A Play Critique
Written by Andrea Calabrese
Professor: Doug Forsyth
On November 2nd, 2007 at 8pm, I attended Radio Ghost Stories, performed on Santa Monica College’s studio stage. Written and directed by Terrin Adair, I thought Radio Ghost Stories—although long and drawn out at times—was a delightful and entertaining production.
The acting was great and the lighting was perfect. I really enjoyed the hair and make-up on these characters. I thought the hair and make-up was done so well that it helped to define the characters personalities a lot better. I especially liked the 1940’s costumes and hairstyles. The characters of Penelope, Fabritzio, Hester Willis and the Ghost of Louie Montelli could not have been so perfectly presented if it hadn’t been for the excellent job (work) on hair and make-up. I thought the comedy was well written. I especially loved the variety of character in Hester Willis’s costumes and make-up.
To mention a few things about prop details, I thought it was strange that there was not a telephone in the office on stage. It seemed very strange to have microphones, donuts and couches with no telephones in the room. I really liked the color coordination as well. There seemed to be a lot of bright colors being used which really helped to animate the misc-en-scene of the stage: the red jar, the blue light on the back wall, the pink donut box and the red and white polka dots on the costume.
I also really liked the foley table. The bells, whistles, chimes, pots and pans used as special effects helped to give realistic sound quality. I also liked how they used foley sounds as transitions from scene to scene. It helped to indicate what was going on during the transition to commercials and other significant aspects of the production. There would always be foley chimes to call in the jingle girls (to signify commercials), and I really enjoyed this because it helped the audience to believe that we were really witnessing a radio show being broadcast in the 1940’s.
Something I found weird and distracting was how the ghost of Louie Montelli was hanging out in the corner for a half an hour before he spoke any lines. I saw him come in right away, but he didn’t identify himself for a half an hour. I realized he was the dead guy, but I honestly found it distracting that this great character, well-dressed with white scary looking makeup was on the set, but no one knew who he was for a half an hour—until he announced that he was a ghost!
I thought Penelope did a great job with memorization. I don’t know if it was her mic or what, but at times she was talking so fast it was difficult to understand what she was saying and at other times her voice was so loud and at such close range that it came off as somewhat annoying and overbearing. There were times when I thought she was adorable and I really enjoyed her use of the props: the gun and the case file, both having very high energy and great drama.
One of the biggest problems I noticed with the entire play was with the costumes. There were several small holes in many of the costumes and it looked like Penelope had a run in her stockings. This I did not like at all. When the costumes are under the bright lights, even the littlest hole will stand out. Among the most obvious was the problem with Fabritzio’s green jacket. There was a hole in the back of his jacket showing his white shirt underneath—making the hole stand out.
I thought that other than these few mishaps, Radio Ghost Stories was superbly entertaining and a great story.