into a satisfying night at the theater. The answer is yes, if the acting is truly outstanding.
The second question is whether a really good play can overcome weak acting to make a satisfying night at the theater. The answer to that is, unquestionably, "no."
And sadly, that’s what’s happening at The Boulevard Theatre where director Mark Bucher unveiled a shaky production of "The Last Romance," a romantic comedy written by Joe DiPietro about two senior citizens who fall in love.
The two characters, Ralph and Carol, meet at a dog park. He hits on her and she hesitatingly begins to meet him halfway in his quest. His wife died, her husband had a stroke. They take small steps toward each other, battling memories, histories, the aches and pains of old age and the possessive love of Ralph’s sister Rose, who lives with him and cooks his meals and does his wash and cleans his house.
They almost fall in love, but like all good stories, a giant roadblock appears and they go their separate ways. This play is funny and touching. Ralph has a lot of the funny lines and Michael Weber, who plays Ralph, has a bit of a knack for delivering the joke lines.
But other than that little part of the evening, that is just about all that the actors bring to this show.
The task of the actor is to give life to the words on the pages of the script. An actor is supposed to make an audience believe the words, be moved by them, to laugh, cry or shudder. This production has a young man named Doug Clemons who has a marvelous tenor. He is supposed to be the young Ralph, who wanted to be an opera singer and Clemons does a wonderful job with snippets of various arias.
But after him, we are left with an overwhelming feeling of what the heck happend to the play we thought we were going to see.
There is one moment toward the end of the play that best sums the bizarre problems created by actors who don’t seem to get it.Read more...