Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rapture, Blister, Burn, blah

My Sweetie, the official scorer, and I have probably seen more than 500 plays in our 22 years of going to theater together. We racked our brains, but could not come up with a single time we had left one before the end. Until yesterday. We couldn't escape ACT quickly enough last night at intermission of the truly awful Rapture, Blister, Burn.

It's probably not fair to review a show we didn't see through to the final curtain. The second act may well have redeemed the play, but the first act gave us no reason or desire to stick around and find out. The script by Gina Gionfriddo, inexplicably nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is preposterously contrived, and the characters one-dimensional deliverers of a particular viewpoint. Other reviewers have found the script hilarious, and ACT artistic director Kurt Beattie calls Rapture, Blister, Burn "wickedly funny" and "comically distinctive." Well, sense of humor is a highly personal thing. While there were a few good lines in the first act, I mostly found the show intensely boring.

L-R: Kirsten Potter, Priscilla Lauris, Mariel Neto, and
Kathryn Van Meter in the classroom of Rapture, Blister, Burn
at ACT. Photo by Chris Bennion.
I don't blame the artists so much for this. Director Anita Montgomery and the cast don't have much to work with. Kirsten Potter is fine in the lead role of Catherine Croll, a rock-star academic. Priscilla Lauris as her mother has some nice moments and mixes the martinis. Would that the audience could have imbibed as well.

My Sweetie, the official scorer, pointed out an interesting coincidence. Potter also acted in the Seattle Rep's production of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams and directed by Allison Narver, in March and April last year. Or, won several Gypsy Rose Lee Awards from Seattle Theater Writers and took on many of the same issues of women's "proper" role in society, life expectations, and love, but managed to do it in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

If you want to learn about the history of feminist literature, rather than attending the "fourth-rate liberal arts college" of Rapture, Blister, Burn, you would do better to enroll in a survey course at your local community college. You could participate in the discussion instead of just watching, you would earn three credits, and you wouldn't burn an otherwise perfectly pleasant summer evening on a dull and pedantic show.

1 comment:

Sweetie the Official Scorer said...

Even when it's bad, theater is never boring. Until last night.