Beyond Therapy at the Waterbury Center

On Friday evening, August 24, I went to Waterbury Center to see a production of Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy in a production by a company new to me, the Waterbury Festival Players. (Their performance space is to be found just off Route 100, beyond the chocolate manufacturer and Hookers Furniture, on the left.) They work out of a stationary fabric structure in which they are able to have sufficient theatrical lighting and a large playing area that seems to be permanent -- it is certainly one way to build yourself a home for theater without all of the enormous costs of erecting a traditional building from scratch-- and it is air-conditioned.

One of the first things I notice about a theater group, whether at home or on tour, is its punctuality. Allowing for the fact that my watch may not be 100% accurate and/or chronometrically accurate to a nano- second, according to all the devices I had at my disposal, they were late starting. In fact nearly 10 minutes late. That tardiness was reflected in the pacing of the perfor-mance in general. But more about that later.

As to Durang's play: It seems to me that it is not a long play, and audiences being inured as they are to intermissionless one-act plays today that have play times of approximately an hour and a half (on average), I see no reason not to run it straight through. It is the essence of this play that it should feel movielike, with quick cuts, quick blackouts to end scenes, and quick starts to subsequent scenes, almost going so far as to overlap the dialogue from one section of the stage just as the beginning dialogue on another section of the stage is closing, accompanied by a blackout and lights up simultaneously. This company had preset all four sets and only needed to reset the final two restaurant scenes. They could have managed to preset this, however, if they had been so motivated--that is if they felt the same urgency in tempo that I believe to be inherent in the script.

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