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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 9, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 28
Pacing problems plague Wyrd Sisters
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Pacing problems plague Wyrd Sisters

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Wyrd Sisters
Open Circle Theater
Through July 17


Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of novels is very popular. He writes in a tongue-in-cheek style of light fantasy, and Stephen Briggs' adaptation of the sixth book in the series, Wyrd Sisters, continues that light tone and is in production now at Open Circle Theater. Unfortunately, the play is not really ready for primetime, most suitable for high schools or other young people's productions. There are a few vaguely scatological references, probably easily removed or adjusted. There is an intriguing message about the power of words, and it can be interesting to think of how it applies to propaganda in politics nowadays.

The basic story of three witches who save a small kingdom from a despotic ruler who has murdered his predecessor is linked to Shakespeare's Macbeth, including having the murderous Duke rub his hands so vigorously (to get the blood off them) that they end up bloody by the end of the play. There's an orphaned royal infant to save who is handed off to traveling theatricals, and amusing use of puppets for ghosts.

The current production gains from having several competent actors, including Susan Connors and Alice Bridgforth, as the older witches, and Alicia Barta and Todd Van Der Ark as the Duke (female) and Duchess (male), who gamely try to introduce the arch silliness the play demands. However, there is a real problem with pacing, and the style is not carried through, so some performers are just grim, rather than playing seriously for laughs, and most everything takes too long. There are many short scenes needlessly slowed down for unnecessary set changes that don't add much, visually.

If you are a fan of the Discworld series, the play might hold more fun for you, though it's not necessary to be familiar with either Discworld or Shakespeare.

Next up at Open Circle will be a festival of 24 one-acts in August, which will give much more variety to please just about any palate. For more information, go to www.octheater.com or www.brownpapertickets.com or call 206-382-4250.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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