Jitney Essay, Research Paper
The off-Broadway show Jitney is based on a dramatic play, written by August Wilson. The production is held at the Union Square Theater. The house has a very pleasant, cozy and warm atmosphere. The structure of the small theater and its thrust stage successfully achieves intimacy. It also creates a bond between the actors and the audience, enabling the audience to relate to the characters feelings and emotions. In other words, the house was perfectly chosen for the production.
The production was created very cost efficiently; at least the set was. It accomplished that by using a constant set throughout the entire show. The design of the set was very simple and consisted of inexpensive props that were on stage from the beginning to the end. Characters brought small props on to the stage, like a cup of coffee, a magazine, even a gun. But that wasn?t enough of visual stimulation. Watching the same settings for two and a half hour can make the spectator very tired and bored. I can?t say that the set didn?t serve the production?s purpose, but it could have been better. In order to keep the spectators interested and capture their absolute attention, a variety of visual stimuli have to be introduced into the production. The constant set and lack of visual effects made the show dull and less exciting than it could have been.
The show tried to introduce some kind of change to the set, by the use of lighting. Donald Holder, the lighting designer succeeded in achieving the perception of change from day to night and sunrise to sunset. But his greater accomplishment was the setting of the light in a certain way to establish the mood of the scene. As in the scene where Youngblood went to sleep on the sofa of the jitney station, the red-hot lights that illuminated the set, portrayed a feeling of resentment and anger.
The costume designer, Susan Hilferty also did a remarkable job designing the costumes. They incredibly represented the time that the play took place, which was late 1970?s. They also indicated the persona and distinctiveness of each the character. Youngblood dressed in jeans, tang tops, leather jacket and was always wearing a baseball cap. His wardrobe represented his boyishness and his immaturity. Shealy?s flamboyant attire represented that he is a flashy character, and that he likes to show off. One similarity that all the costumes had was that they represented a low to middle class of people.
My favorite aspect of the show was the performance itself. The actors? performance was extremely realistic and convincing. They brought so much emotion and passion to each scene and each conflict that the spectators felt convinced that the character is the one on stage and not the actor. The expressions on their faces, the looks in their eyes, their bodily movements made their characters come to life. The scene of the quarrel between Youngblood and Rena involved so many different emotions of love, mistrust, companionship and misunderstanding, and it was all displayed on their faces. Her voice sounded as though she is in a lot of pain and is about to burst into tears, from the gossip that she heard from Turnbo. Russell Andrews who played Youngblood also did a great job showing his pain from being misunderstood, doubted and distrusted. He showed his pain with hand gestures of anger and with love in his eyes and on his face. The performance in that scene was so powerful that the audience felt their pain. Especially because everyone goes through an experience of either distrusting someone or being distrusted. Personally I was able to relate to many scenes of the play, including the one in which Booster discovers his father Becker. I was there when my best friend found out her mother has died, and her reaction was almost identical to the one Keith Randolph Smith put on. The anger and the pain combined together created a very dramatic scene of violence and regret. All of the actor?s performances were truly astonishing