The part that goes wrong… goes right!


Theater at the MountThe October 16 show sells tickets and laughs

By Elysian Alder | Observer Contributor

Sunday, October 16, day of the Theater at the Mount final production of The piece that goes wrong,checking the website to buy tickets for the show revealed a pleasantly surprising fact: tickets were selling out, and they were selling out fast.

In ten minutes, the total number of remaining tickets went from 87 to 62, not counting the tickets that would no doubt be purchased on site at the box office. To put these numbers into perspective, the website of Theater at the Mount said the theater can seat an impressive total of “515 people in 15 unobstructed rows”.

With a screening at 2:00 p.m., showing up even fifteen minutes before curtain time proved to be a risky bet when it came to obtaining parking near the entrance.

After speaking with Gail Steele, the longtime manager of the theater itself, she explained why. Regarding the types of shows the theater chooses to put on, she said: “We are very sensitive to our clientele, and what our clientele likes are musicals, classic comedies – we don’t good with heavy drama.” Thus, the reception and the participation that their production of The game gone wrong received, even on this final performance, fully supports that sentiment.

A 2012 play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields of Mischief Theater Company, The game gone wrong was described by the site broadway is bad as “a hilarious hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes,” which falls squarely into the category Steele mentioned: classic comedies.

It’s a play within a play, where actors play actors who are also playing a play – a murder mystery, to be exact. Hijinks, shenanigans and real disasters ensue during the play.

British accents are set, cues are missed, words are mispronounced by a character who writes their lines on their hand to remember them, props are convincingly ‘broken’ and one of the ‘actors’ is exited from the stage through a makeshift window after being accidentally knocked unconscious by another character, only to be replaced by a clumsy stagehand who gave the script to be read on the fly. It’s all in the name of comedy, of course, and there was plenty of laughter that day in the packed crowd.

Once the curtains were closed, you could hear patrons and spectators coming out happily chatting with each other, saying things like, “That was exactly what I needed” or “You didn’t stopped laughing all the time. .”

In a mostly post-pandemic world, Steele said, “Since we reopened after Covid, this is the first show where I feel like we’ve gone back to where we were before Covid. We’ve done four or five shows since Covid, and attendance was low, but this is the first time we’ve felt like we’re back to normal. People were really slow to come back.

But they came back, and in unquestionable droves. Theater at the Mount is not the only performance art medium to have struggled and suffered losses in attendance as a result of the pandemic, even afterwards, so to speak. An article from The New York Times was released with a caption that stated that Broadway itself had “poor attendance” and “several shows that have closed”.

Yet the arts and the theater itself survived and prevailed. Just a few quick flicks through the poster provided before the show revealed a who’s who in the cast page, where customers can read brief biographies for each cast member and a statement or two from some of them, and almost every quote included mentions how the cast and crew bond together.

Kate Sheridan, who plays Annie in The piece that goes wrong, is quoted saying, “Thank you to the family (TAM and biological) for the love and support. Hope we make you laugh. She’s not the only one emphasizing the importance of that feeling of found family. Steele agreed that the resilience of theater arts shows how important it is to have a sense of community, an outlet for temporary escape and opportunities to connect, and that this “goes a long way in healing a lot of depression and anxiety that people experience. . It’s good for your health.”

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