'Ganesh' needs more room to grow

by Mary L. Anglin

Before I comment on Stagecrafters' production of "A Perfect Ganesh" by Terrence McNally, I feel I should explain something about my view of the theater.

There are, obviously, different "levels" of theatrical production---everything from the tiniest shoestring budget studio show to Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest Broadway blockbuster.

Personally, I don't believe you should let your experience of one level of theater get in the way of your enjoyment of another. Helicopters and dancing cats are fun, but it is the story and how well it is told that ultimately count the most.

That said, I think Stagecrafters' "A Perfect Ganesh" is only so-so, not because they are crammed into a cubby-hole of a theater, and not because they look like they had to scrounge for every set-piece and prop. "Ganesh"'s problems are with its script and acting.

Stories ripped from the headlines are popular, and "Ganesh" deals with a slew of hot subjects, like gay bashing, breast cancer and friendships between women. Unfortunately, trying to deal with so many issues makes "Ganesh" a real mish-mash that wanders all over but never gets anywhere. I didn't see any real growth or change in the characters, much less any resolution to their problems.

As for the acting, it is obvious the players really put their hearts into their performance, and in my book, that counts for a lot. But it doesn't count for everything. The moments the actors were really on track, they were hilariously funny or wrenchingly tragic. However, those moments were too far apart.

Despite its problems, "A Perfect Ganesh" isn't bad. It is certainly a much cheaper night out than "Miss Saigon," and it probably has a lot more heart, too.

"A Perfect Ganesh" runs at the Stagecrafters' 2nd Stage Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, October 30, at 2:00 p.m. All tickets are $7.00. The 2nd Stage is located in the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette in Royal Oak. For tickets or information, call (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

(Originally published in The South End, Oct. 1994)