Sunday, March 21, 2021

DADDY LONG LEGS Taproot Theatre March 21, 2021 Eclectic Arts

Daddy Long Legs

Taproot Theatre
Seattle, WA

Reviewed: 3/21/2021



(Rheanna Atendido in Daddy Long Legs.  Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)

It’s interesting to see how the wonderful companies I used to review in person events for (pre-pandemic) have pivoted during these times. It’s a given that the experience will not be the same as seeing, in this instance, a play performed on stage at the theatre. Let’s not even go there.

But, when it comes to virtual productions, there are definitely pros and cons. Yes, there are pros.

“Daddy Long Legs” was produced following Covid-19 guidelines here in Washington state at the always charming Taproot Theatre Company. Taproot has been one of my favorite theatres to review live performances at for the last three years (well 2 and some change due to 2020).

The two person play is a musical that tells the story of Jersusha Abbott, a young woman that is a talented writer. Coming from humble means, she is overwhelmed to find out that a generous benefactor has offered to send her to college on their dime. The opportunity comes with a few quirky requirements - mainly that Jerusha must write letters to her benefactor that he will (supposedly) never read and that she will never meet her benefactor.

From this long distance agreement, feelings develop, and then trust becomes the center of attention when the curtain falls during the second act.

(Christian Quinto in Daddy Long Legs. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)

Rheanna Atendido plays Jerusha Abbott and Christian Quinto plays Jervis Pendleton. Some may remember Rheanna from her role in “Bright Star” and Christian makes his Taproot Theatre debut with this role.

I mentioned earlier that there are pros to these virtual performances. With this production, multiple cameras were used, lav mics on the actors (just like in-person performances), etc. It gives the audience a viewpoint they normally wouldn’t get from sitting in the Jewell Mainstage theatre or the Isaac Studio (where this was filmed). Close-ups and multiple angles help create a more cinematic experience.

The production was filmed as if the ticket holder was venturing into the theatre in-person. POV footage to get to your seat, the show starts, an intermission countdown, and the second act. All of these were nice touches that I haven’t seen other arts companies use in their virtual productions as of yet.

It must have been a great but surreal time putting this show together. The casting, the rehearsals, and then the filming in front of an empty house (or near empty if you count the crew) must have been an odd experience. I know the many guests I’ve virtually interviewed for the last ten months have said something similar about not hearing the audience after a song or a scene was the hardest part for them.

(Christian Quinto and Rheanna Atendido in Daddy Long Legs. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)

Taproot Theatre pulled off a fine production with all the earmarks you would expect from the company. From wardrobe, set design, performances, and storytelling, “Daddy Long Legs” hits the mark.

As we are now entering a new season, one can only hope that the virtual performances will continue until it is safe for everyone to be back at the theatre in-person. Thank you to the donors and sponsors that helped make this production happen. It was sorely needed and much appreciated by this reviewer.

Hope to see you all soon at the theatre.  Until then stay safe!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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