THEATER REVIEW: “Connor’s Poetry Party” at the Living Room Theater ***
Last night’s performance of “Connor’s Poetry Party” was distinctly different from all previous ones given by performer Connor Beckett. In readings past, he would only recite one piece of poetry and often have a fellow performer introduce and close the show. In a clear departure from the usual, he went through every single poem in his repertoire binder. It was a binder full of
Beckett displayed the necessary stamina to read, emote and gesture his way through the variety of readings. Despite his moving performance, the extended length seemed to have taken its toll on his audience. One person left the theater area altogether to answer a call from his parents. Another was found to be putting a throw blanket tassel in his belly button. He was heard by other audience members to say the tassel was a quasar coming out of a black hole. This same disgruntled spectator muttered more than once, “I don’t think I can survive another poem!” However, despite the discouraging heckling and disturbances, Beckett persevered with style and grace. His showmanship never petered, and he clearly enjoyed being under the spotlight.
At one point in his readings, he stopped to ask the audience if they knew what the word “anticipate” meant. Our disgruntled audience member was quick to point out that Beckett gave an answer inconsistent with the definition given at the poem’s original showcase. Then during the reading of “Albuquerque Turkey” he asked the audience if they had eaten egg foo young. He explained it was a dish that he had eaten before and found to be very good. This was an obvious falsity that fact-finders were quick to point out. He requires further development to make each of these poems his own rather than recite verbatim from his days as an understudy. It became obvious that he was quoting his mentor (and kindergarten teacher). These are merely signs of his youth and inexperience typical in a neophyte to the stage. His integrity was restored when he admitted to the audience that he was pretending he had eaten egg foo young. His interaction with and personal disclosure to the crowd served to endear him to them even as their endurance was tested. The Living Room Theater will undoubtedly have loyal season ticket holders who are fans
wanting willing to hear more. Beckett’s overall enthusiasm and theatrical flair show his potential for the future as a rising star. He is a performer whose talent is as promising and sure as a raving review from his mother.
When: Weekly performances through May
Where: The Living Room Theater
Running time: 5 minutes for Reading, 30+ minutes for Party
Tickets: Free of charge