Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Their institution is ancient by Austin standards, with 80 years of theatre history under its present name, but the Red Dragon Players themselves are younger than most thespians in the town. They perform at Stephen F. Austin High School, at 1715 W. César Chavez near Mo-Pac, in the Praes Theatre, an impressive and well-equipped space with stadium seating three-quarters of the way around the playing area.
The Red Dragons' Season's Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn played the first two weekends in December. It was an impressive, crisp and bittersweet comedy, delivered under the direction of Billy Dragoo with the snap and assurance of professional theatre.
High school players are necessarily young in years, but as this piece proves, through the consensual make believe of theatre they can transform themselves convincingly into characters of any age without the guignol of heavy makeup or caricature. For example, Brian Schwartz became Harvey, the sour 60-year-old uncle of this English family, with little more than a cursory touch of white in his hair for the first act. He inhabited that misanthropic, distrustful personality throughout with concentration and fierceness, providing the audience with moments of delighted laughter in the second act when he was repeatedly roused at night by untoward goings-on in the downstairs living room.
Read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .