Thursday, July 19, 2012

Truffaldino Says No, at Shotgun

(Stephen Buescher and William Thomas Hodgson in Ken Slattery's play about commedia dell'arte characters. Photo by Jessica Palopoli.)

In my review of Truffaldino Says No, at Shotgun, I decided not to discuss what I thought was a major problem: an uncompelling title character.

The reason why is that I had two other important points to make, one positive, one negative, and once I'd written those out, the review already reflected my mixed reaction. Did I really need to tip the balance further toward critical in the interest of being thorough?

It's possible that I could have addressed the issue without devoting a whole new paragraph to it. I thought Truffaldino the character started out okay: He's stuck in a role in a world that limits him, and he decides to break out of it. But he's so wishy-washy about what exactly he does want that I felt like I was listening to a college student complain about his parents. (It takes one to know one, though.)  What's more, I felt William Thomas Hodgson's performance added little depth to the part. He amped up the whining rather than play his character's adult sadness and anger. Perhaps such a characterization would have felt out of place in a comedy, but the whining wasn't even funny compared to the choices the other characters made.

Now that I've written down these thoughts, I feel a little bit better about the choice I made in the original review. The flaw I decided to focus on there might actually include what I've written about here. 

Truffaldino Says No has been extended through July 29; info here.

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