Sunday, April 10, 2016

University of New Mexico’s Angels All Die

Angels All Die is part of The University of New Mexico’s Linnell Festival of New Plays. The play was written by Denise Hinson and directed by Dan Rogers. Denise Hinson is currently in the Dramatic Writing MFA program at UNM. Dan Rogers is a guest director from Philadelphia.

Angels All Die takes place in a dressing room on the set of a soap opera, and tells the story of Frank the hair dresser who spends every waking moment haunted by James Dean’s ghost. Frank lands a job working on the hottest soap opera on television and assigned to the leading actress Petra. Chaos ensues when Frank tries to ignore James Dean to get closer to Petra.

This play is hilarious, and comedy is not easy to pull off. The relationship between the playwright, director and actors seemed to work perfectly. Hinson was able to write humor into every scene, and Rogers was able to recognize the comedy and block it into the action, and the actors were able to deliver it with expert timing. The comedy isn’t the only thing Hinson did well. The character arch for Frank and James Dean was perfect. They were able to learn and change with every situation. The acting was phenomenal, but the performance that stands out is from Drew Morrison who is able to bring James Dean to life on stage.
There were only a few issue to point out.  The play is performed in a black box theater with a thrust configuration. Because of this there are some sight line issues. The best place to sit would be either center stage or stage left. From stage right there are some set pieces that obstruct the view and I missed some of the jokes because I couldn’t see what was going on. There is also a radio on stage right to add some ambiance at the beginning, but the music was distracting from what was happening on stage. It’s hard to concentrate on dialogue when American Pie is playing in the background.  

Over all Angels All Die is very well written and I encourage everyone to see it.

Angels All Die  will be performing at the Experimental Theater at UNM April 10th 7:30pm  and 16th 2:00pm