A Comedy of Tenors at Oldcastle
Peter Langstaff gave us a demonstration of fine and subtle acting, playing two roles, each with its own accent, in Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors, at Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington. One of the most accomplished feats of acting I have seen in a long time, this ranks right up there with Oldcastle’s recent production of Cabaret, and their memorable A Glass Menagerie in their former home at the Bennington Arts Center years ago. Mr. Langstaff had the almost impossible task of giving two characters an accent which differed only so slightly, but in fact made all the difference. And this all in what we would call a farce. Farce and subtlety are actually very good companions. Actors bring the language to the edge of exaggeration and somehow keep it there on the tightrope. Renate Eastlick was also expert at this, one of the most believable “crazies” in the play. When a farce is beautifully acted it has a kind of sadness. The balancing act itself is a thing of beauty, and these two actors understood that. All in the cast were well-selected, and they carried the show effortlessly. It was sweet to hear the assembled trio of tenors sing “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” from La Traviata, aided and abetted by a recorded orchestra. Often tricks like that do not work, but for this occasion it did. Big kudos to the entire cast, well-directed by Christine Decker. A Trio of Tenors is one of the best productions I have seen at Oldcastle.
I must say once more how much Nigel Gore’s Tempest at Shakespeare and Company has meant to me. He helped me to see what it really is. His loneliness dominated, and this was right. I will take this performance as a model of for my adventures on stage, and I thank him.