Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review - Row After Row


When I was coming back from D.C. on the train last week, I was reading the NY Times online.  I read a review of a play and thought, hey, I'd like to see that, too bad I'm broke!  And then, lo and behold, free tickets crossed my desk!  Seek and ye shall find!  (Now I need to seek and find a free trip abroad...)  And so it came to pass that I went to see Jessica Dickey's Row After Row last night.

I quickly took advantage of the free ticket offer, and happily, a few hours later, a handsome chum asked if I were planning to see the show!  So we went together, meeting first at a pub for a quick drink, then over to City Center to see the show, which is a Women's Project production.  It looked very busy outside the theater, and then I remembered that not only did Encores! start their new season last night, but it was also the last week of Commons of Pensacola, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Blythe Danner.  You may wonder why I even mention that.  You'll see why I mentioned it later...

Row After Row deals with Civil War re-enactors, who yearly meet up to participate in the recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg.  After two men, longtime friends, finish their latest re-enactment, they head to their neighborhood bar for their usual beer, only to find a woman has encroached on their usual table.  And from there we get another conflict (to contrast with the conflict of the war between the states).  The contemporary scenes are interspersed with scenes that take place during the Civil War, showing the similarities between the past and present for these characters.

photo credit: Carol Rosegg
I found the plot very engaging - I certainly have never seen this particular story before, the dialogue was interesting (though a tad heavy-handed in places) and the acting was fine throughout (though they got heavy-handed when the text did).  I enjoyed myself at Row After Row and did find myself thinking about how things are as they ever were throughout history, especially the struggles between men and women.  I did find the attempts to interject more 'meaning' into the play a little obvious (there's a whole section about the use of the word 'retarded' that seems to be for another play, and the whole feminism monologue got to be a little much).  But on the whole, I thought Row After Row was well put-together and I would be interested in seeing more work from Jessica Dickey.

After the play was over, my handsome chum and I waited in the lobby for a few minutes for more of his chums.  One of his chums asked our opinion of the play, and I jumped in with my five block rule!  Sorry, handsome chum, for throwing my five block rule at you and your chums.  Next time, discuss away.  :)   Anyway, we stood in the lobby for a bit, chatting about other things, then we left the theater.  As we walked outside, there were people with cameras, facing us, taking tons of photos.  I thought, why in the world are people taking my picture?!  It was weird.  Then I turned around and saw Sarah Jessica Parker.  She was standing on one side of me and Blythe Danner was on the other.  I feel sorry for the people who have their pictures of them with me in the center...

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