OUT ON THE BAYOU
JANUARY 28, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE
JLyy— Rob Bundy
THROUGH FEBRUARY 13
"What could be more dangerous than that first
forbidden kiss of literature's most famous
lovers? The first forbidden kiss of two schoolboys."
Generously underwritten by Schopf & Weiss
Daring, Innovative Professional Theatre
RE PE RTORYTHEATRE
Tickets 713 52 STAGES
3201 Allen Parkway @ Waugh
Special Guest Speaker
Reverend Jimmy Creech
Rev. Jimmy Creech has been working diligently to change the laws within the United
Methodist Church that discriminate against
After performing a same sex holy union
ceremony for two men, the Methodist
Church Jury found Creech guilty of violating
the rules of the church and withdrew his
credentials of ordination.
Come hear Rev. Jimmy Creech's remarkable
story of faith, hope, and renewal; and how
his ministries continue.
Sunday, February 6, 2000
9am & 11am services
All programs are free and open to the community!
1919 Decatur St., Houston, Texas 77007
www. mccr-hou. com
A seat with an artistic view
One of Houston's exclusively gay and lesbian theaters, The Little Room Downstairs,
presents the world premiere of THE SEAT
BETWEEN, an original work by its founding Artistic Director, Richard Laub.
Other works by Laub include "Buber
Malone" and "Looks," musicals "An
American Fable," "The Conquest and the
Grief," "Dalby and the Sleeping Prince" and
"Unhappy Buddha," which opened the theater at its original 13-seat location in 1995.
"The Seat Between" is best billed as an
autobiographical cabaret, one that explores
gaps in relationships that exist between parents, lovers and friends.
Throughout the evening of music and
narrative, Laub seems like a man with an
emotional construction similar to that of
Swiss cheese. He offers some standard
childhood references we expect to hear—
vignettes of strained family relationships,
connections made with grandparents
rather than with parents, and the general
feeling of growing up "misunderstood"
■ by those around him.
On top of all of this Laub ads a sizable
dose of sexual ambiguity, resulting in a
young adulthood which has more paths
than any of Houston's three airports. Some
of the lines, like "Being born on Valentines
Day, one of the ironies of my life," are amusing, others a bit confusing.
During a sneak preview last weekend, I
was struck by the way in which music is at
the center of this artist's life. Song punctuates most important points for the playwright. Many of the characters in the narrative represent some romantic entanglement
and Laub's touching lament to "Tom" is one
of the show's best moments. Ballads are this
songwriter's strong point and "The Seat
Between" is filled with them.
There are some clever theatrical conventions, as each significant "light" in Laub's
life is represented by one. Parents, grandparents, friends and lovers are all evidenced by some lamp, light bulb, night-
light or other lighted object. These are
lit and dimmed throughout, which keeps
the audience focused.
These lights sprinkle the set, which unfortunately looks like it was thrown together at
the last minute. Exposed wires and speakers
add to a generally disheveled look on-stage,
one small enough that an audience can see
every powerstrip. Laub has utilized this
space infinitely better with other productions at the venue.
His set design and its usual attention to
every detail, has stumbled here. While the
idea behind the lighting concept for this
show is good, Laub's face is shrouded in
darkness for much of the show. While
appropriate at times, the lack of lighting
from the front of the stage prevents us
from seeing many expressions that accompany the script.
Laub credits many influences for "The
Seat Between," people who have permeated
Richard Laub, the founding artistic director of
The Little Room Downstairs, provides a deep
look into his life with 'The Seat Between.'
his life at some point. In addition to family
members and paramours, he introduces a
cadre of therapists and his "metaphysician," who examines not only his current
life, but also those he has lived previously.
Each relationship is examined under a different light—some are looked at with wry
humor, some with profound sadness and
others with utter regret.
The dark comedy in this show comes
with ease. Laub's deadpan delivery underscores the absurdity of many of life's
moments. He speaks of "frustrating his
therapist' and you know its true.
But the tone of the "The Seat Between" is
largely conversational, not theatrical.
Having seen Laub offer the gamut of emotions in last season's emphatic portrayal of
the songwriter with AIDS in "The Last
Session," I know he can give us more.
Playing yourself changes dramatic parameters. Perhaps anguish is not required.
But an audience still strives to connect emotionally with an actor regardless of the character being portrayed. The show's transitional sequences need to be smoothed and more
Laub offers us a view of an examined life,
but to what end and for what purpose? In
delving into his world, we seek to know
more about him, not just to receive information revealed to us through a litany of
Though there are interesting parts in this
show, it has the feel of a work in progress.
Like laub's metaphysician, I would be very
interested in seeing "The Seat Between" in
its next incarnation.
The Seat Between
Through Feb. 12
The Little Room Downstairs,