by Gerry Roe
Amana – Let’s go to the movies!
For more than a century movies have been an integral part of popular culture. Despite the widespread accessibility, now amplified by DVDs and TV streaming, live performances have not been replaced by reels of film or digitized electronic transmissions. Live theatre offers a uniquely immediate experience abundantly demonstrated in the production of Completely Hollywood Abridged, the first show of the Old Creamery Theatre Studio opening the 2016 season.
Playwrights Reed Martin and Austen Tichener, no strangers to condensation, gave us The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). From a much larger pool of resources, they purport to draw on 186 films from early 20th century forward. I suspect that reading the script alone in a quiet room would not be an especially rewarding experience. Some actors are required: three at a minimum, and it’s not a situation of the more the merrier, but the better the merrier. Three actors, Nate Curlott, Andrew Stachurski, and Old Creamery’s Artistic Director Sean McCall, generate all the merriment required for a laugh-filled live theatrical tribute to American film. As Old Creamery audiences know, Sean McCall’s comic acting is a gift to the audience whenever he appears in a show. Curlott and Stachurski both display fine comic skills and great appeal.
Magdalene Spanuello directed the show, successfully navigating a course for the actors through the maelstrom of allusions displaying their individual as well as ensemble strengths. On a simple but evocative set designed by Marianna Coffey, Jim Vogt’s lighting, and effective costuming (including the occasionally outlandish) by Marquetta Senters all provide strong support for the collective vision of the director and actors.
If you go to see this show (and you should), don’t even try to count the number of movies referenced. Maybe it’s 186, maybe more, but as you recall the movies you’ve seen or regret those you’ve missed, just relax, enjoy the amazing acting in this wonderful world of live theatre, and prepare to laugh. A lot.
Completely Hollywood Abridged runs through April 17. Get tickets here.