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On October 16, I went to see As Bees in Honey Drown presented by the Fortune
company at Theater in the park, located in Flushing meadows park. The timing of the
show was 6:00 p.m., but I got to the theater by 6:10 due to the unexpected traffic for the
Mets game on the same night. When I got to the theater, people were still getting tickets
for the show. I rushed into the theater to get a good seat (the show had general
Most of the audience were in their fifties? and up. There were a few in their 20?s
who were friends of the actors. There were about 100 seats in the theater; about 60 were
occupied. I chose to see a play in a small theater because I felt that I would not?t be able
to have this intimacy and closeness to the actors by sitting in the back seat of a big
Broadway theater as I would in a small theater where every seat is like the front row. The
stage was a proscenium. The set contained few tables and few chairs. Instrumental rock
music was playing in the back until the show started. There was a red backdrop in the rear
of the stage.
As Bees in Honey Drown is written by Douglas Carter Beane. It is a comedy set in
the fast lane of high-style Manhattan.The play is set in the present time. As Bees in Honey
Drown presents itself as a satire of a society obsessed with fame. Before the show began
we were warned by the producer that the show contains mature language. The show
followed the producer?s speech, at approximately 6:20 p.m..
As the play starts off, Evan Tyler has just finished a photo session with his shirt
off. No, he?s not a supermodel; he?s a twenty-something, gay New York writer savoring
the success of his debut novel, that earns some nice reviews but no cash. Defined by the
media as the “hot-young” thing-of-the-moment, Evan captures the attention of Alexa Veer
de Veer, a woman of mystery who?s made the world of celebrity her home. She is a
self-invented socialite who claims Auntie Mamma as her chief inspiration. Maybe she?s a
record producer, maybe she?s a film agent. She’s seen his photograph in a magazine, she
loves his book, and she wants him to give him a big break: the chance to script the screen
version of her life story, a life she promises is “too entrancing, almost even for me. ” Just
spend time with me, she says, and you?ll learn all you need to know.
Alexa has been everywhere and done everything, and she speaks in sparkling,
funny phrases that flatter Evan in a thousand ways. Evan agrees to the deal. Alexa wines
and dines him, buys him a new wardrobe and teaches him style. Visions of fame and
fortune dancing in his head, as he becomes increasingly enamored with the captivating, yet
mysterious Alexa. Though gay, Evan has sex with Alexa and admits he is falling in love
During the next few weeks, Alexa never has the cash to pay for her adventures
with Evan, but she promises that her accountant will reimburse him for the thousands of
dollars he’s racking up on his credit card. But once Evan fools himself into believing he
loves Alexa, she vanishes, leaving him to foot the bill of over $15,000 on his credit cards
for all the dinners, hotel expenses and Armani suits they?ve gone through.
Evan begins searching for a way to redeem his encounter with her. Trying to find
Alexa, Evan discovers a chain of people who have fallen under her spell and acted as her
meal ticket. For Alexa has no money, no job, no life of her own –only the one she?s
created for herself. Evan doesn?t want be just another one of the putz?. He decides to find
Alexa and take revenge. He talks to all the people that have been had by Alexa. After
talking to them he realizes that Alexa?s next prey will be the newest face on the covers of
magazines. By the time Evan gets to this new face, she had already got a call from Alexa
and had made plans with her. Evan contacts all her ex-clients and tells them of Alexa?s
next move. Alexa finds out about the plans made against her and faces Evan. Evan,
disgusted by the sight of Alexa, violently throws Alexa out of his apartment. He will never
see Alexa Vere De Vere and her fairy tale life again.
This play treats its audience the same way Alexa treats Evan. The audience loved it
because the dialogue flatters them with jokes that only fabulous people could understand,
yet the plot is ironic about being fabulous, which reassures the audience they’re above
being fabulous. In other words, As Bees in Honey Drown works by manipulating the
audience’s enjoyment of the very things it purports to forbid. One flashback shows a young
Alexa savoring the triumph of opening her first art gallery and selling her husband’s
shoddy paintings for stellar prices: “We’ve f****d them over, and they’ve said thank you,”
she coos to her husband.
The costumes matched and defined the characters very well. Alexa was dressed
rich. Throughout the show she had on furs, expensive jewelry, and elegant clothing. Evan,
on the other hand, was dressed down to earth, inexpensive and plain. The first suit he ever
had was bought through Alexa. Evan was the boring and shy type, and Alexa was the fun
and successful person that one could only dream of becoming. Throughout the show,
Evan carried a hand prop. He would always carry with him a composition book in which
he would make personal entries, and later notes about Alexa?s life. As each character
would come on stage, they would carry in their props and any furniture needed. .
Holmes Rackleff played the perfect Alexa. I was amazed by her errorless speaking.
If I was in her place, with those lines, I wouldn?t last a minute without making some error.
Her timing is perfect, her glamour is convincing, and in flashbacks, she successfully reveals
the many layers of Alexa’s artifice. She was the main part and the funny part of the show. I
was, truly amazed by how flawless her acting was. She projected her voice very clearly.
There were no microphones being used in the show. Throughout the whole show, I was
mainly concerned with the character of Alexa.
Jeffrey Nissani, on the other hand, did not match with Holmes? talents. He didn?t
do such a convincing role of Evan. His acting didn?t seem very natural. Judging by his
performance, it was extremely hard to believe that he was a professional actor, or so it
says in the program. His performance forced me to pay more attention to the minor
characters rather than him. There was only a trace of emotions in his word. Throughout
the show, he misspoke parts from few of the lines. He also didn?t do too well in projecting
his voice. He was too loud; it seemed at times that he was yelling his lines.
The other actors were good, but none of them could compare to the marvelous
performance given by Holmes. She elicited giggles and belly laughs from everyone in the
audience. This show was my very first theatrical experience; And I must say, It was a
great experience. I never realized how great live performance could be. If it wasn?t for this
paper, I would have probably gone through life without realizing how entertaining theater
can be. Even though I haven?t had much experience with theater, I am sure that even
professional theater-goers will say it was a magnificent performance.
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