http://www.labetetheplay.com/

La Bête

I went with a group of friends to see La Bête at the Music Box Theatre.  We wanted to celebrate a friends birthday and had all gone for a bit without a Broadway show.  So, the organizer came up with La Bête and we all agreed.  Some of us more freely than others – I’d never heard of the show – and were happy with the results.  Sadly it is closing in a week.  The last performance will be JAnuary 9th.  It seems many shows are closing this month… Fela and In the Heights are also leaving.

If you can get out to see it, it’s worth it.  Not knowing what to expect can sometimes be a great thing.  First off the cast is wonderful!  And you could tell there were fans in the audience for all the main players.  David Hyde Pierce, Mark Rylance, and Joanna Lumley.  Cheers would come from the crowd when they appeared on stage.  It was great.  The first series of images are a strong tableau showing a dinner party and a servant girl in a spotlight.  This same type of strong imagery was repeated at the end of the play.  Direction-wise they seemed out of place.  None of the other scenes used the same style and I feel it detracted from the moment.

Honestly, after seeing the opening I was confused by the Shakespearean language that was rattling in my head.  Once, I accepted it, it was wonderful and extremely funny.  The odd bread slices aside, the meat (or tofu) of the play was all language and physicality.  As Valere, Mark Rylance, had what had to have been a 30 minute monologue at the beginning of the play.  He did this so masterfully that I didn’t notice how long he had been going til about 15 minutes in.  Then I quickly forgot again and went back to laughing.  Loudly.  I have no shame.  My laughs are all heartfelt and they don’t come free.

We were all very happy with our discovery that night.  After the show on our way to the Italian restaurant we were non-stop both verbally and digitally. (tweets galore) Turned out the best compliment to give that evening was, “I could so see you doing that part!”  Ahh, theater folk!  It wasn’t the catty, “You could have done that part so much better.”  It was Dorine was amazing and you would be too.  And the play was amazing and we were too.  Go be amazing.  You have one week!