Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010

When The Director Acts

Opening Night At The Boulevard With Mark Bucher Standing-In

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Boulevard Theatre†was charmingly cozy for opening night of itís new showóan enjoyable production of Shakespeareís Allís Well That Ends Well. The seating arrangement is remarkably integrated with the stage. Seating is scattered throughout the space . . . making for a very small theatre in the round sort of experience. A couple of paintings. Some furniture. Thereís almost no set here. The costuming is casual. Itís a very relaxed, very comfortable atmosphere that slowly draws-in the† audience.

Wednesdayís opening night had an interesting, low-impact sort of a feel to it. The production has recently seen some difficulty, two of the showís cast recently having backed out of the production due to illness. One of the roles was cut without too much apparent loss to the overall story. The other role was played by Mark Bucheróreading from the script. (The actor playing that role had to bow out of the production really close to opening night.)

Having gone to the Boulevard for years and had relatively extensive conversations with Bucher, I know the guyís dedicated to local theatre. But Iíve rarely had the opportunity to see him actually perform. Up until only recently, those curtain speeches he gives before the show were all the more that Iíd seen of him onstage. (The humor Bucher puts into the art of the curtain speech is charming, but it gets a bit repetitious. Fully conscious of this, Bucher is fond of mentioning that heíll get new jokes for the curtain speech when heís got the money for it.)† Last night a somewhat exhausted-looking Mark Bucher took to the stage quite dynamically. It was a rare opportunity to see an experienced (and evidently quite talented) actor fill-in at the last minute in a production that he was planning on only directing. Itís really interesting seeing an actor of that quality juxtaposed against the variety of different experience levels that usually show-up in a Boulevard show with a cast of this size. Those curtain speeches donít do justice to the kind of natural talent Bucher seems to have for performing. Itís a pity heís too busy to show-up in more shows.††

This interesting glimpse into the stage talents of the Boulevardís Artistic Director is only available for the beginning of showís run. Bucher announced that the role will be picked-up by the lovely and talented Beth Monhollen when her schedule clears . . .

Boulevard Theatreís production of Allís Well That Ends Well†runs through March 14tt. A more comprehensive review of the show runs in next weekís Shepherd-Express.

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