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Moon Over Buffalo Essay, Research Paper

“Moon Over Buffalo”

Although not the talk of the university, “Moon Over Buffalo” was definitely the talk of those who saw it. From one comedic act to another. Whether it was Paul trying to get George’s pants on or just random lines such as “HOLY SHIT!!!”, when George realizes he did not quite “dress for the part”. It gave all the students at Stephen F. Austin something to do and whether we were forced to or went on our own free will, everyone was satisfied.

Buffalo, New York, carries the reputation of being a “third-rate city”, and not the center for the dramatic arts. In the 1950’s, a theatrical company would not boast about playing there. The playwright of “Moon Over Buffalo” uses the city as an example of how low a company has sunk. Buffalo seems like the end of the road for Charlotte and George (Alyssa Yarde and Chad Spear) who battle their contradicting spirits with classics such as “Cyrano” and “Private Lives.” The play opens with a very funny rehearsal scene of “Cyrano.” George strikes out with the serious attitude he tries to bring to the play, all the while creating a funny scene for the audience. In the next scene we discover George is the most mischievous of the group- enough to get him in trouble with Charlotte. She suspects, quite correctly, that he has slept with a fellow actress, Eileen (Jennifer Youle). The pile up of problem starts with Eileen’s pregnancy and continues with the lawyer Richard (Matthew Lyle), who tries to convince Charlotte to run away with him because he has money. Daughter of Charlotte and George, Rosalind (Jessica Francis Mills) brings a TV weatherman to meet her parents, who mistake him for the movie producer, Frank Kapra, of “Scarlet Pimpernel”. All of this happens while George falls into a deep stage of depression and tries to drink his way out of it, getting totally hammered before the matinee. As in a well-crafted parody, the ending brings happiness and peace in an atmosphere that satisfies our needs (the audience).

Turner Auditorium’s ability to have “two stages”, a stage that lowers in front and a larger stage behind it allotted the set plenty of room to give the full effect. For instance, the opening scene of “Cyrano” was quickly moved out of view when no longer needed. Also in one of the ending scenes, when the matinee was destroyed, the front stage was lowered out of view from the audience to add the effect of the balcony. The backdrops were simple yet overwhelming. In the first scene they had large boulders but were decorated to add the “theatrical” sight. George and Charlotte’s home/theater was decorated just like a low income theater. Having six doors, some stairs leading to two of them, and some furniture in front. Back behind the “house” were a lot of ads that seemed to be not quite in date with the time period of the play, adding to the humor. It seemed every little thing ranging from the costumes to the actors’ lines added to the humor. The humor made the play as enjoyable as it was.

As stated before the play was a triumphant comedic act. Everyone was satisfied and could not be more intent on going to the next show. It was not only the comedy that made the show a success. The backdrops, the costumes, the lighting, the props; everything made it a hit. However, “Moon Over Buffalo” would not have been what it was without it’s excellent cast. The Mainstage called for SFA students to be able to perform characters who were twice the age of themselves. The one performer who stood out with excellence would be Chad Spear, who played the role of George. It seemed as if Spear took George to a different level of reality. From his little gray spots of hair above his ears to his every movement, Spear really gave life to this struggling actor. Struggling actor would be the irony of it all though. George did not feel he was struggling, or perhaps just living in denial. Spear’s emotions that he brought to the character showed us his feelings about his work and we realized it was his life. Chad Spear did an excellent job of “talking” through the fourth wall while staying focused and definitely got my vote.

To anyone who has not seen this outstanding work I suggest you do so. The SFA theater program definitely proved itself to me and to all the other students and parents in the audience. I can definitely tell that this years program will be a success if the department keeps producing hits like “Moon Over Buffalo”. TWO THUMBS UP!


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