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Comment Archives: stories: Arts

Re: “The effects of Kansas City Actors Theatre on Paul Zindel's Marigolds

Excellent review! I saw this play last night and it affected me deeply. Here are comments I sent to some friends which echo the insights expressed in this review:

The thing about this play is that it is horribly depressing yet fascinating. The single mother of two daughters considers herself a crazy failure (true!) and is very abusive to them, going so far as to forbid her daughter whose refuge is school & science from going to school on some days and deliberately killing their pet rabbit. There is a lot of yelling. Yet it it is so impressive (won a Pulitzer prize) simply because it is so true to this underside of regular life. While watching it I thought what am I doing listening to this crazy nonsense yet I woke up this morning very rejuvenated by the uncensored jolt of reality.

Plus the acting was so good and the actors LOOKED so much their parts, the mother slouching around sloppily with her half-colored hair scraggly in old house dresses and bathrobes. The science-minded daughter was plain and retreating and the sister a loud-mouthed shrew. What a bunch of characters. Yet the science daughter's belief in a better future through science blew through all the crap. (The name of the play has to do with a science experiment in which she is growing irradiated marigold seeds and studying the mutations - she wins first prize which sets up a big conflict for the mother's persona. The mother ends up not going to the competition but staying home and killing the rabbit as a way of punishing everyone for her failures..).

An amazing example of the ways the director downplays the family's disfunction and present it in the light of this family's "normal" is the lack of reaction, in the end, on the part of the daughters to the rabbit's death. As if the mother is simply a fact that is there and cannot be changed.

No wonder this play is just about sold out, as I found out when I looked into going to see it again and bringing another friend into its atomic pattern.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jeanne Bojarski on 08/29/2014 at 6:03 PM

Re: “Stage Q&A: Vi Tran talks about his upbringing and how he raised his own Son

This Q&A isn't meant to be a review of Vi Tran's new, in-progress work. Rather, it's a vehicle for learning more about the man behind the persona, as well as about his process. Actors put themselves out there emotionally, which, to me, seems difficult enough. When performers — male or female — add physical exposure onstage, I'm curious to know the process, thinking or feeling that went into that choice. In a conversation about process, I'd have been remiss not to ask Tran about his choices in such a circumstance.

Posted by Deborah on 08/13/2014 at 6:19 PM

Re: “Stage Q&A: Vi Tran talks about his upbringing and how he raised his own Son

Mr. Tran is trying to tell the story of his current show and families stuggles and the Pitch wants to talk about that time he got his dong out on stage last year. Stay classy.

For what it's worth I've seen this production (The Butcher's Son) and it is a powerful and moving. What it lacks in costume and choreography it more than makes up with music, heart, and SUBSTANCE.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Geronymous on 08/13/2014 at 3:53 PM

Re: “Slow-jamming the news with the Rocket Grant-backed journal Civilian

Nice. I always thought KC could use something like "This Land Press" out of Oklahoma.

Posted by kappa on 08/01/2014 at 4:30 PM

Re: “Stanya Kahn visits the suburbs for Grand Arts' Don't Go Back to Sleep

The viewing area really immersed me into the domicile setting, so much so that I found myself looking around for a pool table to pass the time and feeling around the couch cushions for a remote so I could change the channel. "Don't Go Back to Sleep" is the artist's hopeful message to viewers who wake up after forty minutes and realize this boring freshman film project won't end for another half-hour.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Arts Patron on 06/22/2014 at 11:54 AM

Re: “At Kemper at the Crossroads, there's no place like home

Another boring laundry list of descriptives masquerading as a review. It is toothless writing from someone with a deadeye and a critical faculty to match.

2 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by City Boy on 06/19/2014 at 7:38 AM

Re: “Anne Lindberg opens her final KC show before a move east

Damn. Another excellent, mature artist leaves town. What's up with that?

Posted by Jenna on 06/13/2014 at 11:53 AM

Re: “Jeran Avery's drawings hurtle around you at City Ice Arts

Congrats JERAN!! Nice job!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kelly Hampshire Marlborough on 06/12/2014 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Anne Lindberg opens her final KC show before a move east

I saw her work at the Secrist Gallery in Chicago. Interesting stuff.

Posted by wesuilks on 06/06/2014 at 10:32 AM

Re: “Leslie Fraley's Finefolk imports new-to-KC fashion lines

It's a fabulous store. For my fashion forward wife - I find myself doing most of my gift shopping there.

Posted by Stephen Streiker on 05/26/2014 at 10:07 AM

Re: “Spinning Tree romances Sondheim with A Little Night Music

Hi, "???," thanks for your comment. No argument here on Night Music's fine design team--no one should be "blamed" for equipment malfunction, but it's certainly something I think a sound designer would want to be aware of and address for future audiences if there's an issue. As I said, this is something I've noticed at other Off Center productions this season, which makes me wonder if this might be an ongoing issue (short, etc.) with a pesky piece of equipment.

I do actually have a background (and degree) in technical theatre, and I'm keenly aware that wigs and costumes can create minor flubs and rustling. That wasn't the culprit at Sunday's performance.

Best of luck with the rest of the run--you should feel proud to be involved with such a quality production.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liz on 05/14/2014 at 6:46 PM

Re: “Spinning Tree romances Sondheim with A Little Night Music

I would just like to point out that one should endeavor to have some background in technical theatre before they put the blame on the sound designer. A Little Night Music had an excellent sound designer and engineer mixing the actors and the band throughout. However, there are factors that cannot be controlled. An actor's wig could get in the way of the mic, causing the sound you heard or the mic could get bumped. Any number of things could contribute to what you heard and I think it's unfair for you to automatically find fault with the sound designer. Next time, get some perspective on the elements you're critiquing before you start pointing fingers. Thank you.

Posted by ??? on 05/14/2014 at 3:49 PM

Re: “Private Birthday Party celebrates a gay old time in KC

No one cares.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Not News on 04/28/2014 at 5:36 PM

Re: “Before heading to NYC, Jonathan Jensen answers our Stage Questionnaire

Jessica's a great talent, and I'll miss seeing her on the KC stage. Best of luck to both!

Posted by Liz on 04/28/2014 at 11:15 AM

Re: “At the Belger, a look at the architectures of victory and decay

Google 'Pratt and Whitney double wasp' and choose the Wikipedia page. The aircraft with the double wasp engine are listed.
The C46 was built by Curtis Wright in St Louis and was the primary cargo plane that flew 'The Hump' and supported the China war effort against Japan.
The P47 was a work horse fighter in the war against Germany.
The P61 Black Widow was a radar-equipped night fighter used in the Pacific late in the war.
The various 'F' designated aircraft were Navy carrier-based aircraft such as the Hellcat and the Corsair.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by bill_a on 04/20/2014 at 3:05 PM

Re: “Private Birthday Party celebrates a gay old time in KC

Please make a coffee table book! The photographs are worth saving in this way and then those of us who live outside of KC can enjoy them too. My father used to drive us by the Jewel Box late at night on a midnight ride to see the neon lights downtown. One of our favorite drives would be on the occasion when the Jewel Box door was open and we could see the performers on stage!

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mary Willis on 04/16/2014 at 5:59 PM

Re: “Private Birthday Party celebrates a gay old time in KC

1964 4 am in the morning I am a 13 year old boy throwing newspapers on 5th street in what is now called Columbus Park. At the building then called Al La Sala Hall (now Soda Work Lofts) I see a bunch of Police paddy wagons and they have broken up a fight of perhaps 50-75 men in dresses. They are walking them out of the hall and the men are carrying wigs as they are thrown into the pack of the paddy wagons by not amused police officers. Quite a scene and my guess is some of the pictures were shot there. Later I was a KC Probation officer and had people put on probation to me for being arrested for cross dressing.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dean Hughson on 04/16/2014 at 2:13 PM

Re: “At the Belger, a look at the architectures of victory and decay

Tracy, thanks for such a great article. Your pieces are part of that history too…producing documents that one day will be glimpses into the past. We saw the show and its amazing! Both of our maternal grandfathers worked at the Pratt-Whitney facility during and after WW II. As you implied too there are many great industrial sites that are still going as well as the others that are gone. I think of seeing the hot steel roll out of the mills in Sheffield while on the bus or the old Northeast power station that used to sit just east of the Capri casino that I used to work at. The turbine room at the steam plant, 2nd and Grand, is incredible still. Garry Noland

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Garry on 04/09/2014 at 7:04 AM

Re: “At the Belger, a look at the architectures of victory and decay

Wow! Beautifully written Ms. Abeln. Thanks for this review. - Mo Dickens, Gallery Assistant, Belger Arts Center

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bothsides on 04/08/2014 at 10:06 PM

Re: “Heartland Men's Chorus executive director Rick Fisher answers our Stage Questionnaire

As Rick stated, this chorus is really so much more than just a chorus. Many have joined the chorus looking for an entrance into the gay community and have found it to be their primary source for friendships and relationships. There are also several straight who sing with the chorus because they identify as allies or enjoy the range and variety of the programming and appreciate the high performance standards. The combination of those standards and the repertoire make it unique.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dajawood on 03/26/2014 at 11:04 AM

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