Theatre Mirror Reviews - "George K. Goes to Work"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Larry Stark


"George K. Goes to Work"

by Rough & Tumble Theatre
Directed by Daniel Milstein

Set Design by Morgan Kaegael
Costume Design by Bonnie Duncan
Fight Choreography by SerahRose Roth
Music by Fred Harrington & the George K. Band
Lighting Design by Stage Manager Kathy Maloney

George K. ......................................George Saulnier
The Mysterious Janitor....................SerahRose Roth
The Co-Worker.........................................Tori Low
The Rival...........................................Sean Kilbridge
The Big Boss...................................Joshua Callahan
The (Dream) Girl.................................Kristin Baker

I agree completely with everything Irene Daly says about this show in Quick Takes up above. "George K. Goes to Work" is the best Silent Movie I have seen in centuries. There is a hint of Harry Langdon about George Saulnier III's face as George, and the show has every bit as much bitter-sweet and slapstick as any Chaplin one-reeler. The phrases "an original wordless drama" or "a play in gibberish" are technically inaccurate because the cast does indeed use One real word; the rest is blaBla, BlablablaBlah, bla BlaBla Blablabla! And no one has ever said it better.

If you may have seen Rough & Tumble's "The Hero, The Villain, The Princess, and Her Dog" you may recognize the form --- but this is not a show for children any more than "The Gold Rush" was. Like any great silent film, it deals both in simplification and exaggeration, basic situations and emotions, precise mime, flawless timing, takes and postures and facial expressions, and live music accompaniment from Fred Harrington. And, I swear, I saw close-ups!

The cast-list names only each actor's principal role, but there are seventeen distinct characters, some achieved with lighting-like changes of Bonnie Duncan's carefully chosen costumes. Stage Manager Kathy Maloney whisks things on and off stage so whistle-quick they seem to appear magically, and her lighting both isolates scenes and expands them with cinematic ease. I suspect the real muscle here is Director Dan Milstein's. (He was taking notes the night I saw the show, a week or so into the run, though what he thought could be improved staggers my imagination.) But it is obviously a group effort, and rarely have I seen an ensemble cast so selflessly attentive to everyone else's moment center stage.

This show should not be allowed to die once it ends the inevitably abbreviated run in the BCA's Leland Center space. My advice for Rough & Tumble would be to move it immediately into The Threshold Theatre space where it should run as a cult classic for a year, if they can keep this flawless cast together that long.

I will reveal that the single word uttered in the show is "Yes" which is just what everyone probably says when the cast assembles for their final, richly deserved bows. This is the must-see show of the season.

Love,
===Anon.


"George K. Goes to Work" (till 17 December)
ROUGH & TUMBLE THEATRE
Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1(617) 426-2787


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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