Friday, June 20, 2008

Kit & Little Boots

Nat Cassidy has a Hamlet fixation. I called it last night at a performance of his play The Reckoning of Kit & Little Boots. And then Nat confirmed it when I had drinks with him and actor Bruce Barton afterwards. At one point Kit - that's Christopher Marlowe to you - is being cradled in the arms of his pal Bill Shakespeare, like Hamlet being held by Horatio. There are also some lines in the play that sound right out of HAMLET.

Nat's played the Great Dane on at least two occasions, while in college in Tuscon AZ (see picture on the left and read the review here) and more recently, on a merry-go-round in Brooklyn for the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater. I saw a video performance of the first, and the second in person. He's very good in both. I'm not sure I'm crazy about his fixation spilling over into his play about Christopher Marlowe though.

The KIT play has been getting an enthusiastic audience response - Bruce really liked it, and so did Martin Denton - so I feel like the big freak because I didn't love it too.

Nat and I just had an email debate about the play actually. I think the play is over-intellectuallized in striving to be about, in Nat's own words, "the creative process." As a result I think it's less emotionally affecting than it could be. I also think it needs a tighter narrative structure. And he needs to drop Marlowe's sisters and include a boyfriend instead.

We agreed to disagree.

I would say that in general too many plays try to be clever and cutting-edge at the expense of emotional impact. In my opinion, what a playwright should try to do is give the audience an emotional orgasm. And you can't do that unless you make the audience experience something happening to the characters. Having the characters tell you about something that happened to them in the past is not nearly as effective for building an emotional climax.

I also think that if you want an intellectual discussion, read the works of philosophers. Art is about beauty and emotion.