Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brill at the Performance Network

Leonardo DiCaprio is taking a "long break" from acting and that means I probably won't enjoy movies for a while. However, theater is not yet ruined by news like this. 'Brill' is currently being performed through February 10th at the Performance Network Theatre.

Photo Credit- Performance Network

The play's backdrop is the 1950's version of the Brill Building in New York, which I later learned was home to the likes of Carole King, Neil Diamond, and Burt Bacharach (whom I always considered less of a person and more as an urban legend). David Wells crafts two disparate characters, seasoned Jimmy Wise and naive Margie Lesser. The play is by no means a musical, not to discount the role of music in the narrative. Music and creation are included as a means to further the story and the character's personal development. However, I also saw music as an antagonist in the plot because it divided the characters and was a hinderance to their aspirations.

Coming from a visual background one thing I found consistently rewarding was the set and costume detail. At one point and time Jimmy pounds on the wall and removes his hand. Visible is grime and wear, implying that this action, though simple, is one that has been repeated for years. The meticulous set was complemented by thoughtful consideration of costume choice. Jimmy's rarely changed shirt becomes a clue to decode for the audience, along with Margie's picks of outfits.

I think it is also important to note that the play, while incorporating drama, is very much a comedy. I found it funny, and because I consider myself a humorous person, you can take my word on that.

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