Monday, January 26, 2009

The Huntington Theater's production of "The Corn is Green"

The Huntington Theater's wonderful cast and their performances (Kate Burton, her son Morgan Ritchie, Will LeBow, and all the rest) was not enough to keep me from feeling that this was a dated, tired play. It does have some good moments, the third act finally has a little tension, and there are the performances, especially if you simply want to see Kate Burton.

In its time (I think Emlyn Williams wrote it and first produced it in 1940), I suppose the depiction of the headstrong independent Miss Moffat might have seemed more original. We're to take it on faith that Miss Moffat is brilliant -- there's little evidence of it shown onstage. In the first act, the village boys are unruly childish louts. During the intermission, they become receptive bright-eyed eager-beavers, with Morgan surpassing them all as a natural genius (sort of like Tarzan, growing up in the jungle and learning to read and speak English in time for Jane). What Miss Moffat did to make this happen is unexplained. She is just magic.

The sets are homey and comfortable looking. The occasional background music between acts (Welsh choral music) is pretty but I can't tell if it has anything to do with the play. I guess the biggest reason to see this, aside from Will LeBow's humorous and lovable Squire character (a character he excels in), might be to watch Kate Burton. Except that she's simply playing Kate Burton. In the three or four performances we've seen with Kate Burton, she plays pretty much the same character -- Kate Burton, the center of attention, an actress who gives off a sense of energy and heat.

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