I really enjoyed attending this performance of Out of Order. It is really interesting to see a play that was read for a class come to life. When I first sat down at the table I did not know what to expect because this was my first dinner theatre production. The play was about Mr. Willey’s and Jane Worthington’s affair while working in Parliament. Things spiral out of control when they find a dead body in the hotel. The play goes from bad to worse as more and more characters get involved in some way in the play. Seeing how this was all performed on stage gave me a different view of the play.
By reading the play first, it gives you a better understanding of the play. For example, the play tells you it is set in England, but when you see the play live you have to gather that information on your own. The time and place of the play are given before even reading the play, 8:30 pm in September at the Westminster Hotel. When you see the play it does not tell you this information unless it is in the program. If the play is read first, then there will be a better understanding of the play itself.
When you read a play first you know what to expect, but you do not know the director’s interpretation on the play. This is why it is beneficial to read the play first. If the play is read, then a basic idea of what the play is about is formed. When it is seen live then how the reader may have interpreted it may not match the director’s interpretation. Also, the director may have completely changed the setting and/or time period to show their take on the play. For example, when I went to go see Romeo and Juliet a year ago I had read the play before seeing it. The play had the same plot line as the book, but it took place during World War I. All of the characters were accurate to the original play, but the setting and time period were changed. Out of Order could have easily made this kind of change and the audience may not have grasped the meaning Ray Cooney had intended.
Reading a play can encourage the audience to use their imagination to guess what the character may look, act, and dress like. The play gives us very vague descriptions of the characters before the first act. However, after reading the play and then seeing it those characters will come to life. When I go to a play I feel like I am a part of it, like it is happening around me. When I read a play I feel like a bystander who is omniscient. I know what the characters are thinking and feeling because I see more than just the dialogue.
When seeing a play live, all of the stage directions that were in the script are being followed while performing. When I was reading Out of Order and came across stage directions I was very confused. It was hard to imagine the characters moving from point a to point b. Seeing it live, I did not even have to think about the stage directions. I just watched the characters move. The stage directions can give insight to the way a character is feeling, however.
Reading a play first, then seeing it live is a good thing. I believe that someone who has read the play first has a better understanding of what the play is about and trying to convey to the audience. If someone were to see the play first and then read it, I feel like that person would not get as much out of the play if they did not read it first. There is just something about seeing the lines of the actors and actresses on a page. There is a deeper understanding of those words than just hearing them. When I read something that someone wrote I can go back and reread it and dig deeper into what was written. In a play you cannot keep going back to the play over and over again. That is why if you read the play first and understand that what is being said is important and the meaning behind it. Not every single line has a deep and complex meaning but there are key lines that do.
Overall, I did enjoy this play and was very glad to have read it before hand. When I saw the play live I knew what to expect, except concerning the costumes, I expected that the ladies would be covered a little more. It is really interesting to see a play come alive. It is like a way for inexpensive travel: you can go to a different place in a different time and it feels so real. That is what I felt when I went to see this play. That is one reason I love going to any play. I am a broke college student who has a desire to see the world. One part of that can come from reading the play, and the other part comes from seeing it live.