A lyrical 'Light' | September 3, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - September 3, 2010

A lyrical 'Light'

Dramatic stakes are lower in this 'Piazza,' but production sounds and looks gorgeous

by Jeanie K. Smith

"The Light in the Piazza," with its lush, lyrical score by Adam Guettel and smart, witty book by Craig Lucas, is set to charm audiences in an attractive production by TheatreWorks. Winner of six Tonys in 2005, "Piazza" deserves attention, not only for its gorgeous contemporary sound, but also for its heartfelt message of love and redemption.

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Comments

Posted by Local Child Psychologist, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 3, 2010 at 10:31 am

I saw the original production in New York on Tony weekend and I was transformed by and related to the story having been raised with a sibling suffering from mental illness following a traumatic accident. How typical and unfortunately expected of our community that Director Robert Kelley made the unconventional choice to interpret Clara as a more normal girl, which now of course negates much of the story sense! The strong denial that there might be anything wrong with our children in our local schools and community while they suffer from major academic stress and some from mental illnesses such as depression and substance dependence has now transferred to our local theatre stage where any evidence of a lack of "normalcy" has to be downplayed and even erased. What is wrong with us all that we can not accept and deal with issues as simple as a suffering and struggling child in public? Should we only mount theatre productions that depict children and teens proudly declaring their more than normal mental health while displaying 4.5 GPA's? We have no problems with subjects of children dealing with life-threatening illnesses like leukemia on screen and stage but again, why do we all turn away in shame when that same child displays signs of depression and emotional problems? Once again, we have missed an opportunity through the magic of theatre to raise awareness in our community of the issue of mental illnesses, and how parents cope with it.
What is next for Palo Alto? A production of "Next to Normal" without the Bipolar mother?


Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I agree that the directorial choices were unfortunate. What remained was a thin story with undeveloped characters. The performers were all skilled vocalists, but their performances (perhaps the material) were not interesting enough to stand without anything behind them. Many elements of the story- and many characters- felt tacked on.

The sets were stunning and the orchestra wonderful. I found the balance to be lacking.


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