Written by Alina Mae Wilson
Don’t let the fanciful title fool you, Moon Over Buffalo is not a tragic and love-ridden romance piece. It’s actually a comedic narrative which focuses mainly on former stars George and Charlotte Hay. George and Charlotte are a flamboyant couple working as the stars in their touring company currently stationed in Buffalo, New York. In the midst of a huge argument their daughter Rosalind arrives at the theatre to introduce them to her new fiancé, while at the same time the famous film director Frank Capra calls to announce his plans to view one of their shows. The jokes and ultimately the plot of the play centered on the bickering and confusion brought on by these events.
For a large portion of the show the audience is bombarded with chaos. “Where is so and so? Where did they go? Which way?” When certain players are searching for each other, they run on and off of the stage, slamming doors, into the hallway, this way, that way, and just missing each other by a moment. While it may have been hard to stage, it resembles nothing so closely as those old cartoons that feature illustrated characters, doing exactly the same thing. It wasn’t enjoyable then either. Almost the entire first act of the show consists of the actors giving up any potential for a surprise joke simply because of how stiff and calculated everything is. The expressions vary but are somehow stilted, as though the performers are going through mental checklists that tell them exactly how each word should be stressed and each eyebrow raised, as opposed to having true reactions that can be attributed to another person’s action. There were a few pauses that seemed too well timed, as though the players were anticipating laughter. It is these pauses and excessive tension in the conversations that took away the comedic surprise.
When the characters were trying to sort out confusing matters, they got noticeably less tense onstage, probably because much of the time they were yelling at one another. It’s delightful to watch them try to figure out their next course of action. Special mention goes to Nicole Gerardi (Eileen) whose moments in the throes of stress are great to watch. Jennifer Johnson (Rosalind) is also a lot of fun in this, particularly because she has good chemistry with every person she has to interact with. Everyone backstage deserves credit. Diann Smith, Wayne Sheffield, and Jim Huffman did a very nice job with the costumes, tech, and set design, respectively.
Attic Community Theater 2834 S. Fairview, Santa Ana, CA
Jan 9 – Jan 25th
Tickets at this link :