A Review from Inside: Theater J’s Tech Director Shares His Thoughts

Although I have worked on the show for literally months (building & installing the set), I’ve been quite isolated from the performance end of the process.  I never attended any of the rehearsals or previews.  For me, opening night was as much an introduction to DAVID as it was to the rest of our audience.

   And I absolutely loved it.  That is my unqualified, honest-to-the-bone, gut reaction.  I believe it is among the best pieces I’ve seen on our stage in my four seasons here at Theater J.  DISPUTATION would be its rival, in my book.    It’s an incredible, unique amalgam of several theatrical disciplines, which for me were integrated beautifully—making the artistic choices involving them appear almost inevitable, as if there were no other way for each moment to be realized.

 Particular strengths-

1)       The difficult, beautiful music. . . and its OUTSTANDING execution on the part of the cast and the musicians.   It’s very out of the ordinary, often atonal, and often leaves you wanting to hear more of particular moments and phrases.   It teases, then moves you on.

2)       The cast.  All of them.   Matt P & Bobby S are just brilliant in their shared/opposing roles.  At times subtle, at times delightfully over-the-top.  But by no means is the rest of the cast riding in their draft.  There isn’t a performer or performance that could be removed or changed that wouldn’t diminish the show.  The depth of emotional commitment expressed, moment-to-moment, in each scene, by every cast member, is  extremely difficult to achieve and sustain.   And it’s something you generally don’t notice until it’s missing.  Bravo to all on that score.

3)        It does challenge the audience—but it’s a positive challenge.  It isn’t at all inaccessible.  Much like Shakespeare or Shaw (well, not stylistically, of course), it rewards you mightily for making the effort and having the wherewithal to stay attentive and alert and INVOLVED with what you are seeing and hearing.  And I say this as someone who wasn’t planning on investing himself emotionally as an audience member— and who nevertheless found himself in tears at the end of both acts.   Particularly the 2nd.  

4)        The fact that “simple” production choices were made, and then used so effectively— particularly, of course, with the shadows. 

And, oh, I could go on and on.  There just wasn’t any element that struck me across the face as “weak”.  Sounds silly, I know— but there you have it.  This is a very unusual response for an aging, jaded, Tech Director— usually we’re kind of “over” every show by the time it gets up.  Not here, brother, not here.  I’m VERY proud to have been a part of the team that has brought this production to life.

Tom Howley
Tech Director
Theater J