It is embarrassing to admit that I've lived here for 14 years and yesterday was the first time I saw a show at The Hartford Stage. I took Magoo to see Romeo and Juliet. At first I wasn't going to - I wasn't sure if he'd like it. But I asked him if he wanted to see it and he said, "Sure." So there it is.
It's a nice theater. Not huge. There's really not a bad seat in the house. I have learned that when taking Magoo to a show, I have to get good seats or not bother at all. Once I took him to see Peter Pan and we were so far back in the second balcony that you couldn't even see the actor's faces. He doesn't even remember going to it, that's how detached he was.
So, good seats - check.
Hats off to the stage design. It was impressive.
There was a rectangular pit in the middle of the stage that could be flat, or (as seen above) a table/alter could rise out of it. Lower it down a bit - it's a bed. Raise it higher - it's an archway. The ONLY problem with the pit is that it was filled with gravel. Oh, the crunching!
I wonder if anyone ever said, "You know that pit is wicked awesome, Set Designer, but I can't hear anyone speak when they walk." Perhaps they did and the designer didn't hear them because someone was walking across the gravel.
The mausoleum wall opened up (below) and a balcony protruded out. Smooooth. Although, having been on a high platform in a play - without handrails - and I can tell you, even small heights are a wee bit scary. Whenever there was a scene up there and the actors were walking around, inside I was saying, "Yeeeeeee."
Magoo said he liked the performance, although we both agreed that we couldn't always understand what everyone was saying. What I have learned when watching Shakespeare is that if the actor has a good handle on what they are saying, they can convey it clearly to the audience. It's there in tone and in gesture. And there were a lot of actors (the nurse, the friar, Romeo, and Capulet) that were very good - very clear.
But, then there were some who'd deliver a monologue like a recitation of a foreign language. I'd notice Magoo fiddling with his program during those bits.
All in all, I think we both enjoyed it. Romeo and Juliet was not a play I was very familiar with. I knew the basics, but not a lot of the detail, so it was fun to see it all played out.
Thanks so much for stopping in. I don't know about you, but we got a little snow last night. I'm not pleased with it, but at least it's melting now.
Have a great week!
PS - I didn't take any of these photos. They were all pulled from the internet and, I'm sure, are official Hartford Stage photos.