The entire play takes place in the back room of a theater during a performance of Waiting for Godot. While I'm not a theater person, I'm pretty sure that understudies do not sit backstage in full costume during every show. But no matter, it's a great premise that sets up a situation ripe for much clever commentary on theater, acting, and this particular play (there are occasional bits of dialogue from Waiting for Godot and a few repeated lines - "Nothing to be done" - but a familiarity with that play is certainly not necessary for enjoyment of this play). The young and naive actor (Gabriel Murphy) is waiting for his first big break, his supportive Aunt Mary attending every performance in the hopes he might go on. The experienced veteran actor (Sam Landman) imparts much advice on his co-understudy (be in the moment, repeat what the other person says, only give some of yourself so the other person has to work harder), but he's really just as clueless. Their hilarious and ridiculous banter is interrupted occasionally by the ASM (Sulia Rose Altenberg), aka the assistant stage manager, aka the person backstage who makes sure the show runs smoothly and has no time for the understudies' antics.
|Gabriel Murphy, Sam Landman, and Sulia Rose Altenberg|
(photo by Justin D. Gallo Photography)
Loudmouth typically performs at Open Eye Theatre, a space well-suited to their small-in-size (but not in value) shows. Scenic and props designer Meagan Kedrowski has filled the shabby room under Open Eye's tiny arch with various accouterments of the theater, from a rack of colorful costumes, to books, to a bust of... someone. They make nice use of the theater as house lights are occasionally raised in a sort of fourth-wall breaking (don't worry, the show is not interactive!). I only wish there weren't an intermission; it's totally unnecessary with the 90 minute run-time of the show (#intermissionpolice).
If you've not previously heard of Loudmouth Collective, you can be forgiven. They typically do just two shows a year, with short runs, so they can easily slip under the radar. But I'm here to tell you, you should be aware of them, and you should make every effort to see their work. Waiting for Waiting for Godot is one of the funniest plays I've seen this year, a flawlessly executed production of a clever and absurd play based on another clever and absurd play. It officially opens tonight and closes after just eight performances, so don't wait!
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.