Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seven Guitars: 08/19/2006

The Signature Theatre Company’s next three shows will be by the late August Wilson. The first is Seven Guitars. It was weird to see this very polished, expensive production in the middle of the Fringe Festival. Seven Guitars is sort of the antithesis of a Fringe show – it’s well rehearsed, played on a detailed set (complete with live chickens - and if you are keeping score, this is the second appearance of live chickens on stage in as many months), and it’s all very professional. It’s also just under three-hours long. The house and pre-set fade alone last about five-minutes. Seven Guitars takes it time. One of the rewards being characters that are well developed; anther being a mood that is created on stage that never leaves. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a member of the original Broadway cast of Seven Guitars, directs with purpose. Kevin Carroll, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Brenda Pressley, Lance Reddick, and Roslyn Ruff do fine work in this production. All this polish, however, does not create an excitement that you feel some shows that are loaded-in in fifteen minutes, created by up-and-coming artists with day-jobs who are taking risks with no money. The irony is that Signature’s season, being under-written by Time Warner, allows for all tickets to be $15 – the same price as Fringe tickets. That's show biz.

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