Monday, January 26, 2009

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

So began the second act of the Broadway musical Rent which I saw last night at the very nice, brand new, Durham Performing Arts Center. This venue gives Durham a performance space on par with Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. The acoustics in the space and the comfort of the seating combined with great vantage points for most seating locations makes this a nice place to see a performance.

On to the show. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize, this incarnation of Rent (loosely based on the opera La Boheme) finds cast memebers Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp reprising the roles they originated on Broadway. The narrative role of Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp), a filmmaker, holds this whole play together through narration so it was a pleasure having the original seasoned Broadway performer in this role. The other role in this tandem of Broadway vetrans was that of Roger Davis (Adam Pascal), a musician who is HIV positive. This whole show is based on the chemistry of the relationships between love interests and friends. The previous experience of these two key cast members together made the rapport between the characters of Roger and Mark as friends seem so very natural. The show centers around a group of friends and their reaching for a creative open lifestyle that affords them freedom, money, love and creativity all the time. Of course, there are difficulties around each. There is a lesbian couple and a gay couple and they each have relationship issues like normal couples but also have other issues like HIV. In the end their relationships to each other as a group of friends strengthens eventfully through the loss of one of their number named Angel. The music for the night was performed by a terrific band consisting of a rock quartet plus a keyboardist/pianist. Adam Pascal(Roger) actually played guitar so it made him that much more believable in the role when he sang and played. A superb performance from everyone with creative staging and some great singing moments heralds a fine start to Durham's soon-to-be-tradition of hosting fine theatrical events in their new building.

1 comment:

Ann Marie Simard said...

Lots going on in your area culturally speaking and a nice review to go and contribute to it all. As a thespian myself - yes that too - acoustics and space are the key elements for events such as the one you describe to take place. I was unaware of this musical, but being a big fan of musicals, from Sound of Music to kitschy rock operas and less so, (figure this Harbor movie lights is actually an opening act for a rock opera thing Starmania-wise), certainly very interesting to read, discover. And yes, what an ideal to aspire to and to concretize, freedom, money, love and creativity all the time.

Your blog entry reminded me of several things, among others of the Compassionate Protocol by Hervé Guibert, who lived with HIV and eventually decided to yield place for others, and a professor friend of mine who fought it so hard he is still alive. Most decidedly the cultural scene around your area is very alive and this is such a great thing. Yes to five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Super blog post, thanks for sharing.