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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

‘The Front Page’ review: It’s all good press

No one should underestimate the power of the press – not even members of the press. Filled with comedy, crime and corruption, “The Front Page” has the length and thrill of modern movies without the intangibility or computer graphics.
The Prospect Theater Project is a surprisingly private setting after stepping off busy K Street in Modesto. Surrounded by black walls, the only lights in the room draw your eyes to the stage that is directly at eye level with the audience – this is important to remember later.
The performance I attended was only a dress rehearsal, but although the show was not yet completed, I was not left wanting.
The show begins as lights illuminate the stage and you see several men sitting at the center table of a 1920s press room. While characters are razzing one another over a poker game, another is off to the side on a candlestick phone (the kind that you have to hold one piece to your mouth and another to your ear) reporting a story to someone on the other end. The dynamic of multiple conversations going on in a small space is something that continues consistently throughout the show.
I got the immediate impression that someone important was missing, and that someone was a woman.
Repeatedly the boss calls searching for Hildy Johnson, played by Megan Cardenas, and the men argue over whether or not she has truly quit to move away and get married. The idea that a woman is integral in this time period stands out, as does the character of Hildy Johnson when she finally arrives. She promptly puts on a display that leaves the impression that this is a woman worth following. Tough, outspoken and opinionated, she marches onto the stage, immediately calls the boss and tells him off to the raucous laughter of her coworkers. Slamming the phone and telling the boys, “That’s how it’s done,” positions her as a woman on top in a man’s world.
Yet Johnson is supposed to take a train to happily ever after, and her battle between her strong identity and emotional fulfillment is a key struggle throughout the show. For fear of giving too much away, I can only promise that as an audience member I constantly questioned which path she would choose, who this terrible boss was. . . and did I mention there’s a killer on the loose?
Needless to say there is a lot to follow, and the three acts and two intermissions total in at two-and-a-half hour production, but for those who like crime, drama and the essence of the theater, this is a much better alternative to going to a movie at Brenden down the street.
As for the stage being at floor level: There are quite a few action scenes that put the actors and audience face-to-face. How’s that for entertainment?
The one negative is that “The Front Page” costs $20, which for an evening out on a student’s salary can be a bit much. If you, however, have a love of theater and the old feel of the 1920s, it will put the bang in your buck.
“The Front Page” will continue to run at the Prospect Theater Project until May 18, the final performance being at 2 p.m. that Sunday. Specific times, dates and reservations can be found at prospecttheaterproject.org.

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‘The Front Page’ review: It’s all good press