Saturday, February 04, 2006

Charge (TITLEWave Theatre)

‘CHARGE’--acting and directing excellent at TITLEWave THEATRE

Last fall introduced the Cleveland area to a new performance group...TITLEWave Theatre. The company’s first production was the much praised ‘WAIT.’ My review stated, “In spite of the play, the production is worth seeing for the performances and Vovos’s directing skills.” That, again, summarizes my views of the group’s newest offering, ‘CHARGE.’

Authors pen plays for various reasons. William Inge asked his audiences to look in the hidden recesses of their souls and find the dark places. Arthur Miller continues to tell of a better way to live. Tennessee Williams gave us tales of people who found themselves in societies that didn’t understand them and they, in turn, didn’t understand the society around them. Lerner and Loewe’s musicals painted a picture of the perfect time, the perfect place, and the perfect love story. Edward Albee and Albert Camus both asked viewers to probe into why they exist.

Since Eric Kaiser, the author of ‘CHARGE’ now being staged at Cleveland Public theatre, is noted as an absurdist, he would fall into the Albee and Camus group. Unfortunately, unlike Albee and Camus, Kaiser does not craft a well-conceived play. As one theatre goer said as he exited the production of ‘CHARGE’ which I attended, “What in the hell was that about!” His companion said, “Who cares.” Unfortunately, that was my sentiment.

In spite of the vehicle, ‘WAIT’ is worth seeing. Seeing that is, if you are willing to invest in the 80 minutes of intermissionless dialogue, to see a very good cast operating under the guidance of an effective director.

Jill Levin, Kato Buss, Marni Task, Joe Milan and Perren Hedderson let loose all the cannons in creating their characters. Director Gregory Vovos knows his way around a stage and gets his actors to create his vision of what the playwright has given him to work with. He is aided by an excellent sound design by Zach Humes.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: The program for ‘CHARGE’ states, “Sometimes a play strikes so hard that you can’t shake off its blow. And on the rarest of occasions, a play can do this and leave you laughing. For some people in the audience laughing was the order of the day. For many others, including this reviewer, the production values were high, the insight values low.