Arts Runoff: SPEED-THE-PLOW
Summary: Two Hollywood producers, Bobby Gould (Willy McKay ’11) and Charlie Fox (Dustin Schwartz ’11) get a big chance to climb the ladder of success when a famous actor approaches Fox with a desire to do a movie with one of Fox’s scripts. The question of doing good instead of making money in this cynical world doesn’t even enter the picture until a second possible script, and Gould’s temporary secretary, Karen (Shannon Fiedler ’14), get involved. By David Mamet, known for witty, mean, rapid dialog.
McKay, Schwartz, Fiedler. Just look at these beautiful people.
Good: At first, I thought Willy McKay wasn’t right for the role of Gould. McKay just can’t be quite cruel, manly, or physically large enough to fill the image of the merciless, masculine producer. However, as the play went on, I realized the choice was perfect: Gould wants to be that guy, and his struggle is between becoming the good person he might naturally be and becoming the bad person he needs to be to get rich. His stature also allowed Schwartz, whose character is lower on the economic hierarchy, to bully him a little bit. // Going off of that, kickass power dynamics, brought out via great directing from Ben Orbison ’13. // The focus of this play is the acting. Every time I see Dustin Schwartz in a show, he gets better and more varied. Awesome range of emotion.
Bad: Although the set design was mostly fantastic, the white back wall broke the illusion a little by looking too rudimentary; a simple white panel and suspension of disbelief might have done the job better than the ambitious attempt at making it look like a real wall with a pattern. Also, unfortunately, the used paint cans still smelled like paint. They made sense in the set, but I may have lost a few brain cells.
Broad: The title of the play comes from a 14th-century poem expressed as a prayer to God for a good harvest. The shed in the Organic Garden is adorned with a hand-painted sign that says “Slow-the-Plow.” Interesting connections.
Contextual rating: If you have something important to do this weekend,
-…do it, and see this show if you can.
-…put it off and see Speed-the-Plow.
-…skip it. SEE Speed-the-Plow! Had trouble choosing, but ended up giving into the fucking awesomeness of the show. And that’s the way to describe it: approachable, hilarious, dark, something you could talk to both profs and bros about without being embarrassed.
Speed-the-Plow in the Hepburn Zoo. 8:00 Saturday. $4, tickets at the door. It might be crowded.