Thursday, November 3, 2016

American Buffalo at Theater on Edge.


I went to a dress rehearsal of American Buffalo at Theater on Edge, (5542 Hansel Avenue Orlando, FL 32809). The theater is very intimate with just two rows of seats. Monica Mulder, an actress who played Oberon in a recent production of Shakespeare's, A Mid Summer's Night Dream invited me to the rehearsal. She was seated in the audience having a quick fast food diner. I assumed she would be in the production. I was wrong however, she is also a photographer who took shots to promote the show. I had followed a young man into the theater. He spoke to Monica multiple times in a barely audible whisper. I finally had to ask Monica if he was "in character" and she laughed, saying he was. He had a tough role as Bobby in the production.

American Buffalo is a 1975 play by American playwright David Mamet. The stage set was amazing. It replicated the chaos of a junk shop. A tiny horse carousel trinket reminded are of the Glass Menagerie that I had sketched days before.   Donny, Allan Whitehead, who owns the junk shop where the entire play takes place, had sold a buffalo nickel to a customer for ninety dollars but now suspects it is worth considerably more. He and his young gofer, Bobby, Zack Roundy, planned to steal the coin back. Teach, Marco DiGeorge, a poker buddy of Don's, arrived and learned of the scheme. He persuaded Don that Bobby is too inexperienced and untrustworthy for the burglary, and proposed himself as Bob's replacement. Teach suggested they steal the whole coin collection and more. Don insisted that their poker buddy Fletcher join the heist to watch their backs. Teach insisted that Fletcher was not needed. 

From the moment Teach arrived in the shop in his brown leather suit and brown pants, along with his 70s style handlebar mustache, he was a a violently paranoid braggart, a raw nerve of twitching swirling energy. He was a stark laughable contrast to Donny and Bobby's lazy meandering conversation about what to get for breakfast. These high-minded grifters fancied themselves businessmen pursuing legitimate free enterprise. But the reality is that they were merely pawns caught up in their own game of last-chance, dead-end, empty pipe dreams. Their dream was based on false information which lead them to turn on each other. 

I was completely riveted. In one scene, Teach almost choked on his breakfast bacon. The director Pam Harbaugh, later said that this wasn't method acting, she was concerned for his well being. She was also thrilled that the audience of media were laughing so much during the production. After so many rehearsals, it is rewarding to hear the reactions. Violence later the play was shockingly real. I was caught off guard. I loved the intimate staging that left a fine line separating the audience from the action. 

American Buffalo runs from November 3rd to November 20th. Seating is very limited, so be sure to order a ticket online. 

1 comment:

Derek Rowe said...

What a great review! And the sketch is pretty amazing. I helped Marco design the website and the flyers and I was super impressed when I got to see the set for the first time. TRULY AMAZING WORK! Note: I think the play goes from Nov 3rd to Nov 20th (instead of Nov 6th as mentioned in this post) Thanks for writing about this!