On Tuesday, I was surprised with an outing to Intiman Theatre's production of the Clifford Odets play, Paradise Lost. Thanks, Tino! It's debatable whether or not one's experience of the arts--in this case, theater--is more or less enjoyable with knowledge of the plot/story. In my case, the experience was constantly evolving, as I had to listen and focus on all the elements as these happened on stage.
It's the story of a well-off family during the Great Depression, and the tragedies that befall them all. (Then again, don't most plays follow that formula?) It questions the lengths that we will go to in order to survive during a time of struggle. Leo's company is losing money, and his employees are demanding better pay. He wants to give it to them; his business partner would rather hire someone to burn down the shop and claim the insurance money. Leo won't do it. In the end, the only thing that has not been lost is their integrity.
For me, the entire performance was carried by the impeccable acting by Bradley Goodwill, who played the role of Leo's business partner, Sam Katz. There was never a moment where I felt he was merely reciting lines; every delivered line felt authentic. Michael Mantell played the role of Leo just as well. The character made me question my own political motives with the line, "I don't vote because I came to realize that both sides were just as bad." Here, here.
Lastly, as we were returning to our seats during the first intermission, either the old man or old woman walking in front of us let out a very loud fart. Not a word was said until we sat back down. "Was it just me, or did the people in front of us just fart?" I asked. Insert laughter.
Photo taken from Intiman's Paradise Lost Play Guide.