Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Theatre: The Hour of the Tiger (3 reviews)

New Theatre premiered Sandra Riley's The Hour of the Tiger on January 22nd.
An American woman immersed in Japan's post Vietnam terrain is tangled between rescuing a geisha from her money hungry master and conquering her own fears.
Ricky J. Martinez directs a cast that includes Kim Ehly, Gwendolyn Lai, Eric Miji, and Christopher Vicchiollo.

Brandon Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
The Hour of the Tiger is a sweet-hearted, well-intended, and thoroughly awful play by Miamian Sandra Riley.
He doesn't like the script. Click through if you want the blow-by blow, but understand I'm understating. So was there anything redeeming in this production?
The actors really shouldn't be judged too harshly for their attempts to bring such material to life, any more than a doctor should be castigated for failing to resurrect the dead.
They do begin to cohere by the second half of the 90-minute show, and Vicchiollo and Miji bring real fire to a final scene that is almost touching.
Michael Martin reviewed for EDGE Miami:
A clever set by scenic designer Yamarys Salomon and gorgeous costuming for the geisha by K. Blair Brown respectively establish an authenticity of locale.

The storyline, however, often becomes predictable leaving little magic for director Ricky J. Martinez to conjure up.

The encouragement of new works by new artists should be supported, an act often commendable by The New Theatre. A finer toothed comb might be utilized, however, in the selection of pieces that are actually ready for full production upon the big stage.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Sandra Riley, a South Florida writer, teacher and director, has been working for two years with New Theatre artistic director Ricky J. Martinez to get The Hour of the Tiger from the page to the Coral Gables theater's stage. In a program note, Riley hints at the developmental process in thanking ``. . . the many friends who suffered through the early drafts and numerous rewrites.''

Though that process may not -- no, make that should not -- be over, The Hour of the Tiger is up and running at New Theatre through Valentine's Day.
The Hour of the Tiger is still too unfocused, weighed down by information that feels awkwardly inserted rather than organic.
On a simple yet lovely set by Yamarys Salomon, with graceful lighting by Travis Neff, effective sound design by Ozzie Quintana and well-chosen costumes (particularly Sanagi's kimonos) by K. Blair Brown, the actors work hard to bring life and passion to Riley's script.
The Hour of the Tiger plays at New Theatre through February 14, 2010.


  1. it seems this companies days of good reviews are over...artistic director change??

  2. A lot of the "bad reviews" are more about new plays needing more script work than direction. New plays are always riskier than the standards.

  3. I think its ridiculous to blame the artistic director for the bad reviews. I have seen NUMEROUS plays at this company and have always left excited for their next show. Its sad that unfortunately due to politics critics give these harsh reviews sometimes with very little to back up their opinions. And as stated by C.L.J the "bad reviews" are about the writers which is no fault of the company and even less the artistic director. The theatre scene in Miami, no SOUTH florida, is slowly becoming extinct and most part because of these horrible unfounded reviews. I suggest for all of those out there..dont listen to peoples opinion feed the scene buy a ticket and make your own review

  4. I don't believe that "unfounded reviews" are causing the demise of S. Florida theatre. Smaller shows (thanks to the economy) of mediocre properties populated by the same half dozen actors are more likely the culprit. Theatregoers accustomed to exposure to a theatre market are frustrated by what has become, in SoFla- a theatre club. An artistic director must be held responsible for the choices and decisions it foists on the theatregoing public.

  5. I assume that most people who read this blog are working members of the South Florida theatre community. That said, I think that anyone who calls for (or even hints at) the replacement of an Artistic Director is way out of line.
    However, I must disagree with MetisPsyche's comment. The Artistic Director is the person who choses what plays will be produced at their theatre. Also it is part of the director's responsibilities to guide the play and playwright along the rehearsal process. A director has the obligation to (gently) ask a playwright to revisit portions of the script that are not working. If a play I am directing does not work, the blame falls on me.

    "MOST" Critics in South Florida do not have a hidden agenda or a political ax to grind. They simply write what they think. Some may not be as qualified as we would like for them to be, but that is why it is important to read more than one review. At the end of the day Critics are human beings and not all of them are going to like the same things. It is only when 5 out of 6 critics agree on the merits of a show, that I question the qualification of the one critic who's opinion differs from the rest.

    Mr. Martinez is a wonderful director and he has done a great job at New Theatre. I am very proud of the work he has done and I look forward to Equus. I know he will hit it out of the ballpark just like he did with The Glass Menagerie. (One of the best shows I've seen at New Theatre) Ricky is one of the few "true" theatre people in this town and he has my support.