By Reena Dutt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 20, 1997

Chance, romance and an Invisible Theatre


Photo by Wayne Pearce
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Susan Claassen as Theda Blau and Jack Neubeck as Vito Pignoli in the Invisible Theatre's production of "It Had To Be You."

The Invisible Theatre, located on First Avenue and Drachman Street, is making its reappearance with the romantic comedy "It Had to be You," running now through Nov. 30.

"The Invisible Theatre is the third oldest [theater] in the state," says Susan Claassen, artistic director. The theater not only produces romantic comedies, but they perform all kinds of intimate shows, including dramas and performances based on true stories. Along with using original work, they pull in people who have their own ideas for every aspect of theater. The people who work for the theater do it because they love it and because it gives them a chance to practice their creative potential. Claassen describes the artistic effort as being "an opportunity for performers to experiment and come together."

"It Had to be You" is a good example of artistic collaboration between the director, Gail Fitzhugh and all the other artistic employees and performers. Written by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, Academy Award winners, the comedy looks at a couple days in the life of Theda Blau, an actress played by Claassen. This failed actress falls in love with successful commercial director Vito Pignoli played by Jack Neubeck and cages him in her apartment, hoping that he will return her feelings.

The play begins as an interactive performance. Since there is so little seating, there is abundant opportunity for audience involvement. Theda begins the performance by narrating her story. She starts off at a commercial audition, where she fails terribly. She comes to the audition in a bad emotional state, only to reveal all her problems to the auditioner, who is just a voice offstage. After the man in charge tells Theda he will call her agent (who, she reveals, has recently died), another man walks in through the back door (the actual exit located at the back of the theater) who will later reveal his identity as Vito Pignoli. The theater in which the audience sits becomes the auditioning room and when the actors leave the set, they exit the theater itself.

Not only was the beginning of the play unique, it also pulled the audience into the performance, almost making them feel as though they were the ones performing. After the audition scene, the stage becomes the acting area, signaling a decline in interaction. The energy of the acting does not decline, though; Claassen and Neubeck keep the audience laughing throughout the performance.

There are segments, however, which slow down the evolution of the story, as well as segments which don't seem to make enough sense. For example, the jump from Act 1 to Act 2 is shocking. The plot takes a sudden leap forward, leaving the audience completely behind. While the insanity of Act 1 is almost unbelievable, Act 2 seems entirely impossible after such a short period of time.

Regardless, the creativity put into this performance is really incomparable to other shows in Tucson, giving anyone reason enough to watch "It Had to be You." For more information on show times and dates, call The Invisible Theatre at (520) 882-9721.


(LAST_STORY)  - (Wildcat Chat) - (NEXT_STORY)