Saw a Chuck Mee play yesterday, "Summer Evening in Des Moines", lit by the marvelous Kathy A. Peter. The Boston College audience seemed rather baffled by it, but I thought it was quite wonderful, in its way. A lot of really nice moments, interesting ideas, theatrical gestures.
Some people can't get over acting when they see a show. Bad acting will ruin the whole thing for them, regardless of a clever witty script, fantastic production values, or what have you. The "Shakespeare Ensemble" at MIT was a group of such people --- go see a show with them and afterwards all they could talk about was whether the lead actress sufficiently internalized her role, or controlled her breathing properly, or what have you. Yuck. I seem to be able to withstand quite a bit of bad acting, if there's something deeper there for me. Maybe this is the same skill-set which enables some people to enjoy subtitled foreign films, while others can't enjoy them at all. The ability to screen out distractions to concentrate on the *ideas*.
This is not to say that the acting was awful or anything. But in hearing people talk about the play, I heard a lot of *distractions*. It had a complex plot line. Actor X did that, or didn't do the other...
But the *ideas*. The *ideas* were beautiful. Hats off to Chuck Mee.