To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that I’ve been to a theatre since I saw “The Nutcracker” in fifth grade. Like most children of that age, I had a terrible allergic reaction to the long bouts of inaction, the seeming lack of plot as well as the general lack of interest to many of us less cultured plebeians.
After this early point in my life, I swore off any and all theatrical works with the thought that they were simply not my type of entertainment. My opinion of most plays, operas or musicals is that they are terrible at best. As most are often performed in a language I don’t understand, there simply is little desire within me to punish myself that greatly. Therein lies the reason why it was with such great disdain that I accepted my editor’s suggestion to spend my Saturday evening watching a theatrical production.
The performance, “Rumors,” a farce by Neil Simon, was having its final showing. It was performed at the Drama House from Thursday, March 1 until Saturday, March 3.
Though my first thought was something along the lines of “this play is an appalling way to waste a perfectly good weekend night,” I decided that I had little better to do. I was perfectly set to sleep through the first act, duck out at intermission and write a scathing review about the play. However, much to my chagrin, my delicate plans were upset by the fact that I could not find a seat. Only after carefully maneuvering through an amazingly thick sea of people precariously packed outside the tape lines outlining the stage was I able to locate a seat in the back row.
A second blow to my less-than-foolproof plan to save my Saturday night was dealt when I realized that I was actually laughing at what was being presented.
I have no theatre background or any technical expertise, so my opinion on any of these facets matters little. I cannot comment on the quality of acting or really on most of the things that a drama critic should be concerned about. And additionally, I am so far removed from the culture and study of the art form that I don’t even know the vocabulary to use while trying to make up a credible sounding opinion.
What I can say is that, surprisingly, I was fully entertained for the entire two and a quarter hours. There were at least 30, probably more, laugh-out-loud moments in the play.
While there were a couple jokes that fell flat, the incredibly fast-paced work made sure that the preceding failure was immediately overwhelmed by another rapid fire of rib-splitting dialogue.
I never felt that the material was too played out to be funny any longer. In fact, when the play was over, I really only wanted it to keep going.
Junior Ted Martens gave a fantastic and perfectly overdramatic performance as Lenny, the BMW-owning neurotic financial advisor. Martens continued to thrill the audience members in later acts playing the suave Charley Brock.
Martens’ performance was finely balanced by the other standout performance of senior Nick DiCola as Ernie, an idiosyncratic and always understated yet hilarious analyst. However, this is not to say that the remaining cast was not individually responsible for my uncontrolled laughter nearly every minute of the play. They all did a great job.
Though, in the past, I have been an ardent opponent of drama in most forms, “Rumors” showed what a theatre experience should be and why most of the campus should be in attendance.
Burnett is a member of the class of 2010.