Moon Over Buffalo

By - Sep 29th, 2008 02:52 pm
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By Jenna Raymond

Very often, comedies can be overdone. Characters can seem generic and ridiculous as the entire plot grows to completely unrealistic proportions. However, under the direction of Debra Krajec, Marquette University’s production of Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo is nuanced, seamless and zany in the best way.

The action takes place behind the scenes of a traveling theatre company in Buffalo, NY in the early 1950s. George and Charlotte Hay head up the company that used to employee their daughter, Rosiland. She has since left to lead a “normal” life outside the theatre, including a weatherman fiancée, Howard. Rosiland returns to introduce Howard to her family, only to find that her father has impregnated another company member; her ex-lover is still in love with her; and the family attorney wants to run away with her mother. And then Frank Capra calls to say he needs to re-cast his next movie immediately and will fly out to catch their matinee as an audition for George and Charlotte. Mistaken identities, chases, missing persons and frantic confusion ensue.

The roles of both George and Charlotte require an immense amount of physical acting: duels and fights abound, and George appears in several stages of drunkenness that cumulates in a fall into the orchestra pit. Senior Kevin Hogan is flush with excellence in this roll. Even when it’s revealed that George has cheated on his wife, Hogan is able to keep George endearing. Nick Inzeo, playing the part of Paul, Rosalind’s ex-lover, displays superb physicality that is an added bonus to the relationship between Paul and George. The two are able to reach slapstick without compromising the integrity of Ken Ludwig’s play. As Charlotte, Jennifer Shine is over the top in the best way. Charlotte is certainly meant to be extremely emotional, and Shine is able to consistently reach Charlotte’s heightened reactions. Bonnie Auguston plays Rosiland, and after the first few scenes she was able to fully emerse herself into the character and was especially charismatic in her scenes with Inzeo.

Comedy is often much more difficult to perform than drama. Timing really is just about everything and the entire cast hit nearly everything spot on. Comedic acting is mostly talent with excellent guidance, and director Debra Krajec chose an apt cast that benefited from her experience and instruction. Marquette University opened its 2008-2009 season with a high benchmark. If Moon Over Buffalo is indicative of the kind of theatre Marquette is capable of this season, their theatre department should be regarded on the same level as some of Milwaukee’s professional theatre.

Moon Over Buffalo runs through October 5 at the Helfaer Theatre on Marquette University’s campus. For tickets or more information call 414.288.7504 or visit Marquette’s Theatre department website at: www.marquette.edu/theatre.

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