Okay my Dear Darlings, since I am freshly pressed (read: had a few sips of my favorite cheap Port) after tonight’s performance of “Light of Night,” I am going to share with you my wisdom that only comes out of me when I am drunk. I don’t want to go into a long introduction of how I feel and do right now even though I probably should, because this particular production at IATI theater made me look for Port in the city at 11:23PM, and we all know that this is not a good idea when you are looking for a cheap wine at a store where you need to spend at least ten dollars to be able to use your credit card. What’s up with that? No, I don’t want your overpriced/overprized wine. It gives me a headache. I only drink the cheapest Port that comes from New York wineries. Thank god I was able to scrounge those nine dollars and fifty two cents, otherwise there would be no review, and no unsolicited solicitations ever.
“Friendly Notes to My Colleagues”
It feels a little weird to be writing this entry on a Thursday night, just a few nights before my next entry, which I think is going to be about Cate Blanchett and Chekhov. Oh, Cate and Anton will wait. Let me have another sip and go for those notes.
Okay, first of all I should say that I was very nicely surprised by IATI and its staff. It’s a very cozy theater with a lot of smiles. I love the fact that Spanish is spoken prominently in this theater. This makes me feel very relaxed and welcomed. I can forget about my visa situation and my accent there for at least a few hours. Love it!
Now, let me go to the very grit of the show. Yes, sometimes I like to pretend that I know more than the people who do the actual work. Just give me a little Port and ears to occupy and my unconventional theater farts are released. I usually get gas after eating some pancakes, but I digress (smiley face).
The show – “Light of Night”
Congratulations on being able to release a show in New Jerk City. I came to see the show without any expectations and was very nicely surprised and impressed. For some of you, readers, this entry might be quite boring, but for those who are involved in this particular production, my words might mean something. Take it with a grain of salt. I am only one with my opinion and take on things that I saw happening on the stage. To be angry and not agree with me is perfectly okay as long as I have my glass of wine in front of me. As soon as it finishes… well, let’s just hope that it will not before I am done with these notes. Another thing that I want to point out to you here is this; I am in this business with you. I want you to be so good that if I make a flop myself I am forgiven by the audiences; because they know that there are productions like yours. Okay, I sound almost nice here, let me pour some wine while I still am.
The playwright – Cecilia Copeland
Cecilia, you are a great writer. You don’t need my opinion to define who you are. You know your craft. But since there should always be somebody who can tell you straightforwardly what could be improved or where you lost them, I will be that messenger now. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so if by any chance I will insult you with my notes to you, I am giving you a go card to punch me in the face if I distracted you from your creative genius. Here are my notes to you.
The name of the show is misleading. You have a woman smearing her vagina juices on somebody’s face in the show and the show is called “Light of Night?” You lost me there and to tell you the truth, I had to look several times to my program for the name while writing this. Also, I think, the show would improve if you removed all the big words from it. This bothered me a lot, because as soon as one of your characters would say one of those words only English majors know about, I would lose that character. English is not my first language, duh, and if you go for the grittiness of the situation, everyday language might help to make those characters more believable. There is nothing wrong in using big words in writing papers and stuff like that, but when you read Tennessee Williams you barely find a big word in any of his plays. People just don’t speak this way. You have everything already there but big words and “big” issues, like governments deciding about women’s bodies, have to go. They don’t add to the experience, they distract from the emotional things your characters are going through. You lost me in the first act because of the big words and social issues. You could easily edit out half of the first act and make this show an hour and a half long: sweet, nice and to-the-point. I know it is hard to remove certain things you care about, but I am always reminded about great editing when I read a good playwright. And, oh yeah, the last monologue has to go. It’s beautiful and poetic and it just has to go. Isabel’s eating Jim is way more powerful than whatever happens after. A little “ding” from the microwave is all you need to close the show. We already know that Stephanie is free from Jim when she leaves the place, so there is no need to have her appear again for a few words on a beach towel at the end.
To end these notes to you I should say that during the show I constantly found myself thinking about Tennessee Williams and John Fowles’s “The Collector.” I am really impressed how you were able to write such great characters, especially in the second act. The scene where Isabel is smearing her blood on Jim’s face is my favorite. It has just enough “naturalism” in it to put the play on another level. Brava!
The character of Isabel – Florencia Lozano
I don’t want to bullshit (sorry for my French) around you, Florencia, and your craft, you got it! I believed you every minute! I have a little suggestion for you though to make your character more dimensional, especially in the first act. Could you introduce your character a little slower? When I say “slower” I mean that we are just learning who Isabel is, so you might consider saving strong emotional outburst for later when we truly know you. I should say here that there is nothing wrong with how you are doing your character right now, but it could be interesting for you to experiment with growing your character emotionally to the point where you explode with your blood in Jim’s face. I don’t know if I am expressing myself clearly, but because of the very high note you take in the first act I am not really sure there who you are. If you are with Stephanie all the time because you are her, that means you know her very well so your seduction scenes might gain from you getting into her from a point she is not familiar with and besides, you are tipsy there, so mellowness might work better. I allow you to punch my face too, if you feel like it. Ouch!
Stephanie – Ana Kayne
Anechka Dorogusha, I should say something nice before I give you some critique, right? Not with me. Don’t be afraid to let your character breathe. Your wine pouring business in the first act removed me from your character. I started to believe you at the very end of it. Also, you are one of the dual characters, so you should be very aware how your partner is behaving. I am not saying that you did something wrong, no. You did a great job. Enjoy your role. Let it breathe (whatever the eff that means.)
It happens so that I am living with a person who has a paranoid personality disorder right now, so yes, he is doing a lot of “business” around the apartment to distract himself, but at the same time he is very sharp at what others do around him. There are quiet moments and there are bursts of energy and action. Allow yourself to play with it. You are doing fine! We came to see you. Become Stephanie!
Jim – Ed Trucco
I just hated you from the very first moment. Yes, I was a little confused about who you really were to Stephanie and Isabel, but that is more of the playwright’s role. You did great, but I wish I knew more clearly who you were: child molester? abusive husband? kidnapper? Or maybe all of them?
From the acting point of view you did great. I hated you.
Mariana Carreño King – Director
Two little notes:
1. It looks weird when characters are trying to climb on a chair. Why?
2. Less of wine action and cleaning.
3. You can punch my face too!
Miguel Angel Valderrama – Lighting Designer
I know, not so many get to you guys, but I will. I want to encourage you to experiment more with your lights. Isolate spots more and make it more eerie or go completely bizarro with fluorescent lights flipping and buzzing all around. The characters are crazy, all of them, so why not be crazy with your lights too?
G. Warren Stiles – Set Designer
I command you, sir, to explore the dark side of human psyche more. Yes, I understand that the women are trapped in some house, so why not the basement or somewhere more sinister than that. I’m sure you watched a few horror films. John Fowles “The Collector” might inspire you too.
Marios Aristopoulos – Sound Design
I usually remember bad sound. You were good, sir. My suggestions would be very personal to you depending on where the action takes place. If it is in some cellar where you hear dripping water, then why not enhance that, but this again, should come from a director. In this case I am not the one.
Jorge Castilla – Costume Designer
I would like to hear what your inspirations were. Why the velvet dress and why Stephanie’s sporty outfits?
Nic Grelli (UncleDave’s Fight House) – Fight Director
I believed your choreographed fights. Good job, sir!
Okay, with this entry either I made friends or got at least three punches to my face. You all did a great job. I love the fact that you made me think after the show was over. The second act was the bomb. Actors were completely committed to the play. I was absolutely in. I believe that writing this entry proves that I loved “Light of Night.” Bravo! Now back to my Port and…