I’ve seen lots of people fall asleep at the theater. It happens all the time. Sometimes, people eat a heavy meal before the show. Or they’re not use to staying up so late. Or it’s a 3+ hour Shakespearean marathon. Other times, the material is so weak that it can’t hold your attention. You sitting in a nice, cozy, dark theater. You’ve had a long day. What’s happening on stage isn’t very interesting, so you might as well take a little nap. It’s okay. Just don’t snore. That rude!
But it’s an entirely different story if you fall into such a deep slumber during the first act that you actually sleep through the intermission and continue to doze through the second act. That’s when you’ve got a real problem on your hands.
Notice all the empty seats?
Such is the case with the Roundabout’s production of The Language Archive currently in previews. The second act was actually pretty interesting. It had some nice, dreamy fragments that worked and a satisfactory conclusion. But by then, it didn’t matter. It was too damn late. It’s like a car that was driven over a cliff and on the way to the bottom of the ravine, the driver decides she’d like to turn around.
The first act was a lumbering grind. I mostly blame the playwright, Julia Cho. The dialogue is stilted and stiff. It didn’t sound like people talking to one another. It sounded like actors reciting pre-rehearsed lines. There were a lot of false pauses. And it wasn’t the fault of the poor actors.
At the same theater last season I saw Dana Ivey in The Glass Menagerie and it was the polar opposite of this. The dialogue flowed smoothly. It sounded like spontaneous, natural conversation.
And beat me over the head with a big metaphor bat. He studies languages but he can’t talk to his wife. I get it. His lab assistant can’t confess her feelings for him because she has a problem communicating. Yet, she works in a language lab. Oh, the irony! The old bickering couple have a secret language that can only be used when they’re able to communicate with each other. I get it. Okay?
This thing is directed by Mark Brokaw, who knows his shit. Sometimes, the material just doesn’t come together.
Favorite spam email subject line of the week:
Naked pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow will give you iron, man.
naked pics of Gwyneth would give ME iron, man! as for snoozy theater? kinda nice to know it’s not just us amateurs who can knock out an audience. in the bad way…
the picture said it all! *snickering* xoxoxo
He-he. Mind you, I’ve been the other side of the curtain in such a dreadful production I had to fight to stay awake!
Hey, why is the driver a ‘she’?
Is that a four iron or a driving iron?
Daisy: Once at the venerable Public Theater, some guy sitting second row center was snoring really loud. Hilarious!Savannah: Once again, my clandestine cell phone camera skills come in handy.Dinah: Do actors know it’s going to tank during the rehearsal process?Dolce: C’mon. You know why.Nurse: Either iron you mention requires a firm grip.
‘Sometimes, the material just doesn’t come together.’The death knell that strikes horror in any actor’s or writer’s heart.I have to admit that after a spate of matinees after a good lunch with just the one glass of wine I was fighting somnolence. Very embarrassing.
“Do actors know…”Sometimes, but the director often thinks it’s a winner!
Oh, I’m not sure Gwyneth would like that!
Agree “Language Archive” was in need of some serious overhauling. And it was billed as a comedy??? If you get a chance, see “Lombardi”, terrific show now in previews. You won’t be sorry.
Pat: Don’t be embarrassed! It’d incumbent on the artists to provide compelling performances and content that will keep you involved. You’ve paid your money! You’re owed!Dinah: So the directors have more of a tendency to live in a state of denial? I can see that.Ellie: Perhaps not, but I wouldn’t mind.Sharon: I had no desire whatsoever to see “Lombardi” but I may have to reconsider.
Although Ambien did the job to rid me of insomnia, the side effects were too frightening so I had to stop using it. I began sleep walking, sleep cooking–yes, an entire meal at 2 AM– and I don’t remember and finally sleep driving. I was stopped by a state trouper, in my pajamas on I-80 heading west at 11 PM. Don’t remember any of it. Never took it again.