Party like it’s ...
By Paul Atreide
Twitter: @ atreides_paul
There’s a party going on at Majestic Repertory Theatre. And who doesn’t like a good party with all the accouterments like sex, drugs, booze, and … flappers? That is the definition of the quintessential wild party.
The Wild Party, now playing at Majestic Repertory Theatre, is based on the epic 1926 noir-jazz poem by Joseph Moncure March, adapted for the stage and directed by Troy Heard.
The entire production is cleverly imagined as we initially watch March (Cameron Bass) as he fights through writer’s block (this critic can relate). Then, inspired by overhearing his neighbors Burrs (Edmund Castle) and Queenie (Coco Lane Rigbye) first fight, then make love, then finally talk about the party they are about to host, the audience is suddenly thrust into the poem as March composes it.
This is what immersive theatre is all about. The audience is right in the thick of the party: mingling guests engaging in small talk while, all around, the cast is hitting the high notes of the epic poem.
It's 1928, The Roaring Twenties, and the party takes place in Burrs and Queenie’s apartment. A series of rooms perfectly decorated in period colors; all furniture, rugs, chandeliers, and lamps included. The atmosphere is total with lighting by Cory Covell. Toss in the period costumes by Sean Stuart, and if you’ve come dressed in your own costume (encouraged), you’ll fit right in.
I don’t want to give away the plot because discovering it through the course of the 75-minute production is what makes it fun. If you’re worried that you’ll miss anything important while wandering and mingling around the party, it won’t happen. Because Heard has ensured that any important events, or plot points if you will, are brought to your attention just before they take place.
There’s an incredibly talented cast of 14, who never – to my knowledge – break character even as they interact with the audience and each other. I’d say well-rehearsed, but, you know, improv plays a very large part in the overall. That means that each performance will be different.
For the one I attended, things seemed a bit squeezed together at the wrap-up, and the sequential events of the climax felt rushed. But that’s quibbling, nitpicking.
Majestic Rep does have some cautionary words (trigger warnings) about what will be encountered; things such as depictions of emotional and physical abuse and violence, nudity, fog/haze, and moderate familial contact. But not to worry. Interactive Coach, Christy Casey, has taught the cast well, and they know how to spot the signs if the interaction is not your thing.
With the perfect bland of script and improv, this is high-octane entertainment. Go. Party like it’s 1928.
What: The Wild Party
When: Thursday - Sunday, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. through December 18
Tickets: $65 – Adults 21+ Only (www.majesticrepertory.com)
Grade: ****1/2 (Delicious)
Producer: Majestic Repertory Theatre; Director: Troy Heard; Choreography: Kady Heard; Fight Choreography: Will McMichael; Intimacy Choreography: Kymberly Luke Mellen; Lighting and Sound Design: Cory Covell; Scenic Design: Troy Heard; Costume Design: Sean Stuart; Stage Manager: Ana Gudino