Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Awake and Sing!": NO RATING

There will be no review of the very entertaining Clifford Odets' play "Awake and Sing!," playing at the Aurora Theatre through September 27. This has nothing to do with the crackerjack cast's interpretation of the 1935 classic -- it has to do with the new start time for Tuesday Night performances at the Aurora: 7pm. When the reviewer arrives at 7:45 for what he assumes is the normal 8pm curtain, there is little to do but wait until Intermission, with the others who made the same mistake, have a cookie and then go in for Act Two.

Act Two, by the way, is really good. Rod Gnapp is as noirishly creepy as always as Moe, Ray Reinhardt is a terrific patriarch of the Berger family while Ellen Ratner and Charles Dean are excellent as the second generation parents. The puppy seen above enters briefly, receives an AWWWWWWW! from the audience, and exits. But the real show-stopping role belongs to Anthony Nemirovsky, as Sam, the about-to-be-jilted husband. Seeing only Act Two makes us want to see Act One, which we will do soon.

But the Aurora must be used to this because they were all set up with listening devices in their office. The reviewer and his wife and one other couple sat there listening with headsets to the end of Act One being performed on stage a hundred feet away, and to tell the truth it was a lot of fun. Odets wrote this play in 1935, during the Golden Age of Radio, and the dialogue felt just like it would have while gathered around the Motorola in the parlor seventy five years ago. We could hear that the characters were sitting at a dinner table and we saw that table in our minds, heard their Philadelphia accents and imagined what each person looked like when we heard his or her voice.

When you're in the theater, you don't see the actors running through the backstage hallway to get from one onstage exit to another onstage entrance, but you do see them when you're in the office. You hear them on the headsets leaving the stage, then watch them silently tear through the hallway, pause outside the door to adjust their hair, then hear them enter on stage through the headsets again.

It's too bad about radio. What did we get? TV. Sheesh.

RATINGS: (1) NO RATING and (2) Zero ☼ baub baub baub BANG

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division will give no rating for "Awake and Sing!" until we see the show in its entirety.

However, the Reviewer is given No Stars with Three Baubles of Shame, the lowest review possible. He really should know better. On a brighter note, his beautiful wife is awarded a grateful BANGLE OF PRAISE because she didn't say "Didn't you CHECK the time before we LEFT?" even once. Thanks, Hon.

Sorry for the glitch, fans. We'll review later with Act One under our belts once and Act Two twice.

"Awake and Sing!"
Aurora Theater
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
Through Sept. 27

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