A Night at the Theater at the Theater
Written by Bwog Staff
This year, Bwog’s doing a better job of getting to every student production and telling you about it. There’s still one more night to see the King’s Crown production of The Real Inspector Hound.
When a cold gust ripped through Wien at the play’s most tense moment, everyone looked around for the wind machine — meanwhile, the King’s Crown crew moved quickly to close the lounge windows against the storm that was building outside. Tom Stoppard’s popular work of meta-theater, “The Real Inspector Hound,” lucked out as a result of more than one fortuitous coincidence on Friday night. During an early pause, a few confused Wien residents wandered onto the balcony, leading more than one member of the audience to crane their necks back and wait for dialogue from the rafters. At the same time, the real cast was lurking outside the windows, keeping PrezBo’s private security detail awake next door.
For the record, due to the frantic nature of the play within “Hound,” I found myself writing most of my notes while the critics were dictating their long, overwrought columns to each other. So any particularly awful turns of phrase must have made their way into this post by osmosis.
Stoppard sets two critics up to observe the performance of a ham-fisted murder mystery (with especially great hand-wringing on the part of the female leads, Lydia Brunner and Birdy Sahagian), in which they find themselves personally and dramatically tied up with the cast. “The Real Inspector Hound” is the author turning his disassembling urges on himself — while the characters wander through their lines, the critics intervene, first from their seats and eventually from the stage, unable to change anything outside themselves. Think “Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead,” but with sex jokes, puns, and more yelling.
Last spring, CU Players put on another self-inversion of Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” — by and large, a straight-up treatise on relationships that surprised fans and critics used to meta-commentary back in 1982. This performance obviously owes a lot to that one (specifically, one director [Sarah Wansley], two cast members, and most of the production team) and it’s downright strange to see Patrick Barrett make a comedic phone call to his nattering wife; for a second, the look in his eyes recalls that show and its knock-down-drag-out romantic brawls. Then he bangs down the phone and turns the play in front of him into a farce. It’s a great time.
The Real Inspector Hound will be performed again at 8 and 11 PM Saturday, in the Wien lounge. Admission is free.