Friday, July 25, 2008

Bach at Leipzig: A Review

Event: Bach at Leipzig, Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Cost: My tickets were “comp’ed”. To attend, tickets range from $12-$44.



Stephen Caffrey (Fasch) in SSC's 2008 production of Bach at Leipzig by Itamar Moses.
Photo: R.R. Jones.


Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s production of “Bach at Leipzig”. This was my first time attending a Shakespeare Santa Cruz show, and I was very pleased with the overall experience.

The indoor theater (where this show is playing) is lovely and small, with no real need for amplification. Every seat in the house seems to be a good one. I like intimate theaters, and I’m all for being close to the action.

Parking is a steal- $2 and very close to the theater. There is food, wine, and a gift shop on site, but you could also bring a picnic and enjoy it there, if you come early.

The basic plot of the show is that six composers have gone to Leipzig to apply for the position of organist at Leipzig- a position which holds a great deal of prestige (and a modest salary). The six other composers use guile, trickery, tomfoolery, and all other means of subterfuge to eliminate the competition. Much of the exposition is done in an epistolary manner- where the characters read their letters aloud before releasing them by pigeon, signaling the end of the letter.

It sounds boring, I grant you. That’s not at all the case. It’s really funny, and really fast. Meaning, if you’ve had too much wine beforehand, you’ll feel a little behind.

In addition to lightening-quick dialog and beautiful costuming, the acting is quite good.

One small criticism that I have is that the actors would start a line quickly, and gain momentum, leaving me reaching for my Tivo remote- to jump it back. As a naturally quick speaker, I know it’s hard to slow down, but really, I only fell behind once or twice.

The story is easy to follow and a great deal of the humor is obvious. There are some high-context moments, but the show is fairly accessible.

I would call this a good “date” play- not too heavy, nice and light, but not necessarily family-friendly. There is a close-to-naked character, but all of his vital bits are covered. (In fact, I would attend again just for the eye candy. I’m just saying.)

Another high point of the show is the fight scene at the end. It’s magnificent, and my second favorite staged swordfight EVER. (First place still goes to the swordfight in The Scarlet Pimpernel.)

Would I go again? Most definitely. You should go, too.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, you know your life is warped when you first read that as "where the shawl is playing." Glad you got to go!


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