REVIEW: Stooged Theatre presents SEMINAR by Theresa Rebeck
Stooged Theatre’s production of Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar opened last Wednesday evening at the Civic Playhouse. The comedy centres on a group of 20-something writers who pay an exorbitant amount of money for a seminar taught by an older, more experienced author (Carl Caulfield). Unfortunately, for the budding and rather fragile writers their mentor turns out to be a washed up, unsympathetic quack who is more interested in Somalian warlords and female anatomy than teaching.
The play swung into action with the four young writers sipping coffee and discussing literature. The set and lighting design were minimalistic however the addition of the complete Twilight series to the bookshelf in Kate’s (Emily Daly) Upper West Side apartment was the perfect ironic choice.
As the play went on the actors began reeling in the laughter. Emily Daly and Carl Young delivered some particularly hilarious monologues and one liners. Occasionally, the actors found themselves or one another funny which took away from some of the more comedic moments. The play culminated in a heated argument between Leonard (Caulfield) and Martin (Young) which eventually resolves itself when Martin agrees to work with Leonard. Caulfield gave an exceptionally strong performance in the latter half of the play.
It is worth mentioning that the topic of feminism features prominently throughout the show and from my perspective the piece had a distinctly anti-feminist slant. The female characters were one-dimensional stereotypes; they could be a crying, cookie-dough-eating, sexually frustrated feminist or the girl who everyone views as a sexual object with no brain. This, however, seemed to result more from the script than the performances of the actors or directorial choices. That said, there were a few scenes that may have benefited from better direction in order to expose the emotionally complex side of Izzy and the stronger, more empowered side of Kate.
Overall, Seminar is an entertaining play that provides some interesting commentary on criticism and the fragility of artists who bare their souls to us through their acting, writing, painting, dancing, etc. Performances continue until August 1st with tickets ranging between $25-$35.
Stooged Theatre recommends this production for ages 16 and over as it contains partial nudity and sexual themes.
8pm Friday 24th July
2pm & 8pm Saturday 25th July
8pm Wednesday 29th July
8pm Thursday 30th July
8pm Friday 31st July
8pm Saturday 1st August
Reviewed by: Jocelyne Lamarche