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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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Rent–last show of the season

Posted by joeabbott on August 11, 2012

WP_000523Last weekend we saw the show Rent at the Seattle 5th Avenue Theater as the last show in our 2011/2012 Season Ticket package. And we were ready to be done.

While we enjoyed most of the shows and loved getting out, the fun and excitement of “seeing a show” was tempered by the rigor of “this date, this time, this seat”. It’s a hard toss-up: we saw several shows (and enjoyed them) that we normally wouldn’t have seen without the season ticket, but were also bound by a schedule that, even when we didn’t have other obligations, seemed to say, “hey … you have to do this.” Which wasn’t fun.

On the flip side, in addition to a number of shows that were fun that we wouldn’t have normally seen, there was the few shows that were a bit more of a let down (I’m looking at you, Saving Aimee). And, in complete fairness, had we wanted to reschedule a day or upgrade/change seats, we only had to call the ticket office and work something out.

So, I’m left feeling a bit brittle for my minor complaints but also relieved to have even this tiny slice of my calendar back. I’m sure we’ll see more shows but they can wait. But what about Rent?

Rent was shocking, a bit depressing, but ended strongly enough that I’m impressed overall. I’ll give it a “thumbs up”.

First, I’d assumed it was a show in the spirit of Fame: young kids in NYC trying to get a break in the entertainment industry. What it turned out to be was a young ensemble cast portraying AIDS infected folks from a number of walks of life who are dealing with their sickness and other life’s problems.

Over the past many shows, I’ve found it important to me to like the characters in the show. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like Saving Aimee … the lead character was just a bit too flawed for my likes. And so, into my white bread world comes a show about morally pliant characters engaging in dangerous intimate relationships (wherein they’re infected); there’s drug and booze a-plenty and the repercussions are all tragic.

It was hard to draw in and warm to, but over the show’s length, the characters become people and the stigma of their conditions are merely issues they deal with and not the embodiment of who they are. More easily said, you become to like them.

While the fine acting slowly won me over, the first song after intermission, Season of Love, drew me in like few other songs have. The song has the oft-repeated refrain, “525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear” … it’s a reference to the number of minutes in a year and comments on how they’re spent with loved ones. One of the singers in “The Company” was a woman who absolutely owned one of the solos; her emotional, powerful voice melded wonderfully with the words and nearly stole the show. It was a great moment.

The set was simple and engaging … I especially enjoyed noting that the “graffiti” on walls was actually lines from the play itself … and the cast did a fine job using sections of corrugated sheet metal held by stagehands as walls, phone booths, and doorways. Aside from that, a scaffolding behind and the occasional couch pushed onto the stage served to complete the set.

The last hidden treat to the showing was to identify the actors and actresses we’ve seen throughout the season and gotten to know. Our favorite being Brandon O’Neill, who has been in most of the shows we’ve seen at the 5th this season! He’s been a solid addition to the cast and a treat to see in each new show. Thanks for the enjoyment, Brandon!

And, as they say in “the biz” …. th-th-that’s all, folks!


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