Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Friday, July 14, 2006

'Anne' Gets The Royal Treatment

I attended the pay-what-you-can preview last night of Anne of the Thousand Days, at Vpstart Crow's Cramer Center in Manassas. It was the best show I've seen in months.

Under the direction of Christine Lange, Jay Tilley and Pamela Sabella turned in superb performances as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. More on them in a sec.

The Cramer Center space is not the easiest to employ. Its dimensions are... a little strange. Anne takes this in stride, however, and uses it to its fullest potential. Minimal sets are strikingly effective in the period piece, and the costumes are excellent. Kudos to costume designer Beth Vernaci.

The strongest supporting performances were given by Brian Crane and Brian Huse, filling the roles of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More, respectively. Also worthy of note were Abigail Wright and Lauren Christopher-- in a show primarily about one woman, they still made their presence felt as past and future love-interests of Henry.

Speaking of which: Jay's work as His Majesty is outstanding. I've seen him in other roles, and this far and away made the best use of his talents. He brings power, gravity and passion to the role; while managing to show sides of the King that, while opposing, are clearly still the same man.

As for the title role, Pamela as Anne is exceptional. Displaying a smoldering feminine strength, her Anne is capable of very real love and loathing in equal measure. She proves herself in every way to be Henry's equal; not to mention his foil. On another note, Tilley's presence is not the easiest to draw attention from, especially as a King. In his audience, Sabella's quiet moments of reaction were captivating.

Having seen both the actors and the stage employed in other venues, due credit goes to the Director. Lange has risen the bar.

Anne of the Thousand Days runs for three weekends starting tonight. If you enjoy period pieces as they're meant to be done, visit the Cramer Center. You won't be disappointed.


  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger Jay said…

    Thanks for the kind words man. Audiences should also look forward to seeing the following plays you will be writing: the pirate play, the play where Christine is my ex and, most importantly, the long-awaited sequel to Anne of the Thousand Days - Anne II: Henry's Huggy Time! ;-)


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