[Valid Atom 1.0] BarbaraEllen: Review. Geva Theatre & "Angles in America"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review. Geva Theatre & "Angles in America"

Geva Theatre Presents:
Angles in America:
Millennium Approaches

Geva Theatre Center
Downtown Rochester, NY

Located in downtown Rochester, directly in the arts & business district, Geva Theatre is one of many live theatres local to Rochester, NY. (Cool how they spell it the Brit way, no.) For as looooong as I recall, my mother and her best friend Elaine, have been season ticket holders where, once a month, they catch a live show & check out some fabulous Rochester eateries. (These ladies know what's good.) PS: Geva has fabulous student deals, such as 

$10 student-rush tickets. Check 'em out here! In fact, if I recall correctly, my mother & Elaine began frequenting Geva in the early-'90's when my mom was a student at the University of Rochester and could finagle such deals. (Don't quote me...)

The Next Stage
Geva has 2 stages: The Main Stage & the Next Stage. The latter, primarily where my older brother (Me Broder) works, premiers more avant-garde productions. John has worked in lighting and sound at several Rochester theatres and has been with Geva's Next Stage the longest. In fact, in this particular production, Angles in America: Millennium Approaches written by Tony Kushner, he is Sound Designer. Eeeeee!!!! That's right. Program front & (er) stage-right. Fav musical choice is Tainted Love. Silence clips the inherent resolution ushered-in by these well-known lyrics (which in my opinion foreshadows an abrupt end to a young life) and juxtaposes the jilt of the stage lights which, in beginning a new scene, throw the audience onto the floor, incapacitated, with Prior as AIDS ravages him from the inside-out. (I've always told John that, whence nominated, he must take moi to the Oscars ... Guess I could concede should Momslin show interest.) PS - That beauty down yonder? Jill Rittinger. Locally acclaimed actress and educator extraordinaire. (I should know. Have seen several of her performances and, oh, we graduated grad school together. She's for-realsies. Just one of her roles in this productions is as The Angel.)

John Wilcox
Sound Designer
Speaking of Angles in America, part I of this production is a politically and sexually charged surrealist-interpretation of AIDS during its cultural onset in the 1985, '86 NYC scene. FYI - full frontal male nudity. Just sayin'. (Who says the #Roc doesn't have theatre?) While I could go on, and on and on and on about gay rights and all that this play has to offer, I will focus on just this. One of my fav scenes, before the first intermission I believe--'round 3 hrs long, this baby's got 2 of those--Joe soul-searches to Harper (his wife) while Prior struggles to understand his illness with Lew, his (selfish) lover. (I hate Lew, and still do not know why I didn't boo him during the final bow.) This is one of many scenes which juxtaposes two completely separate settings and, because they share the same theme, it works.

Jill Rittinger
(Angel, Emily, Sister Ella Chapter, Woman in the Bronx [craaaazy lady...])
The theme here is death, or maybe it's life, certainly it's both love and hate. Spoiler Alert! Joe, a Mormon and a latent homosexual, cryptically traverses his sexuality by confiding in Harper about how he's always wanted to kill him. That which makes him, he. (I thought of this as Chi: life-force.) Has wanted to murder it, or (as he describes) break it into a zillion pieces and have God reassemble it, so that he no longer is. (He being the gayness.) In the congruent scene, Prior begins vocalizing and, in the real-time of the play, dramatizing his inevitable untimely death. (The dramatic-irony: that we audience members know this drama, in fact, portrays the reality of his illness.) The artistic dichotomy exposing one man's desire to suffocate his spirit because he's gay while the others, to stay alive in spite of his homosexuality, reveals the intricate struggle endured--or perhaps not (ahem, Lew)--by humanity. All of humanity. This play is powerful. I'm proud that Rochester and that Geva Theatre have shared it.

Creepy Mirror Phot.
(I mean, this outfit's pretty cute.)


  1. Barb!
    Thank you so much! Your writing is lovely...charmingly and honestly nuanced with incredible voice. So glad you enjoyed 'AIA-Part I.' And, yes. John's sound design was awesome.


  2. Thanks so much for commenting! (You're the first, and I'm honored.) WHAT A GREAT SHOW & AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE by you. Have told everrrrrryone about it. Thanks again!

    <3 .


Not your typical BarbaraEllen ... but still be constructive. Creative also welcome! xo.