Melody came upon some free arts tickets, so we took advantage of them. Last Tuesday we heard Till Fellner perform at Meany Hall, and last night we saw Double Indemnity at ACT Theatre. It sounded like a great deal, and we enjoyed ourselves on both nights. Before seeing Till Fellner, we decided to make it a date night and had ramen at Samurai Noodle for dinner, where we know we'll enjoy our noodles and toppings. Since we had extra time afterwards, we went down a couple doors and split a Tiramisu. Well-fed, we worked our way to Meany Hall.
Since the tickets were free, we figured we wouldn't get great seats, and that ended up being true. Fifth row, far right side, exactly the wrong place for a piano recital. They did have a screen above the stage with a camera which showed his hands, but it seemed to me there was a slight lag from what we were hearing. Not much, and I could only notice it when there weren't many notes being played together, but it kept me from watching the screen very much.
Of course, seating only affects what you see, not what you hear (Meany is pretty good, and even though it seems to sound better further back, it still sounded good). We thought Fellner's Haydn (Sonata in C) sounded a bit flat, but agreed that he could have been trying to make it feel like a harpsichord. The Armstrong (Half of One, Six Dozen of Another) felt kind of long (he used the score, and the stack of sheets seemed very thick) but did have interesting parts, and definitely had a strong framework. The Schumann (Kinderszenen) felt like his strongest piece; it felt dynamic and lyrical. We got the feeling that he started running out of steam with the Liszt (Années de Pelerinage: Deuxieme Année: Italie). Coincidentally, Craig Sheppard was also at the recital, and Melody went to his Friday recital where he played the same Liszt.
One of my pet peeves is people who are noisy with the pedals, and Fellner had great pedal technique. In fact, during the Armstrong, he was very adept at the use of all three pedals; I was interested to see him using the middle pedal with his left foot, but it did make sense since he coordinated its use with the right pedal. Fellner's performance was very solid, and it didn't take long to feel confident that you didn't have to hold your breath waiting for a missed note, even during the difficult parts.
Double Indemnity was a preview for the show's premiere. Even though ACT Theatre is downtown and it was an evening show, we had time to have dinner at home then bus down, knowing that the timing would work out that we would only have to wait a few minutes for the bus back home.
Again, we didn't expect great tickets, but these ended up working out OK. We were in the middle of the balcony, and since that part was only two rows deep, we had a good view. However, the whole theater is very intimate, so I can imagine that the people on the lower level felt all but part of the play.
It's been quite a while since I've seen the movie, but the play felt close to it. It was quite dark, but seemed to have good timing and pace. The lead actress was great as Phyllis, and the rest of the cast was very solid. The set was sparse but very well suited to the production. The best gag was the hospital bed; I won't spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say it was clever and well done.
I can say with certainty that we got more than our money's worth from the tickets!