Review by Paul Levy
Two plays. One bar. Eight actors. The Williams Project’s “The Bar Plays” series tackles two different plays and stages them both in the same bar with the same 8 actors. It’s an ambitious project to take on two scripts for one run, but director Ryan Guzzo Purcell and the cast of adrenaline-seeking actors somehow managed to rehearse two different well-known plays at the same time. The two shows in the series are “Small Craft Warnings” and “Time of Your Life”. The night I went was the opening for the second play in the series “Time of Your Life.” You can catch both shows now through August 25th.
“Time of Your Life” is a five-act play by American playwright William Saroyan written in 1939. But don’t let the five-acts scare you. Purcell keeps the show moving at high speed, as the cast of eight actors become the 27 various characters that stumble in and out of Nick’s Waterfront Saloon. The Washington Hall venue transforms into Nick’s Saloon with bar tables and an actual bar that serves drinks throughout the show. Actors take over every nook and cranny of this space, and it’s open seating. At times some seats have you sitting very close to the actors, blurring the lines between audience an actor.
The show itself centers on a large cast of characters all holding onto the routines of their daily lives while the city around them is transforming. Much like the journey for the characters in the play, the show itself also transforms, breaking the norms of theatre by having actors randomly assigned their roles in front of the audience and not skipping a beat as they jump into the 27 different characters. A feat that requires them to keep the script close at hand to recite character lines they’ve never memorized, and likely only individually rehearsed a handful of times.
The Williams Project “Time of Your Life” is a chaotic romp that will put a smile on your face while the delightful cast performs all around you.
The show runs until August 25th at Washington Hall in the Central District, with a range of ticket pricing including pay what you can at the door. You can find out more here.
[You can read Tony Bohn’s review of The Williams Project “Small Craft Warnings” on our blog here.]
More about guest blogger, Paul Levy: Paul Levy is always on the hunt for stories brought to life in immersive formats. He is the Creative Director at TPN, an agency that creates small and large live-events and experiences for fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing.