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Thoughts from the Audience

Brian Dudley, Box Office Manager
So have you seen the show yet?

Our production of The Temperamentals has now played four full performances, and things are off to a really great start across the board. Oh, sure, I could tell you what the critics are saying – The Boston Globe called it a “solid production,” noting Will McGarrahan’s “finely etched character portrait” of Harry Hay in their review today – but really I feel as though it is more important to you what I think.

You may recall that I wrote a few weeks ago about how I was excited to see this play up and running because of how much the script lends itself to being staged. Well, as it turns out, I was right, because everything about this play is nuanced and tempered (excuse the pun – is that a pun?) and it’s all pretty great. My confusion was washed away and I found myself sitting and really enjoying the show I was seeing. Of course, I don’t want to sit here and just review the play for you, because I am sure you are planning on seeing it. But let me say that I am really excited about how our first four audiences have been responding to this show.

I heard a story recently about a theater professional from out of town who was lamenting and chastising theater audiences these days for only looking for mindless entertainment, for not being interested in  connecting with art, and being afraid to take their engagement with a piece to a deeper level. And I am pretty thrilled to say that The Temperamentals audiences thus far are proving this guy completely wrong. Our audiences have been stopping to talk to us on their way out the door, and I gotta tell you, biased I may be, but all of the conversations I’ve had with people have been thought-provoking and indicative of a real connection to the play.

Some examples. At our post-performance talkback last Sunday, there was a lot of discourse about how truthful and honest the play was when it came to portraying these real-life characters in a fictional setting, and about how timeless and important this story is, and how moved they were by the show. People who’ve been using our Virtual Photo Booth (patent pending) have been chatting animatedly about how the characters are the lifeblood of the piece and how talented and invested our actors are. I’ve observed people fervently reading Nora’s excellent dramaturgy – articles in the program and posted in our lobby – and have overheard conversations that range from dissecting the play from all angles, to stories being told about living through the times depicted in the play, to one person musing on the themes of the play and deciding to sum it up with the classic “to thine own self be true.”

So to whoever says people only want entertainment, I say, pbbttttttthhhhh to you, sir.

… which is not to say that this show isn’t entertaining. I mean, look, this picture contains not only a ukulele, which is statistically proven to be the most entertaining instrument*, but also a turnip with a face on it:

Photo of Victor Shopov, Will McGarrahan, and Shelley Bolman in The Temperamentals

Victor Shopov, Will McGarrahan, and Shelley Bolman. Photo by Mark S. Howard.

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