Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus

By Christopher MarloweThe tragedy of Doctor Faustus by christopher marlowe

Directed by Dan Krall

Produced by The Resonants

At City Lit Theatre

Poor elocution and articulation dooms Marlowe’s classic

One of the main problems with a newbie non-Equity theatre company who attempts to do Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe is the lack of a vocal technique necessary to handle works written in verse. Making things worse with director Dan Krall’s cast are the basic fundamentals of stage elocution and articulation.  From speaking too softly to speaking in a mumbling tone to running a line of words together in a rapid manner–diminished the play.

The opening speech was spoken so softly and rapidly that I could not understand much of what was said. Add the fact that Nate Burger (Faustus) mumbled so often and dropped so many last words that he came off as a dull uninteresting character. He was miscast.  Theatre articulation has many elements and volume is an  essential one. If we can’t heard what is said, then we quickly lose interest. Add a dull monotone and mumbled speech and we start to squirm in our seats.

All the women in this production spoke too soft and too fast. Claire Alden (Mephistopheles) was a zombie like character with whom I often couldn’t understand due to both low her volume and rapid diction. After a few minutes, I became lost as I struggled to decipher this most inarticulate cast. Screaming and physicality use over used to present emotion. I can’t remember seeing a poorer acted show that this tragic attempt at a classic. Most of the show consisted of actors mumbling their lines.  I couldn’t find anything of artistic merit in this amateur production.  I was amazed to see that most of the cast had formal acting training. I guess they forgot that an actor must be heard and understood as the first rule of acting. The Resonants need a vocal coach.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

At City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL. call 1-886-811-4111, tickets $15, Thursdays thru Sundays at 7:30 pm, running time is 1 hours, 50 minutes with intermission, through July 12, 2009

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