Attending this show was two firsts for me: my first time seeing a show at Playhouse Merced and my first time seeing the musical Titanic. I had a lovely experience. Producing since 1994, their space is a refurbished downtown store, with entrances on both the front and back sides of the building. The seats are comfortable, stadium style so the views are very good. The stage is small, but they make the most of it with this production.
One of the best-staged moments was in the second act as the ship is sinking (there are no spoilers regarding the Titanic, so stop it!) and passengers are heading for the too-few lifeboats available. From the melee of actors being separated out by class, gender and age, director Corey Strauss untangles two distinct groups: Women and children crowded in a stage right vom representing a lifeboat and men and volunteers left behind on the centerstage deck.
The effect from the audience is that of two masses of humanity emotionally still tethered but swaying farther and farther apart. For the entire number (I believe it is “We’ll Meet Tomorrow”) the tension is palpable, thanks to their effective stage positioning and the performance of the ensemble, who operate as a unit in each group.
Congratulations to Playhouse Merced on the opening of their 2018-2019 season! Titanic runs for one more weekend, through September 16th. Tickets and information here.
About Just a Moment The conundrum: I used to review shows. I no longer do unless specifically asked. But from time to time I still like to tell the world a little something about what I saw. My solution: The “Just a Moment” where I will discuss one moment in a show I watch that I found effective (or perhaps ALMOST effective?) and then try to articulate why. Not the whole show, not a review, just something that struck me personally. They’ll be compiled in this category, if you’d like to see the other Moments. (And yes, the idea struck me while watching Into the Woods.)