If there's anything worse for an actor than a small audience, I guess it's no audience at all. If there's anything worse for a reviewer than a small audience I haven't met it yet.
Including the house staff there were approximately twenty people attending what was a fine performance by Burdette Parks at the FlynnSpace last Friday evening, Sept. 14. Parks, who lives in the Adirondacks and is associated with Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake, has toured one show about Benjamin Franklin in the past, and has been touring this particular one-man show recently, Benjamin Franklin, Printer, &tc., which he assembled based on numerous biographical works about Franklin in honor of Franklin's 300th birthday, which occurred last year.
The theme of this story is Franklin life as a publisher and as a wordsmith, as well as Franklin the diplomat to the court of France. We have here Franklin the saucy, Franklin the aphorist, Frank- lin the cagey, and Franklin the timely.
Parks frequently points out Franklin's ability to meet with every situation, and he makes the audience aware that Franklin was a very serious man as well as a very irreverent and funny man.
In the program notes, Parks states: "As a printer and businessman, Ben Franklin defined the beginnings of Americanism...as a public servant, he was intimately involved in the machinations that separated the colonies from Great Britain and set a new course for the New World...and as the best-known and most highly regarded American in Europe, Franklin's prestige was vital in securing the support and aid that made it possible to win the Revolution."
The theater program also says that Parks, as Franklin, "... delights, amazes, informs and amuses 21st-century audiences just as the original did twelve generations ago."
This is certainly true. Parkss timing is impeccable, his diction perfect, his investiture in the character of Franklin complete. In fact, the only thing that stopped him from fully realizing the above quote is the fact that there wasn't much of an audience.
There should have been, because it's a delightful evening that spans about an hour and fifty minutes with a very brief intermission. The evening goes quickly because Parks keeps a steady pace.
The technical side is spot on, with the backdrop comprised mostly of a handset printing press that is truly operational. The costume is perfection itself.
When you go, pay particular attention to the music, which Parks has carefully chosen as overture and entr'acte, because the last piece that he plays before his entrance was written by Franklin, who was truly a polymath, particularly in the sciences.
If you're looking for a way to spend any evening from Wednesday through Saturday of next week, may I politelyand firmlysuggest that you acquaint yourself with Benjamin Franklin, Printer, &tc at the FlynnSpace? You will be pleased that you went.Performan-ces begin at 8 p.m.
The Shelburne Art Center Gallery will be opening a show on Oct. 3 at their space at 54 Falls Rd. in Shelburne. The show is dedicated to the student instructors, and is a showcase of their individual talents . . . Concert tickets for the Vermont Youth Orchestra are now available at the Flynn Center Regional Box Office86-Flynn...the Lenore and Alvin Segal Theatre opens the season this year with The Diary of Anne Frank. The show runs from Oct. 14 to Nov. 4. Reservations and information can be had at 514-739-7944. The theater is dark on Friday. Performances Monday through Thursday are at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., and there are matinees on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. This show is undoubtedly worth the trip . . . Giuseppe Verdis A Masked Ball opens in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal's Place des Arts for a total of 5 performances, beginning Saturday, Sept. 22, with further performances on Sept. 26 and 29, and Oct. 1 and 4, all performances beginning at 8 p.m. for ticket information contact 514- 985-2258 or 877-385-2222.