by John Stoehr
Nigel Redden, director of Spoleto Festival USA, didn't seem pleased to learn that the biggest buzz of the festival so far has been for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a show whose run ended Tuesday.
During a party last night after the opening of The Burial at Thebes, I told Redden that to a person, the people I've talked to about Devil have raved about, with no doubt in their minds about how good it was. Dressed in a dapper blue blazer, khakis, and yellow neck tie, Redden gave me that impish deadpan look.
"That's unfortunate to hear now that it's over," he said. "It didn't cost a million dollars."
He was referring, of course, to the cost of mounting Monkey: Journey to the West, about $1.3 million. Monkey's pricetag, along with other ebbs and flows of financing, put the Spoleto Festival in the red (about $292,000, though it could be more) for the first time in more than a decade.
Monkey was Spoleto's second choice. The festival originally wanted to book The Gate Theatre's staging of Sweeney Todd. But plans fell through at the last minute. To make buzz news sting a bit more, Monkey, which has the longest run of anything else at the festival, is getting mixed reviews. The buzz factor is certainly not on par with Devil.
I don't know what it cost to mount Devil, but the stage crew at the Emmett Robinson Theatre told me that the tech for traditional Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, whose performance consisted of four musicians sitting on a elevated platform and a empty stage, was more complicated than that of Devil.