Bradley University Theater closes their 2009-2010 season with the William Shakespeare comedy "Twelfth Night".
Up until last night, the absolute worst production that I had seen at BU was a few years ago when they did "Macbeth". (Perhaps they should avoid the Bard!?).
In the production of that tragedy, Lady Macbeth (a difficult role I realize) was so over-the-top melodramatic, that I was one of many in the audience who spent the entire performance suppressing inappropriate laughter.
Last night's comedy, which could have used some of those laughs, instead elicited mostly sighs and people constantly checking their watches.
This production's Lady Macbeth was the character of Sir Toby, played here as a one-dimensional stumbling drunk.
Shakespeare is difficult to do, and extremely difficult to do well. There is A LOT of dialog for the actors to learn. And, since it is so foreign to modern day conversational English, it is tough to deliver the lines distinctly and convincingly.
As usual, the Bradley student actors memorized their lines well and no one missed a cue.
If only they had had a director to help them understand that Shakespeare need not be shrieked at the audience to be effective.
In all the shrieking, much clarity was lost, and anyone unfamiliar with the play was probably left wondering what was actually going on.
Bradley University Theater had entitled this year's season "8 GR8 PLAYS 4 U".
After this closing clunker, I am calling it "7 GR8 PLAYS 4 U, AND 3 HRS OF MY LIFE DOWN THE 2B"