September 16, 2008

How Shakespeare Won the West - what audiences are saying


Alex said...

The play “How Shakespeare Won the West” is bad. It’s beyond bad. It’s awful. Probably the worst play I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen hundreds of plays. It’s maybe OK for a middle school but not even for a high school. I was appalled by the fact that the Huntington produced it. Shame!

Todd Williams said...

Hi Alex,

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's why the blog is here.

One of the things I've explored a little on the blog is the notion of how differently people experience the same performance.

Our production of The Cherry Orchard produced a wide spectrum of opinion - though mostly on the favorable side (see Last spring there were equally different reactions to our production of The Cry of the Reed. One critic really wasn't thrilled with the structure of the play - but he singled out the performances of Cigdem Onat and Amir Arison in his top ten list of the year.

It's apparent from the video here that a good deal of people really enjoyed the show and thought it a worthy endeavor, as did the Boston Globe.

And it's likewise plainly obvious from your comments that you did not. And there are reviews that have echoed your comments.

I think this disparity is part of why we find theatre and other art forms exciting - everyone experiences it uniquely.

I'm glad you saw How Shakespeare Won the West. I hope you come see Boleros and Rock n Roll - I look forward to your comments then.

And I hope that those of you who have not seen it will give it a shot and make up your own minds.



Esther said...

I saw the play Sunday afternoon. I liked it but didn't love it. (I've posted a review on my blog).

I thought that Richard Nelson tried to cram a lot of ideas and characters into a very short amount of time and as a result no one really stood out.

Plus, it was more about the journey to California than the process of actually putting on Shakespeare for gold prospectors. And I admit there were times when my mind began to wander.

And some parts were just bizarre, like the kidnapping that occurs. I don't mind satires of organized religion but this just seemed like a bit of a cheap shot. Plus, the action shifts from comedy to tragedy pretty abruptly and that kind of threw me.

I wouldn't call it awful or the worst play I've ever seen, but it was a bit disappointing. Still, I was intrigued by the plot, and Nelson has some interesting things to say and I generally enjoyed the performances. So I'm glad I saw it.

Sean H said...

The play was amazing, a laugh from start to finish. I hope the cast and crew can see the smiles in the audience. I have never been so surprised at a final scene in any play! Who would have thought that it was drawn from a real adaptation.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

Keep it up!

Todd Williams said...

I've been reading Ester's blog (Gratuitous Violins - for some time now as she regularly writes about her experiences here at the Huntington.

Thanks for joining the conversation Esther.

You too Sean!

Esther said...

Hi Todd,
Thanks for the shoutout. I'm hoping to attend some more shows this season.

In fact, the Huntington was the impetus for starting my blog. I began blogging one year ago yesterday and my first post was a review of "The 39 Steps." I sent a very enthusiastic e-mail to a friend about how much I enjoyed the play, and he told me I should start blogging, so I did!

(And btw, last season's "She Loves Me" was great, too.)

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