Original cast of the 1985 film The Breakfast Club
The Kraine Theater on East Fourth Street, however, is doing more than its share to revive this dwindling theater scene with Dana Discordia's triumphant You See Us as You Want to See Us Reflections From the Breakfast Club. This electric version of John Hughes's 1985 film (and current TBS staple) is no standard adaptation of the original, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Instead, it's a botox-injected face-lift that proves the movie is no worse for the wear while giving it an entirely new slant.
This is a production tailor-made for fans of the movie, but with an emphasis on the comedic (and, perhaps to Generations X and Y, iconic) moments in the movie. Director-producer Discordia, a veteran satirist, knows which scenes stand out-lunchtime, running through the halls, Claire's clever lipstick application, and the students' confessions about what landed them in detention-and sends them all up. In addition, Discordia turns the film's more dramatic moments into flashes of comedy.
Cast of new play by Dana Discordia.
The show was already in solid shape when it opened last December, but at a recent February performance, each portrayal was even stronger and more raucously embellished, with much room for improvisation. Discordia encourages his cast to think of new character bits to throw out, so no two shows are the same-the way that theater should be but so often is not. It's hard to imagine that performances of a show like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or Little Women are not interchangeable from one evening to the next.
Of course, the credit should go to the Breakfast ensemble. Rarely has a cast so clearly and confidently jelled. They all understand each other's rhythms to a remarkable degree, and their combined energy makes a unique tapestry. One would never want to lift even one of the principals out.
"The show is ever-evolving," Discordia says. He
is right, both in terms of the physical aspects of the production,
and while the ideas and people from that whose
set design has expanded
of the play's action, and the performances themselves. The
comedy has gotten bigger and broader. Doran has enormous fun
toying with the nowflamboyant character of Andrew and
adds new bits from evening to evening. Amoroso has an 11th-hour
monologue that morphs from one performance to the next. A
running gag making fun of both Claire's vapidity and the career
of Ringwald, her original portrayer, has grown since opening
night and become even zanier. Even Tatch's back story for
the crusty principal has changed.
Breakfast is a show where familiarity breeds comfort rather than contempt. This is a production designed for return audiences. It is akin to hanging out with your best friends-you know what you're in for, but you get something new out of the experience every time.
You See Us as You Want to See Us: Reflections From The Breakfast Club runs through April 30th at the Kraine Theater. To read Doug's review of the show, click here.