Sea of Fools
A little pruning and shaping would have improved this production a lot, and Letscher really should have been forced to choose between writing and directing, because Sea of Fools is an amiable, sprawling mess. None of the actors except Sandra Birch seem able to get their tongues around Letscher's impossible convoys of words. (Birch not only flawlessly brings cadence and rhythm to lines that are a tad worse than they really need to be, but she also marvelously plays a Swansonesque Egyptian-walking, velvet-turbaned doyenne who crosses the stage with one arm out in front of her as if she's bushwhacking through a thicket.) Grant R. Krause, playing Elia Kazan, instead of showing the dazzling new less-is-more style of acting, can't resist the temptation to mug it up as much as the rest of the actors onstage. A lavish production number at the end is hilariously well executed but comes out of nowhere. Yet you can't really go too far wrong when you get a group of professional actors together to do a play about bad acting. When actors enjoy themselves, audiences tend to follow suit.
[Review published August 2007]