Lady Windermere's Fan -- 01/26/03

Nancy and I drove over to Warren last night to see the 2nd Story Theatre production of Lady Windermere's Fan. This is the same theatre company I mentioned last year as putting on a series of one act plays under the rubric of "Short Attention Span Theatre" -- Nancy and I attended their first collection of one act plays early in the summer; shortly after Jennifer moved into her Providence apartment Nancy and I took her out to dinner and then to see 2nd Story Theatre's next collection of one act plays; and a couple of weeks later Jennifer and I got together for dinner and went to the final set of plays for the summer season.

They didn't put on a fall season -- instead they worked on fund-raising and on preparations for their winter/spring season -- earlier this month they closed a deal wherein they bought the building which houses their productions -- and then began this new season of full-length plays with this Oscar Wilde classic. (It's interesting how many of Wilde's witty remarks from this play have become familiar quotations -- such as "A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" and "I can resist everything except temptation.")

The performance was very well done (director Ed Shea is truly gifted). Nancy and I were amazed at what they had done with their performance space -- essentially a large loft filling the entire second floor of the building. Last year they had the audience seated on the two long sides of a rectangular playing area -- very intimate seating, only four rows of seats on each side. They have now changed the seating so that the audience surrounds the playing area -- four sections of seating (again, just four rows deep) angled towards a central area, the gaps between the seating areas forming entrance and exit areas for the actors -- one of these gaps being the main entrance for the audience and the gap opposite that entrance has steps up to a higher playing area.

Their next production (Feb 21 thru March 23) will be Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. I've got to see that. Their final play for the season (April 4 thru May 4) will be Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation. (Durang is probably best know for Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All.)

My only complaint is how far we have to drive to get there. It's about a 45 mile drive. But wait, you may say, I'm always telling you how small Rhode Island is and you're right -- but this is one of those "you can't get there from here" things. We have to drive up to Providence, then take I-195 across the border into Massachusetts, then exit onto 136 back down into Warren, RI -- on the opposite side of Naragansett Bay from where we live. We could probably cut almost ten miles off if we followed my morning commute to work and then continued on through Portsmouth and across to the opposite shore of the bay, but that would require crossing the Jamestown Bridge and the Newport Bridge and Nancy does not do such things easily and would not enjoy the evening very much if she had to face crossing those bridges twice in the course of the evening.

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