The Normal Heart
The play The Normal Heart is written by Larry Kramer. It is autobiographical and discusses the outbreak of HIV-AIDS crisis in New York from 1981 to 1984. The crisis is represented through the outlook of writer Ned Weeks, a homosexual Jewish-American creator of a prominent team to support the HIV victims. Weeks tends to participate in public confrontations instead of ignoring the movement and stay in the shadow. He is encouraged by his friends, associates, and his love Felix Turner. However, neither of them is ready to give their secrets to publicity. The story also highlights the problem of passive government reaction to the AIDS pandemic because few research studies have been funded. Both homosexual and heterosexual couples are under the great pressure and are afraid of being infected. The play ends with the death of Felix and the constantly increased rate of mortality.
The main protagonist, Ned Weeks, was acted by David Cromer, whereas Ben, his brother, was performed by Marc Grapey who failed to provide support to the protagonist. Ned, however, is able to introduce his smart friends and create a group who shares common lifestyle, but the group is afraid of publicity. The majority of characters were reluctant to reveal their identities. Felix acted by Patrix Andews is a New York Time reporter who is in love with Ned. While analyzing the style of the play, the attention should be given to the traditional words used by actors because these phrases emphasize their proficiency and awareness of the roles taken. Despite the differences in roles representation, each actor was on the right place. Importantly, the play highlighted a range of important historical facts that were perfectly put into the sequence of events. Under the direction of Nick Bowling, such issues as forgiveness and bonding were skillfully conveyed and were discovered with anxiety, grace, and passion.
Ned Weeks was portrayed with necessary stridency and urgency, just as the role required. However, the actor let the audience feel the fear and loneliness through the protagonist’s combating style. Presented as a leader, there was something provoking and irresistible concerning the combination of self-righteous and egoistic tendencies in representing the identity. Ned, therefore, was obsessed with his own problems and he didn’t listen to his friends who were concerned with the threats of unveiling his secret to the public. The eternal fights and confrontations were enhanced by the interplay of emotionality and stress. Overall, the actors managed to present a genuine and marvelous performance.
The setting and design also reminded the audiences of the times of later 80s in the New York City. The large bookcase in the background complemented to the entire atmosphere of the show. Indeed, due to the fact that all the heroes involved into the narration were from the sphere of writing and mass media, the theme of public and private was discovered. The design and the professions of the characters formed a sort of confrontation. On the one hand, the play discussed the inability and fear to reveal the truth that did not allow them to cooperate successfully. On the other hand, the characters strived to adhere to the lifestyle they chose. In general, the costumes and the gestures of the heroes enhance the spirit of the epoch. It was impossible to ignore other elements of the setting and design, particularly the large clock on the background that symbolized the timeless inevitability, as well as the perishable nature of a human body. The disease outbreak was impossible to stop and the setting, the acting, and the costumes emphasized this idea.
A few words should be mentioned about the audience that was obsessed with the marvelous performance. All the viewers were drowning in the atmosphere of the time due to the music, style, and the overall conception of the play. In general, the theatre venue also looks ingenious, because of the wall of thousand books and panels that differentiate various rooms and create Stanfill’s projections. The Normal Heart is extremely eviscerating for the heroes, which makes the audience wonder how the characters will experience in the course of the performance. The opportunity to delve into the play was enhanced by gaining a deeper understanding of the problem. Therefore, the audience would surely feel similar emotions and experiences.
While attending the performance, the researcher was completely absorbed with the atmosphere of the presented timeline of the events. Indeed, all the actors were also brightly fitted into the design and setting so that it was not possible to imagine someone else performing the role. Hence, the location, the wall of books, and the large clock were perfectly introduced in the light of the historical stories. This was one more opportunity to return to the 1980s and experience the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that each character strived to overcome and achieve. The sound and the actors’ incredible performance and refined feeling of those times were impressive as well. In fact, the period is ripped with an increased density of events, but these times were often ignored. A different perspective was opened to the researcher and the fresh insight into what had actually happened was presented, as well as how humble people survived during the pandemic.
The Dream of the Burning Boy
The Dream of the Burning Boy is a recognized play about the school teacher Larry Morrow who is shocked by the abrupt death of one student. The teacher falls asleep and dreams of what could have happened. The school’s guidance counselor starts the campaign by hanging inspirational posters aimed at assisting students in experiencing and processing their emotions, reconciling with the death of the student. The student’s sister and relatives find solace while working at school. The play, therefore, is a bittersweet narration about the difficulties of making choices, and understanding the lost opportunities. The story is also inspirational because it explains how people can restore their strengths and find the incentives to move on. The play describes the challenges and obstacles in the American school system with diverse tried-and-tested systems, memorials, group therapy. During the play, simple and ordinary characters were presented, including deceased students’ sister Rachel played by Alaina Stacy. The girl is trying to move on despite the pain and hardships she has to overcome. Apparently, the director of the play is really concerned with the way Rachel can unveil her emotions. At the same time, the girl soon realizes that the increased attention to the tragedy also provokes interest to her persona and, therefore, it can serve as a good excuse for missing classes. Overall, the play looks like an ordinary day at school. The play surrounds the problem faced by Chelsea who was dating the dead teenager and how she found herself criticized and judged by other students. In the center of the play is Larry, a school teacher who is frustrated with the loss of his favorite student and who has dreams of this student. The play suggests that the actor’s performance is impeccable, except for a few moments. In particular, there is no a clear sense of how the teacher behaves during normal days and how his regular behavior contrasts the one presented in the play. Hence, it is impossible to understand whether the teacher is really concerned with the student’s death or not. To be more exact, the normative referent is absent and, therefore, the audience cannot see whether the man is unraveled. In this respect, the actor manages to grasp the humor of his irritating person with an aptness for satirical twist. Nonetheless, the scenes often distort the accepted reality due to the irrelevant side of believability chosen in the play. The director has not sufficiently directed individuals at the moment, particularly those in which young actors struggle with the tragedy. Therefore, the play is often perceived as wooly and muddy due to the lack of references to reality. On the other hand, lack of real references is explained by the fact that the plot is framed into the teacher’s dream, which explains missing transparency and genuineness of emotions.
Despite the above-presented disadvantages, it should be stressed that the play could still be considered in terms of other evident benefits. Painful truth is revealed as life is still continuing. Overall, the plot and the setting seem to be ordinary, but the problem is that the story takes place in the teacher’s dreams which contributes to the modernity and determines interesting dimensions. It is also a fresh insight into how individuals perceive and cope with the tragedy and grief of loss. The topic will always be urgent because it refers to the utmost feelings and human relations that are genuine.
The director assumes that this is a true story about imposing responsibility and making choices. It is also the narration about the fear of death and challenges in life, regrets and lost opportunities. The setting and the plot made the audience think of the authentic description of school teachers and students trying to overcome grief, but everyone made it in his/her own way. A special impact was the director’s ability to employ humor and levity with grace and refinement because they help the characters to cope with the grief. It seems logical to me that the audience left the venue with a deeper understanding of how people could help and support those in need. The story also helped to realize how one could cope with problems and how these problems are insignificant in front of death. In the course of the entire play, the audience was both laughing and crying and these emotions fill in the entire atmosphere of spiritual upheaval.
The main advantage of the play was the skillful combination of successful setting design, scene sequences, play of actors, and the entire idea of the performance. As it often happens in tragedies, emotions are stripped, secrets are discovered, and people tend to change. However, although the themes seem to be popularized and sufficiently explored by other playwrights, the play is still fresh and original because of the bright characters and images that make the tragedy even more compelling. What is more interesting is that the characters are represented as stereotyped images of ordinary teachers and students at the school so that everyone could recognize the person that he/she used to communicate. The theatre venue, therefore, contributes greatly to the overall spirit of the play because of its increased possibility to introduce visual effects.
Peter and the Starcatcher
Peter and the Starcatcher is play directed by Rick Elice. The work is based on the novel by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry and discusses the story of the character Peter Pan, serving as an original story for Barri’s Peter and Wendy. The play focuses on a fiction representation of the s adventures of an orphan Peter. At the beginning of the play, the entire cast of actors enters the scene to provide a short review of the story and make the audience delve into the atmosphere of dreaming and flying. The actors also invited the viewers to enlarge their imagination to create a new world. As soon as the introduction was made, the audience was transported to the seaport where they encounter Lord Leonard Aster and his daughter Molly. Overall, one scene décor is quickly replaced by another, leading to one more portion of unforgettable adventures. The plot surrounds the importance of exploring the limit of human possibilities, as well as defining the main virtues that lead them to the accomplishment of their goals.
The style of the play is also sophisticated, but the director has managed to stay within the accepted genre frames. Both the costumes and decoration complemented the show, along with the exceptional and impeccable interpretation of dialogues, movements, and expressions performed by the characters. Although the setting is very simplistic, the audience’s imagination can help complete the entire image and make the story true and genuine. The story is too infantile and childish, but the author pursued this goal by directing the play. The audience, which was predominantly composed of adults, was laughing and was really impressed with everything that was going on the stage. The design setting required specific attention which makes almost the entire performance. The way actors were surfing the clouds or sailing a boat was captivating to see. This is of particular concern to the modernistic representation of the ship which was made up of human mass. Additionally, the decoration and the style of narration and music are controversial and provoking because of the unusual combination of folk music with the state-of-the-art technologies. The resourceful ensemble of the play, however, is not supported with the modern devices in their journeys. At the same time, the audience could hardly find the elements of the theatrical performance that took place in 150 years. An ordinary rope, some household appliances, ladders, two boats, and the actors themselves are the only sophisticated tools represented on the stage. Hence, the performance reminded the audience of how simple tools and devices help them to achieve the objectives, making their dreams come true. Although Peter and the Starcatcher can be sometimes referred to the advanced discovered in the twenty-first century, the theatre crew is aware of the audiences originating from the past century.
It should be mentioned that the cast of actors chosen for the performance is also suitable for the idea of the play. Adam Green performed the role of Peter Pan and Keenan-Bolger took the part of Molly. The tandem of these two actors was the most impressive during the show. The troupe also involved Davis Rossmer who acted as the lost boy Teddy. Other members of the creative team include costume designs, productions managers and assistant directors without whom the play would not seem so fabulous and mesmerizing. The ensemble of the actors was just gorgeous because all of them managed to fit into the atmosphere and complement the entire story with fairy-tale narrations.
The settings and the costumes were also impressive because they remind the audience of the fantastic world, where imagination could be perceived as reality. Everything – from sinister pirates to charming mermaids – keeps the audience attached to the marvelous performance. Indeed, the actors involved into the play had managed to render the spirit of a fairy-tale that will never end and will be perpetuated into the audience’s minds and hearts. The skillful combination of decoration, interaction of actors, music, and directing have provides a bright and marvelous picture.
While considering the overall theme and conception of the performance, particular attention was paid to the decoration, costumes, and music because all of these elements of the stage performance were represented in a fairy-tale style. Although the book is originally written for children, the adult audience was still willing to delve into this fabulous environment. Both the performance and audience managed to give a fresh insight into the creative atmosphere. The mass scenes were especially admired, specifically when all the actors played in coordination and harmony. Green’s Peter Pan was also fantastic and miraculous, partially because of his childish look and laughing and partially because of the successful costumes and decoration. As it has been mentioned at the beginning, the audience could also be involved into the play. Actually, it became a part of the performance because of the close interaction of the actors with the viewers.
There was also something distant and archaic about the energy emanating from the stage. It is an entertaining story about a lively boy whose energy could unite the listener and the teller into a harmonious whole. The story, therefore, was celebrated as simple, scary, and cozy, with some elements of adventure and detective plotlines. A thirteen-year-old boy is portrayed in an adolescent, glorious manner; he is defined as the outcast among other adult characters. Nonetheless, the brevity and desperate belief in justice inspires the audience and makes the viewers think that everything can be overcome if you really believe in something. The play is a coming-of-age story about how a simple boy turns into an extraordinary hero. The transformation is unreal, but very inspiring and motivating.