Posted on March 31, 2009
TAKE A BOW
While Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding could be described as “Romeo & Juliet meets Saturday Night Fever,” I’d say it could just as easily be summed up as fun-meets-fabulous.
After one great evening with Rebecca, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to learn more about the show at last week’s open rehearsal.
It’s a near-unbelievable feat in the theatre world that a production that began as a student project in New York City over 22 years ago is still capturing theatre-loving hearts on all corners of the globe to this day. In fact, one doesn’t even have to enjoy conventional theatre to have a memorable experience with two of the most exuberant Italian families I’ve ever “met.”
For those that have never attended a production of TnT, or haven’t – ahem – read my previous blog post, the performance is an interactive comedy. It revolves around two rival Italian families who are forced to attempt to put their differences aside for a wedding on a grandeur scale between Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale. As is anyone’s guess, those differences only seem to magnify rather than disappear – and with hilarious results.
Having been a theatre student in high school, watching the open rehearsal was much like a trip down memory lane of my own experiences. While I had expected to view a brief run-through of the play, what we as spectators were shown was much different. We saw the foundation and framework of the production.
After director Michael Fera ran through some of the history of the play and touched down on important aspects, the actors engaged in various theatre exercises – some of which involved the audience – as a way of essentially keeping things fresh. When a cast has worked together for quite literally years in some cases, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of unfamiliarity.
What I enjoyed most about the evening was the ability to not only interact, but also give feedback on the experience and on how we as an audience perceive things to be. What I imagine would be most difficult as a character in this play is having the constant ability to be on your toes. While there are certain points that need to be hit in order to tell this story, much of what happens on a nightly basis is entirely improvised.
Co-director Tanja Dixon-Warren has mixed feelings about the show coming to a close after 14 years. In some ways she feels “it’s time” to end things on a high note, but at other times it’s a difficult decision. While most local productions have a shelf life of four weeks, TnT has been going strong for well over a decade. The final performances are set to take place the weekend of May 29-30, 2009, closing with a gala-style production with the entire original Vancouver cast – black ties and tiaras are encouraged!
TnT runs weekly, Thursday through Saturday, at St. Andrews Wesley Church and The Other Space at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. For ticket information and pricing, please visit Hoarse Raven Theatre’s official TnT website.