Interesting Directions For Performance Feb 20, 2015
by Soren Gillaspy
Overall, I think The Evening was a step in interesting directions for performance, but didn't fully make it. There was too much attachment to the story and the characters, and it relied on actors to alienate the audience without as much help from the script as could be given. I appreciated the way the flat delivery allowed for the audience to fill in the emotional blanks with a personal story, but the difference in commitment to a lack of character from the actors lead to a confusing performance.
Something mentioned frequently about Richard's work is a flat delivery emotionless. This was one of the things I appreciated about the performance. By simply saying the lines, I personally inserted a lot of emotion into them. It also made the words that were shouted have much more of a punch to them than I would otherwise expect, although I would have been so interested to see the script to know why single words were given that treatment while the whole sentence was not. Richard has had actors follow scripts punctuated with typos due to being drunk while writing.
This script also didn't feel edited at all. Much of the language stated things that were never capitalized on and the opening soliloquy by Camissa Buerhaus talked about herself as Richard who was caring for a sick father, not as Camissa, or as Beatrice, the character she was playing.
I would have understood Camissa speaking of Camissa caring as Richard's work appears very Brechtian in that he wants the audience and actors aware of that the actors are playing a part and the situation isn't real. I feel this happened fairly well throughout and worked well with the simplistic script. The two men added more to the characters, bringing them further from the caricature that Cammisa was playing and Richard seems to want. This is turn made Beatrice, "bartender/stripper" (self described) a much weaker character who seemed more of an object of desire for the men to pursue than a person, or the almost people the men played.
There did not seem to be any shift through the text within the actors or characters they were playing. This didn't happen when Cosmo, played by Jim Fletcher, beat up his fighter Asi, played by Brian Mendes. It didn't happen when a gun was pulled and fired upon Asi by Cammisa. It barely even happen when Cammisa left to go into the mountains the climax of the story. The only difference this time was he gave up and said he'd come with her. Not that he did. This is an example of the characters saying something that isn't followed through on.
The show itself seemed to have a very clear story to me. Beatrice was trapped and abused by Asi, and finally escaped, only to find herself still trapped in another box. My personal interpretation is that she is trapped because she causes the death that haunts her.