Transcript of Night Theatre
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A Critic's Review 1
It is my sad duty to report that theatre is dead, at least if the latest performance of 'A Midwinter Night's Tomfoolery' is to be believed. The play - performed as ever by the Guild Actors of Senntisten - rather live up to the group's acronym, which is to say rather a lot of hot GAS.
The leading role of Robinius, the mischievous Chthonian demon who likes to trick people into silly contracts, was performed by the human Aleric White. There are many good things I can say about the notable acting career of Mr White. Some of his past performances have been the stuff of theatrical legend. Sadly, I can ascribe none of these traits to his current performance. Mr White is not as young as he used to be, and has lost his youthful vigour, charm and good looks. Instead of the sophisticated, eloquent and handsome man of yesteryear, Mr White looks like little more than middle-aged sausagemeat stuffed into tights. His performance has the grace and style of a stone-age ballerina, and his delivery of the text so wooden I was surprised no one attempted to chop him down for firewood.
The leading lady was played by the eminently forgettable Cassandra Stropp. While certainly of a more reasonable age to play Queen Gargantiana - the vampyre queen arguing with her husband over which human to drink - Stropp possesses the emotional range of a cheeseboard with none of the joy. She delivers Gargantiana's lines with the panache of a dead squirrel and her flirtatious moments are so poorly delivered they sound like death threats. Though death would be a merciful end to witnessing this debacle.
Still, we cannot lay all the blame for the performance on the actors. Artists are only as good as their materials, and the writing in this play is criminally poor. Where they aim for comedy, their jokes land either flat or convert into insults so thinly veiled I would not be surprised to hear about the playwright's mysterious disappearance after the Praetorians get involved. Where they aim for tragedy, they manage to write in such a way as to accidentally cause laughter. Not for well-written jokes, but simply in the farce of the situation put before us.
After two and a half hours subjected to this blatant attack on the art of theatre, the crowd had thinned to naught but a whisper and my will to live had barely survived the attack.It is therefore with great delight that I award 'A Midwinter Night's Tomfoolery' a 1-star rating and would recommend that no one ever be subjected to this performance again.
A Critic's Review 2
Yet another lacklustre performance by the Guild Actors of Senntisten. This time they brutally murdered a rendition of the classic love story 'Cressilius and Troida', the tragic story of a Chthonian demon, madly in love with an Avernic demon. The tale is a beautiful story for the ages, romance battling it out against the harsh restrictions of class and tradition. Or it would be if performed by any other troupe.
The lead role of Cressilius is played for some reason by the youngest of the troupe, Cassius Holter. Young Cassius may well be a great actor, but he needs the time to mature and experience in order to grasp the nuance of the chthonian demon's plight. His youthful vigour could perhaps serve him well in the role of a soldier, or some waifish background love interest. But in the role of Cressilius it's practically an insult. Still, the terrible truth is that young Holter is by far the best thing in the play. I'm afraid it's all downhill from there.
In the role of Troida - the tragic love interest of our Chthonian protagonist - we once again see Cassandra Stropp. Once against[sic] she delivers an emotionless performance that make[sic] the statues in the town square look like world-class thespians. She delivers each line with a mechanical precision that has no place on the stage.
There is sadly nothing in this performance that would make it worthy of a first viewing, let alone subsequent ones. I urge you, dear readers, avoid this performance like the plague.0 stars.
A Critic's Review 3
It is with great relief that I must announce that the Guild Actors of Senntisten are no more. For anyone that has suffered the torture that is watching any of their plays, I'm sure you will be well aware of the terrible messages underscored in each one. While hidden under a guise of terrible acting, dull deliveries and the costuming skills of a dismembered troll, it appears that the Guild were attempting to weave seditious messages into their work. Evidently, this was done with the same degree of skill as their acting, which is to say none, as these messages were not clearly conveyed to their audience. Still, the Praetorians know what they're doing, and so the Guild Actors of Senntisten must have been performing seditious plays.
Naturally, this leaves the theatre a little quiet for a time.
In the silence of the theatre the only play is in one's imagination, which is a dreadful place to see true art. True art is a mixture of pain, suffering, loneliness, fear, aggression, love, hate and need. Emotion ripped out and thrown out to an audience to see and hear. One can only hope that now that the theatre is mercifully free of the talentless Guild, we can see true talent grace our stage again.Oh, wouldn't it be marvellous?
A Critic's Review 4
My dear readers it is with further sorrow that I must now review the travesty performed on the stage this last week. The 'Whispering King' is a unique piece of performance artwork that I had been desperately looking forward to since its flyers appeared around the city. A play written and directed by none other than the Prefectus[sic] Praetorio himself. I had such high hopes for this piece, and it is with tremendous sadness that I must now write this review.
The play is quite unique in that each of the actors is disguised by a wooden mask obscuring their features. The masks are grotesque in their imagery, each of them a mockery of whatever creature they are attempting to imitate. The human faces are twisted and gaunt, trapped in the rictus grins of the damned. The vampyre faces are little more than oversized jaws with large fangs and the demons, well, you can just imagine how they might look. Beneath the masks are a collection of unwashed and poorly dressed street rats. It gives the impression of some dreadful outreach program using the arts to inspire the unwanted to strive for citizenship.
These wooden-faced actors are at least more animated than the previous occupants of the stage, yet they move with a strange jerkiness of movement that underlines their lack of professional training. They speak with a strange tone to them, as if they are ventriloquist puppets having some sort of deranged get-together. The entire performance feels more like a puppet show than a proper play.
But the strangest of all is the writing. I am used to plays that offer hidden meanings, or play on the emotional states of the viewer. The works of Garenius, which asks the viewer what it really means to be a citizen of the Empire. The wonderful sonnets of Theanopha who urges us to look inside ourselves and understand the secret shames we all keep hidden. These plays prey on our own preconceptions and turn our own thoughts into a marvellous piece of the performance. But this play does none of that. It talks of glacial planes and secret doors buried deep beneath the ice. Of wandering philosophers who walk the world in silence, contemplating what it means to be truly forgotten. It makes jokes about being hollowed out and fed to ancient jaws that would grind us to dust and make us glad for it. At no point did it make any sense.
Then, it ends in a gory display of death and dismemberment. The actors turned their blades upon each other and - in swift movements - impaled one another with their weapons. Their deaths were the only believable pieces of acting in the entire play.
All in all, a tremendous disappointment and one that I would strongly recommend avoiding.2 stars.
A Critic's Review 5
I would like to amend my previous review on the 'Whispering King'. I realise now that I was too harsh in my assessment. Indeed, the play is a veritable work of art. I confess that I was blind to the genius hidden therein. I have studied it further and listened to the message between the words - the play within the play. For that, dear readers, is where the true artistry lies.
The actors are inconsequential. They are mere vessels of the words, mere mouths from which the author can speak. Each of them exists for one shining night. One brief moment where they are raised from irrelevance and emptiness to the role of an artist. On that stage they are transformed from a weak, base thing of flesh and need into a transcendent creature of pure poetry. They lived lives as nobodies - as nothing - and their lives conclude in theatrical perfection. I weep at the simplicity of it, at the elegance.
I find myself consumed with jealousy for them and their sacrifice. That they could give their lives for the highest purpose. They were actors all their lives, playing the roles of vagrants and beggars, and now they can take a bow before the audience knowing that their true value is revealed.
I imagine myself now within that play. Walking those frozen fields and standing before those impossible gates. I dream of those last moments as the play concludes and I dream of seeing what they see, of learning what they learn. Of becoming.
My mask arrives tomorrow.5 stars.
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