“We went to opening night with our friends Colleen and Bill. While we were waiting to enter the theatre, we noticed movement on a large monitor just outside the doors. I recognized the actors, of course, and at first it wasn’t clear whether this was a recording or live, but I quickly realized it was the latter. How interesting to display the actors’ warming up as an intro to the show! It definitely added to the actor-audience experience. I was surprised, though, that they weren’t dressed more uniformly and flatteringly.
(All Your Questions Answered, written by Greg Kotis and directed by Sean Daniels, will open September 19 at the Geva Theatre as part of the Rochester Fringe Festival)
The 180-seat theatre was about a third full (it was at 9pm – unusually late and not a time I would have chosen, if I hadn’t been watching the show unfold, and hope that the upcoming shows at normal times are better attended). Bill was up for the audience interaction, so I steered us to a row I thought would be good, and Bill sat on the aisle. We got lucky later in the show – he was in exactly the right spot to be singled out by an actress in one of the skits.
Greg Kotis was in the audience, which changed one of the skits slightly (it’s normally a mock phone interview with him, where, consistent with the conceit of the title, no questions are actually answered). He actually did answer a few questions from the audience (although I suspect the questions were planted?). It’s always interesting and exciting to hear the author in his own words!
This was the first time I had seen the show with lighting, and it definitely enhanced the show, especially the ‘bad’ series (you have to see the show to understand – so see the show!). Afterward, when we talked about the show (which was also a skit in the show…), Colleen’s reaction to those skits was “oh no, not again,” whereas Bill was excited each time that particular pair of actors reappeared – it was so interesting to hear their reactions.
There were so many moments that were really well done – the slow motion chase scene and the middle of the show song in a voice like Joe Cocker (complete with not being able to understand some of the lyrics) – that I can’t list them all. I was really proud of the actors, and noticed only one tiny missed line, and no nervousness at all. Just before the show started, the actors milled around a bit in the audience, greeting their friends and families. One of the actresses whom I had pointed out on the TV screen to Colleen as particularly talented (she plays a multitude of instruments in the show, in addition to acting and singing) noticed Mark Cuddy (Geva’s artistic director) sitting right in front of us, and as she approached, she and Colleen recognized each other from school! What are the chances? I guess in Rochester, very high. That’s one of the things I love about this community – it is a community – someone you meet might be a cousin of your husband, or daughter of a friend (“or your brother, or your other brother” – funny lines from one of the skits). And it’s a community with this amazing resource – Geva Theatre. So go see the show – you might meet someone you haven’t seen in a very long time and have a nice catch up, in addition to being entertained for 90 minutes!” – Maggie Symington