GEVA: Making Funny

  aniforaneye 1_5_13

I don’t work in the theater.  I know a little bit; only enough to be dangerous.  But I do know funny.

I read The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarias this morning that will be performed at Geva Theatre.  And, while I see and feel the potential for funny…it wasn’t really that funny on its own.  In fact, the character Ana surprisingly summed up my experience nicely in her review of THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown during one of her Book Club meetings:  “The language is...lifeless.  It felt like I was reading two-dimensional…”

(Note to playwright:  I am not using your character’s words against you.  Rather, I am about to bolster the case for theater which I hope you will appreciate.)

As a script only, it isn’t fully what the playwright knows in her heart it can be.  In my humble opinion, there is a difference between the script and the play.

  • Without the script, the play will never exist.
  • Sadly, however, the existence of the script does not guarantee that the play will.

For it to become three dimensional, we need to add the other ingredients (e.g. performers, director, costume, set, lighting, etc…oh, and audience.).  And these ingredients need to be added in the proper balance or the entire recipe will be a wreck. (Ask my children about the Toll House cookies I made mistakenly substituting a tablespoon of salt for a teaspoon. Not good. And certainly not funny.)

To my fellow cohorts, I will say that reading the script generated some questions in my mind related to casting and the chosen set design with audience on all sides.  And this line of thinking raised additional questions about how they will technically achieve the playwright’s intention (as stated in the stage directions) relative to ‘camera’ placement, ‘obscuring’ the camera, and projections.  And so much more.  In other words, reading the script was useful and has informed my thinking about this process.  It has certainly piqued my curiosity.  However, I have not yet experienced the play that the playwright intended.

I have much to learn and a fair amount to share.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to doing what I can to help ‘make funny’.  I'm looking forward to taking the next steps.