The second show for the ASU Theatre season was Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music. The show was directed by Bob Simpson and written by Lee Blessing. The show is completely a “Slice of Life” play for the reason that it depicts the everyday life of these almost ordinary characters. Mr. Blessing addresses the idea of “understanding life” throughout the entirety of the play.
The protagonist, Catherine, is a Catholic Novice on retreat from her convent, seeking a new life in Southeast Texas.
Her journey is one that involves her overly excited aunt, Eva June, Eva June’s ‘little-shit-of-a-son’, Jay Bob, the owner of the bar, Jim, and the village dull, smiley-goofball, Roy. There were many pictures from the show that struck me as effective to character development and story progression. I thoroughly enjoyed the Set picture with the truck and house, which set a very Texan decorum.
The entire first act took place on the ground and the entire second act took place on the balcony roof of the bar, which set a nice picture of the rise of the story into the second act.
The picture with Jay Bob, Jim, and Roy playing tug o’ war with Jay Bob created a very comedic tone for the wrong actions Jay Bob had taken against Jim and vice versa. The choices that the director made in blocking were pretty harmonious with the action throughout the play, except in Act 1 when Jim and Roy and setting up the tent in the truck.
Roy seemed to be cut off quite a bit and some of his dialogue was lost because the vision of the play was to be very ‘Representational’ and the director wanted full contact with Jim and Roy. The choice of music as an integral part of the play was very nice, as well. There were several instances when the music received as much of a laugh as the actors, such as the end of Act I after Jim and Roy sit on the tailgate and “Cant’ Help Falling in Love” plays from the truck.
Another instances was with Eva June and Catherine during her confession about leaving the convent and “Burning Ring of Fire” keeps playing from the bar. The only choices that seemed to take me out of the world of the play were made by the actress that played Eva June. Her character seemed quite contrived and “rehearsed” at particular moments of the play, and I was anticipating a livelier, real woman. Overall, the play was a treat to be involved with and a great wrap-up to a fantastic semester.