More Practice Needed: The Practice Room Reviewed
Even before the performance began, expectations for the play I was about to behold were severely dampened by the news that not only had one of the central actors been forced to pull out under unforeseen circumstances, but that I was not permitted to include the actors names in my review.
Even before the performance began, expectations for the play I was about to behold were severely dampened by the news that not only had one of the central actors been forced to pull out under unforeseen circumstances, but also that I was not permitted to include the actors names in my review. The reasoning behind their request for anonymity remains a mystery, but my suspicion leads me to presume that the performance on the night was not a fair reflection of the time and effort put into the production. As a result, I have attributed the lack of dramatic impetus within the play to this unanticipated jolt in the proceedings, and thus credit the team for going on with the show regardless.
The central premise of the play had enormous potential, with a former music student returning to her deserted music room, once occupied by a piano. Inspired by this image of absence, she remembers the musical development she underwent within in this classroom, contemplating the sacrifices that were made to secure her rise. Despite its sophisticated framework, incorporating a multitude of flashbacks and temporal dislocations between the two actors performing on stage, this technique actually formed the basis of the play’s pivotal flaw. There was a persistent lack of cohesion between the actors, meaning that it presented a succession of monologues rather than developing the interactions between the characters. The dramatic action itself was mostly static, leaving the play heavily dependent on the dialogue, which for the most part lacked conviction. Again, this may have been the consequence of the last minute change in the line-up, shifting the focus to ensuring that lines were delivered correctly; however, within a play structured around lengthy verbal exchanges, it is paramount that these are engaging. Despite the evident imaginative thought invested in the writing, as demonstratedby the intricate musical discussions, on stage it was void of dramatic flair.
It is important to note that even considering the circumstances, the production was not without merit. In accordance with my instructions, I cannot name the actress whose performance should be praised; yet, I will note that the intermittent appearance of the neighbouring music teacher, played with comic adeptness, injected moments of much needed vitality within an otherwise stagnant drama. The relationship dynamic between the three central figures also, to its credit, didstrive to explore the impact of a beloved student gradually surpassing the grasp of her teacher, investigating the notion of a student as a pawn to enhance a teacher’s reputation. However, this scope for psychological depth never came to life, and instead was halted by a fragmented production, which from the outset lacked the stable foundation to fulfil its objective.