Thursday, May 30, 2013
This North Coast Weekend
Next to Normal continues this Friday and Saturday at NCRT. My review is in the NC Journal and online here, where you can also read a lively debate on whether I should have revealed in the review that the teenage son (Gabe) is a delusion of his mother (Diana.) While differences of opinion on this are reasonable, I didn't do it without forethought. As a plot device, showing Gabe as presumably a real character, only to reveal he isn't, would seem way too familiar a contrivance, except that the revelation takes place pretty early in the play, and knowing that Gabe is an illusion--or a delusion--is important to understanding the grip of Diana's illness.
I actually thought that not realizing pretty early that Gabe (played by Gino Bloomberg, photo above) is her delusion would be to miss the point of a lot that followed. (Diana is played by Andrea Zvaleko, also pictured.) So even though it counts as a spoiler I suppose--well, play reviews do that all the time, including reviews of this play. Generally I refrain from such a revelation if the surprise seems important. My apologies to anyone who feels their experience is lessened by knowing this.
I think the only thing I would add to the review is an explicit declaration that there is humor in some of the songs and action, particularly involving the (real) teen characters, Natalie (Brandy Rose) and Henry (Luke Sikora), but also some moments between Diana and her doctor(s) played by Alex Moore.
Elsewhere, the youth troupe Spare Change performs at the Arcata Playhouse on Saturday at 8 p.m. Their self-created skits deal with issues of special concern to teens. www.srpp.org.
On Sunday, the Super Mario Musical by Eureka High student Madeira Seaman is performed at Eureka High School twice, at 1 and 5 p.m. www.northstarquest.org.