Monday, September 19, 2011

The Guys by Anne Nelson, Flash Productions at City Theatre, September 10 & 11

ALT review

The Guys, Flash Productions, Austin, TX

The attack on the World Trade Center towers was variously recalled and commemorated around town last week in schools, churches, lodges, assemblies and official ceremonies. The tone varied, according to the sentiments and the level of extrovert patriotism of those involved. The Austin Statesman ran a distasteful series of "Where were you then?" articles, as if any random individual's reaction to the flagrantly mediatized events could validate the nation's shock and anger. The Gilbert and Sullivan Society did a rousing Sunday afternoon musicale of patriotic song, vivid enough to bring a mist to the eyes of this Federal pensioner, followed by a celebration of New York city with amusingly post-fitted G&S pieces.

The theatre folk had their own commemoration, thanks to two of my favorite Austin actors, their director Gabe Smith, and the City Theatre. I attended that Saturday afternoon. The house was not full but it was strongly sympathetic to the undertaking; looking around me, I recognized faces of live theatre performers from across the town. The Guys, sponsored by the virtually anonymous Flash Productions of director Gabe Smith and Ashley Edwards, was offered only for two weekend matinees, a thoughtful scheduling that made it possible for Austin performers to attend.

Fittingly enough, the set was simple, in fact, almost bare -- a simple living room set before a screen, with the detritus of City Theatre's ongoing production of Hair visible at the depths of the stage. One could seek out ironies in that -- the two very different visions of New York City and the wider nation, set almost 35 years apart -- but no one in the audience was trying to be so clever.

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