16 MONTROSE VOICE / SEPTEMBER 27, 1985
Ensemble 'Falls' Into
New Theater Season
By Bill O'Rourke
Montrose Voice Theater Critic
Poets can write about Spring. They can
call the robin its harbinger. All the plants
are budding. There's hope and renewal in
the very air.
Come to think of it, they can even write
about fall. Thank God it's cool again.
Many Texans can have nostalgic memories about their first home—where the
quaking aspen turn golden.
I, of course, am a play reviewer, not a
poet. Still, I didn't need the calendar to tell
me last weekend that fall had arrived.
Suddenly there are more plays than I have
time to review. (I just missed Vernonica's
Room at Theater Suburbia. You still have
time to see it, but you wouldn't if you
watied for me to review it first.) Suddenly,
too, I am faced with plays which are intentionally depressing, like The Ensemble's
Split Second. Personally, I prefer robins.
However, there are important, serious
issues which need to be discussed and
which are being ignored by the mass
media. Many of these issues were meant
for the stage, anyway. It is where they can
best be discussed. Not only do I accept that
fact, it makes me proud to be a live-stage
So it is not as some flit who can't enjoy a
good drama, who has to be laughing all
the time, that I feel forced to caution you
against going to this show.
Nor is it the acting. It is up to The
Ensemble's usual high standards. This is
a starring turn for Lee Stansberry. He is
only offstage for about two minutes of the
entire play. He carries it off with aplomb.
Yet he is such a good, giving actor. And
the rest of the cast is so strong that the
evening has nearly a small ensemble feel.
Nor is it the direction. George Hawkins
is a fantastic director. I have seen several
actors who were never much more than
good journeymen elsewhere give shining
performances under his inspirational
Was it the lighting? Alvin McAfee did
what he could with what he had. It was
still very dim. This theater, like a couple
others I could mention, desperately needs
more lighting instruments. (In theater, if
you just call them lights, you run into all
sorts of trouble.)
No. All-in-all it would have been a marvelous production were it not for the script.
What could have so blinded George Hawkins that he chose this play by Dennis
Mclntyre to open his tenth season? It's
There are two scenes in the play that are
not like every other scene in the play. One
of them is the very first scene in which a
white punk in handcuffs so torments a
black cop by giving him undeserved, prejudiced lip that the cop shoots him.
From there on out, each scene begins
with the cop lying to another character
about the first incident. Then the other
character sees through it. Then the cop
changes his story closer to the truth. The
scene-change music wells up. There are
approximately three more sentences of
dialogue. Blackout. This scene, with variations only in the characters and the
details, is played out five or six times.
Theme and variations work well in
other, shorter artistic media—music,
poetry—but it does not work in theater.
Well, maybe in LaRonde, but not here.
Everything is so predictable. You know
you've come to the climax when there are
two people onstage and neither one is the
cop. You know that either the man has
taken the only honorable way out of the
situation—hari kari—thus allowing the
playwright to continue on indefinitely
with two character scenes. Or else he is
probably going to listen to his wife, a close
relative of Lady MacBeth—in which case
the parallelism will be broken. Three people onstage in this play^can only mean the
end is nigh.
Pity. Mclntyre writes very good characterization. Now if he can only come up
with something for his people to do.
Meredith Monk to perform at the Tower Theater Saturday and Sunday.
San Francisco Ballet premieres new works in Houston.
Buzz is back out of the hospital. Cheer up!
Casts don't last forever. It only feels that
The Group's production of One donated
$1750 to the KS/AIDS Foundation. Director Joe Watts is a little disgruntled that he
didn't make more for them, but, as I told
him, it's the best any art happening has
done for them locally. Next AIDS play: As
Is at Stages in early 1986. Next gay play:
Execution of Justice. Wilde & Stein and
Houston Area Women's Center are selling
tickets to a special night at the Alley—Oct.
5. That's next Saturday already. Grab
those tickets! ...
Tomorrow morning Allen Parkway and
Memorial Drive, between Shepherd and
downtown, will be the site of the fourth
annual InterFirst Symphony run, benefitting the HSO. ...
Then next Saturday there will be a five-
mile fun run benefitting City Ballet of
Houston. Pre-run festivities will be Friday
(Oct. 4) at the Hyatt Regency West ballroom. ...
TUTS has signed hot man Antony
Hamilton to do the title role in Pal Joey
next May. Anyone who saw Mirrors
knows he makes a great heel. ...
A special performance of Rocky Horror
will take place at Rich's this coming Monday at 7:30 p.m. to benefit the Gay and
Lesbian Switchboard of Houston.
Celebrate! As September turns into
October, take those Johnny Mathis (born
the 30th) records off the spindle for some
Vladamir Horowitz (born the 1st). Painter
Charless Rickets (2nd) was best known for
his innovative set designs and art nou-
veau book bindings; Caravaggio (28th) for
his apple cheeked boys. Vincent Varga's
(28th) first novel was the first gay gothic
romance, Gaywyck. Robert Patrick (27th)
is one f our more prolific gay playwrights, best known for his one act comedies like Angel Honey Baby Darling Dear
Believe it or not, he was born just up the