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Wednesday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 25 Mar 2009

WIN TICKETS BEFORE YOU CAN BUY ‘EM: The Lexus Broadway Series will take up residence at the new Dallas Center for Performing Arts this fall. Which shows will be coming to town is anyone’s best guess – and that’s the point. The DCPA is holding a contest, asking you to guess what the first four […]

CTA TBD

WIN TICKETS BEFORE YOU CAN BUY ‘EM: The Lexus Broadway Series will take up residence at the new Dallas Center for Performing Arts this fall. Which shows will be coming to town is anyone’s best guess – and that’s the point. The DCPA is holding a contest, asking you to guess what the first four shows will be. The first person to get it right will win a pair of tickets to one of the shows. The series schedule will be announced on April 6. Good luck.

MAKE SPACE FOR ART TOUR: If you’ve yet to see the winners of the La Reunion TX Make Space for Art contest, a new opportunity comes on Thursday. The winning entries will be on display beginning tomorrow through April 9 at the Dallas Center for Architecture. An opening reception will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with a book signing.

For more about the contest and its winners, check out this recent post. For all the details on the new display, check out its listing here. And to see how some of our local artists have made space for art, check out our online Artist Spaces tour.

stage_bloodTO BLEED, OR NOT TO BLEED: There seem to be two approaches to simulating bloodshed onstage. Option 1 is trying to make it look as realistic as possible. Here, you risk either a) looking silly or b) grossing out your audience. The other option is to go the overly fake route, the whole red ribbon pouring out of the gut routine. But does the lack of realism take the audience out of an obviously pivotal scene? Chloe Veltman over on the Lies Like Truth blog delves into the question, and it got me wondering how our local theaters have dealt with the topic. If you’ve recently had to make this choice, let us know why you picked the way you picked and how it turned out.

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  • Anne

    RE. bleeding: Just saw Psychos Never Dream at the MAC over the weekend. The Kitchen Dog folks, especially Raphael Parry, may have something to say about this topic. He’s covered in blood for a good chunk of the show.

  • The first time I saw the ‘pulling the red ribbon out’ technique onstage — more than 15 years ago — I thought it was remarkable: mesmerizing yet lovely, therefore highly welcome in a death scene that should grip viewers.

    The 6th or 7th time, I thought, “Can’t theater directors think of something else?” As for gross out: Frankly, I’ve rarely seen blood and guts onstage that was done so grimly, so authentically, that it was shocking. Most often, stage blood needs to be presented with a surprise or a twist so the splash of red gets an extra jolt. (Raphael Parry’s sudden return in Psychos is a perfect case in point.)

    The trouble isn’t just that carnage is difficult to convey convincingly at close range (actors would have to be carrying around a half-pound of hamburger in addition to the squirt bottle of blood). For safety reasons, theaters usually can’t use exploding squibs, either. So they can’t duplicate the impact of gunfire. Kurt Kleinmann once rigged up a very ingenious stage device for simulating bullet ricochets (the sound, plus a puff of smoke and shards off a stone wall), but that didn’t involve bloodshed.

    Actually, it’s often the side effects or consequences of violence that theaters can present with great power. And I don’t mean people weeping. Years ago, in Ken Bryant’s Romeo and Juliet at the Dallas Theater Center, Kurt Rhoads, who played Tybalt, was run through with a rapier at the end of the first act. Rhoads crumpled up in great pain onstage, there was nothing glamorous about his death. And then he lay there, this black-clad corpse, through the entire intermission. It was worth it to see audience members return to their seats and see him still there. Partly, it was the undeniable fact of his death and what it meant in the play; partly it was that flash of doubt — was he really hurt? Producing that shock was a real coup de theatre.

  • Paul Barnes

    I agree that Raphael Parry’s entrance in Kitchen Dog Theater’s “Psychos Never Dream” is just stunning. The same scene on video or film would be, well, just meh. Kitchen Dog also served up a great bloody scene in Edward Albee’s “The Goat.” Diane Box-Worman’s appearance was a great gory shock. And now Kitchen Dog is rehearsing “Titus Andronicus,” Shakespeare’s bloodiest, grisliest play. And it will be set in Mayan times as if it needed to be any more gory. There will be stage blood by the buckets. Societies once saw hangings, beheadings and dismemberment as entertainment. Greek tragedians were covered in blood. I won’t comment on Christianity or Judaism. So, there is something we all share in the horror/revulsion/fascination of spilt blood. So, if you want a real jolt, watch them open a vein in live theater!