The Rockville Little Theater's production of "The Fantasticks," which was presented Friday and Saturday was an event in which we saw amateurs deal with challenges that would give pause to professionals.
"The Fantasticks" by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt creates an indelible mood, regarldless of the level of strength of any particular production. In this sense it resembles "The Three Penny Opera" by Bertholdt Brecht and Kurt Well. The authors' orignial intent is almost inescapable.
The Rockville Little Theater's production is technically flawed. The play has an inherent simplicity of characterization and staging that demands considerable skill in perfomance. The Comedia dell'Arte format of the Play is informal, but it can easily be disrupted by unclear physical movement or poor vocal delivery on the part of the cast. While the characters are enlargements of real personalities, it is important to this play that they not be presented as inflexible stereotypes. The sense of disappointment and anger contained in the second act of "The Fantasticks" requires that the people on stage seem more real, and vulnerable than the caricatures, particularly of it younger roles, offered by this production.
A production is not made or unmade on the basis of whether or not the people involved in it are prefessionals. The type of theater offered by the Rockville Little Theater is a training ground for both performers and audiences. The editable nature of film and television leads us to sometimes forget that even or best performers are fallible.