Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews
||Falcon's Eye Theatre
|Date(s) of show
||April 10-13, 2014
||This was the much-anticipated, first production of
Folsom Lake College's Falcon’s Eye Theatre in the large Stage One of
Harris Center – and their first musical (that I can recall). Over recent
years, every Falcon’s Eye Theatre show that I have seen has featured an
incredibly creative set. This time, with the resources of this large,
state-of-the-art facility at their disposal, the directors really outdid
themselves. I don’t have a mastery of the terminology, but there was a
“wall” the width of the stage that could be raised and lowered. There
was a grid pattern of large squares and rectangles on this wall. When it
was partially opened it revealed an internal “stage” at about a
15-degree angle, sort of a “box” within the wall, inside of which much
of the action took place. But there was much more to the set: a long
staircase leading to the “roof” over the box, where a lot more of the
action took place, set pieces dangling from the fly tower, a “meadow”
over part of the orchestra pit, etc. And the “wall” itself had many
different built-in lighting effects. And speaking of lighting, giant
images were frequently projected on the “wall” to suggest different
out-of-doors scenes. It was absolutely dazzling, and provided staging
surprises throughout the show.
Staging was only one kind of surprise this show had to offer. The plot
of this rock musical – which won a pile of awards in 2007, including 6
Tony Awards – is based on an 1891 German play by the same name. It was
banned in Germany because of its portrayal of abortion, homosexuality,
rape, child abuse and suicide, and that’s why this production prohibited
children under the age of 12 and required those under 17 to be
accompanied by an adult. I didn’t notice anyone who looked under 17 in
the nearly full lower section of Stage One, but most of this
Thursday-night audience seemed to be college students.
But I was talking about the show’s surprises. The action is set in late
19th Century Germany, and the costumes and dialog are consistent with
that. But when it’s time for a song, the performers jump down from the
“box” to the front of the stage, grab microphones, and all of a sudden
we have a rock concert in full swing, often with flashing lights and the
kind of spotlights that wander over an audience. This is accompanied by
a live band, though I hesitate to call it a “band” because the
instruments include 2 violins, a cello, and a bass violin. They give the
proper mood for the numerous ballads in the musical score.
I’m not one to comment on the quality of contemporary rock music, but it
sounded good to me. The singers had strong voices, though it was often
difficult to make out the lyrics. I lost a lot of the dialog, as well,
and I don’t know whether it is attributable to the sound amplification
or the articulation of the actors, because there were many of them whose
words did come through. I had read a detailed summary of the action
before the show began, so I recognized character names and knew what to
expect in the action. A good portion of the show felt like it was what I
might call “sex with no skin.” I don’t think I’m particularly prudish,
but to tell the truth, I saw some things I would rather not have seen.
And yet the college girls seated around me seemed to enjoy it all.
There’s no question that this musical will be a new experience for most.
It’s definitely edgy and risqué, but extremely well done, and that
includes that acting, dancing and singing by the large, energetic cast.
And the quality of the show is evidenced by the standing ovation and
cheers from the audience that greeted the players when they took their
final bows. I think my description is a fair one, and if you’re
adventuresome and open-minded, this could be your cup of tea – or Red
Bull or Rockstar.