Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Color Purple

Last Tuesday night was the final show in Providence Performing Arts Center's (PPAC) 2008-2009 season - The Color Purple. The story takes place in rural Georgia between 1909 and 1949. It tells the story of Celie, a young black girl, growing up in rural Georgia. The story follows Celie from the age of 14 to 54 and chronicles her growth from a poor, subservient, abused young girl into a strong, independent and wealthy woman.

I will be honest and admit that I wasn't all the interested in this show. I had read the book years ago and didn't really like it all that much. And I didn't really like the show all that much either. There were a couple of very energetic dance numbers, which I did enjoy. And aside from Kenita Miller (who played Celie, the lead), I didn't really think any of the actors were amazing singers. Although Lynette Dupree was very good in the role of the boisterous and no nonsense Sophie (the character played by Oprah in the movie - which I have not seen). The show was 3 hours long and it felt it. Act I was interminable. There were at least 3 times when I thought intermission was going to start, but it didn't. Finally I began to wonder if maybe there wasn't going to be an intermission. There was. And there was a (mercifully) shorter Act II, as well. I didn't dislike the show, it just didn't grab me and hold my interest. I just wasn't all that engaged with what was going on on stage. As a matter of fact, I was painfully aware that I was looking at a stage and a group of actors. There was no willing suspension of disbelief, which I feel is necessary to be absorbed by a theatrical performance.

All that being said, I am beginning to wonder if maybe I'm wrong about all of this. The review of the show in the Providence Journal couldn't disagree with me more. And this surprised me, because Channing Gray (the reviewer) and I have had eerily similar opinions about all the other shows this season. So much so that even some of the specific things I've liked, disliked or noticed end up appearing in his (her?) column. And until now we've always had the exact same opinion. Weird. Not so with The Color Purple. This time the exact things I specifically didn't like, he/she mentions, but in a positive light. The first sentence in his/her review reads: "No question about it, The Color Purple is the best show to hit the Providence Performing Arts Center this season." Wow! I respectfully disagree. In my opinion, Spring Awakening was by far the best show this season. Oh well. To each his own I guess.

10 comments:

Sandy said...

I think 3 hours is long for any show. And if you're not enjoying it....yikes....that would make me crazy. Hey, you're entitled to your opinion.

Terra said...

yes to each their own, but I sometimes have to wonder if their is ulterior (sp) motive in some of those reviews!

Anita said...

I did not read the book,but the movie had parts that were amazing IMO. It was also too long and had too many off shoots, not just about Celie's life and yet things that I didn't think impacted the whole story, but that's just one person's view. I also think 3 hours is a LONG time for a show.
Can you or would you comment either online or in writing to the newspaper review?

Alex the Girl said...

I didn't read the book, either, but like Anita, I watched the movie. It was one of my favorites, however, I don't think I could see it being stretched into a 3 hour theater performance. I don't think any theater performance, unless it stars Vin Disel in a black tank top and black jeans, should be three hours!

Tammy Howard said...

Not surprisingly, I'm with Anita and Alex - saw the movie, didn't read the book. It was very moving, as I recall. But yeah, 3 hours is long. And there NEEDS to be that suspension of disbelief. Lack of that is a deal-breaker.

What a shame! Because going to the theater should always be a treat!

Ronnica said...

I remember liking the book at the time (I was in HS), but I don't know that I would now, as my tastes have changed.

It's interesting to read someone that has the same opinions as you when there's finally something you don't agree on!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I guess that's why they call it opinion. Everyone has a different eye for each venue. Doesn't mean you're off base.

Gamma Sharon said...

That book, show and movie never interested me enough to pick up or watch. I probably would have had a hard time sitting through it for 3 hours.

Pam said...

Sharon - My feelings exactly.

Esther said...

I didn't see The Color Purple at PPAC but I saw it on Broadway and really liked it. I skipped the tour for a personal, sentimental reason - it was the first show I saw in New York with a new and now dear friend. We had such a memorable time that I wanted it to remain unique!

Honestly, I don't recall that it dragged, though. I also read the book, many years ago. And I loved the way you're taken on this journey with Celie, watch her grow from a scared child into a confident woman. I'll admit I was a little choked up at the end. Seeing it with my friend definitely affected how I felt about it.

But I know what you mean - I've sat through plenty of 3-hour shows that seemed very long. Anyway, sorry this one didn't work for you!

 

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