Sunday, September 23, 2007

CFWT: First Weekend

An interesting first weekend at the Colorado Festival of World Theatre ...

"Truth in Translation" was mildly disappointing, mainly because it turned out to be such a much less ambitious conception than what it was billed as; the Sondheim tribute, "Beautiful Girls" was thoroughly amazing - yes, Broadway superstars really are great.

How's it going over with the public? Certainly the opening-night crowd at "Beautiful Girls" was the largest I've seen at a festival production - though it wasn't sold out, which it richly deserved to be. (If you're reading this on Sunday afternoon, you can still see the show at 6:30 at the Pikes Peak Center, and I can almost guarantee that you won't be sorry.) "Truth in Translation" was probably #2 in crowd size, but again, not a full house.

Nor does it look as though the upcoming master classes will have the attendance they deserve. Joseph Hardy's master class on directing has been canceled because not enough people signed up, which is both a shame and shameful. Hardy, a veteran Broadway director with a Tony award to his credit, deserves better.

The procedural part of the problem is that the CFWT doesn't have a sufficient marketing budget: The master classes should have been pitched to theaters and theater departments months ago, and nearly filled with students - or canceled - then. The structural part of the problem is that it takes time to create a theater culture in a non-theater town. The name "Zoe Caldwell" will fill a house in New York City; it won't here, at least not yet. That will change, because the quality is there - if the festival can survive in its present form for another year or two.

Now it's off to learn more about Sir Peter Shaffer, the eminent playwright who speaks at Studio Bee on Wednesday night. (Shaffer's resume includes "Amadeus" and "Equus.") The other featured speakers are "Truth in Translation" artistic director Michael Lessac on Monday, Caldwell on Tuesday, and legendary Shakespearian Janet Suzman on Thursday. And of course, the festival continues next weekend with Daniel Beaty, Avner the Eccentric, and Via Romen.

For more information, visit the CFWT website.

[Edited Sept. 26 to remove a very unfortunate typo!]


Post a Comment

<< Home