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Last Day of Camp

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I never read “Anne of Green Gables”. Call it a failing of my public school elementary education, a lacking of my catholic high school, and my college level children’s lit having us read “Little Princess” instead but I’ve never read the story about a plucky red head that gains acceptance in a Canadian town. In fact my understanding of the Maritimes comes from Kate Beaton and a few Vinyl Café episodes. Mind I did watch mini series of “Anne of Green Gables” in Las Cruces in ‘02 and my sister watched “Avonlea” back in the early 90s but I’m hardly an expert.

For me it began on October 29th when I got a call from dispatch asking me if I wanted to do a deck run on this show. I texted a 4 friends and 3 said ‘yes’ 1 said ‘no’ after a month it was apparent the dissenting vote that was right. That show was dull. A wasted three hours of show that went nowhere.
If there is a conflict it is a superficial one between Anne and the town. An orphan up against the Victorian ideals of Canada, a youth with no family and no history dropped into a Podunk town where her nature and looks cause her to stick out. So let’s call it an Anne versus society but this is never resolved. In fact beside a few hints when she is first introduced to the town and by a resentment by Josie Pye this conflict goes no where. Mostly it is resolved by the beginning of act 2 when Anne saves Minnie May but instead of the show ending with everyone accepting this ginger and bringing her into her fold in a fools-esq song the show continues for a hour where Anne goes to college, Mathew dies and things are dragged out so the show runs nearly 3 hours.

No conflict is fine if the show has great characters but no so much this one. All of them are one dimensional characters. The closest any character gets to change is Marrilla because she goes from not wanting Anne to finally accepting her with a hug and revealing how much love she actually had for Anne in a sentimental moment right before the final number. The change is never shown. Marrilla mentions it but there isn’t a sequence of scenes with Marrilla and Anne getting closer and closer or even having a close and tender moment after Mathew dies, possibly in song, how much he meant to them and how he brought them together and revealing their feelings that way it has some depth and seems natural instead of coming out of nowhere.

In fact there is a line just before what could have been a romantic scene where Anne and Gilbert Blythe finally express their feelings and end up kissing or at least something beside ‘being the best of friends’. Not saying we need to pull out the shed again and then they have a hot, steamy time inside the shed but something beside this banal moment where they want to be friends. I digress the line was one of the guys says ‘It’s too bad Gilbert won’t be going (to university) we always had such fun’.
When did you guys have fun with Gilbert but in the first school scene where everyone runs amok. Outside of that moment Gilbert goes fishing (or rather says ‘Put down your poles and join me’… which might have been fun) with these guys after seeing Anne but I see that as a moment where a guy tells his friends ‘Bros before Hos!’ after being spurned by a girl and possibly trying to have sex with them in a fit of desperation and Budweiser. But I’m a cynic.

I don’t say anything about this show that reviewers didn’t beat me to. The songs are boring, they go nowhere and are slow. As Michael Strangeways at Seattle Gay Scene said “The music also fails. A fellow theater critic whispered into my ear at intermission, “They have two melodies; a slow one and a slightly faster one…” And, I added, “Neither one is very interesting.” ( source) It’s absolutely true.
In fact nearly every review said the cast was great but the music wasn’t. And these critics saw it maybe once. I saw it 84 times and the bonus of it being so lackluster is no song got stuck in my head. There was one moment that did and it was the final song of Act 1 when the much of the ensemble goes ‘Marilla”. There was some words before it but I have no idea what they are it all seemed noise. Blurred together by my standing by to fly the BOC and the fact it was mixed for audience and I was standing in the wings.
So bonus?
I think so.

This will be a show I forget fairly soon. It’s something that wasn’t great or memorable and I didn’t even have some great backstage antics. I had a few but most happened last year and those are a different story.

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