Friday, September 30, 2016

Ripped Tideline

For anyone who was inspired to see Wajdi Mouawad's Tideline at Hart House due to my urging, I am sorry for the plug.  A friend from out of town decided to join me, and I apologized to her for inadvertently dragging her out to this the minute that the lights went up.  I simply cannot believe this is the same playwright who wrote the brilliant Scorched.  This was saggy and so repetitive.  (Slotkin sort of touches on this, but really needed to be more blunt about what an exhausting and self-indulgent play this is.)  Why have 2 orphans telling their stories about a war-torn land, when you can have 5!  And how long do we need to hear the corpse go on about how he wants to be buried on the land, not at sea, and then sort of declaims poetry about something or other?  It was like the extended, extended edition of Lord of the Rings where it just would not end.  I guess it ran about 2 hours 40 minutes, but it felt like 3.5 hours or more.

And it is a shame, since there is maybe 10-15 minutes of interesting material in the beginning, but after meeting the coroner and seeing the corpse, and then having the uncle reveal the big secret about his father, that is all we need to launch into the much superior second act.  (Everything about the knight that appears in dreams should be cut, and basically any reference to Wilfred's night of passion on the evening he got a phone call telling him his father was dead.  It was not well-written the first time we heard about it, and it was repeated about 10 times throughout the play.  The show started off as a kind of metaphoric wankfest and never truly recovered.)  But even the second act needs to be tightened drastically with 2 and probably 3 characters cut.  Basically I thought this was a flabby mess of a play, and it would be hard, though not impossible, to redeem it.  More than anything, I guess I will use it as a reminder for myself that really the audience knows when a play is too long, and extra padding is only of interest to the playwright and occasionally scene-chewing actors.  I'll have to have friends be ruthless and tell me when my writing is getting boring.

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