Some folks sent us their feedback directly instead of posting it here. I have edited these responses a little to respect their privacy, but otherwise left them alone.
The music was great and David Brownlie did an excellent job, however I would have really appreciated a story line. It was hard to listen to the ramblings of a manic-depressive for 25 minutes – I think it’s hard to hold an audience that way. If you wanted to do a pastiche of scenes depicting manic depression, a shorter show would have worked better, I think. I’m a big fan of IBP/Catastrophic and hope you continue to do more shows involving live music. Thanks.
the only thing i didnt like is that u held an intermission between the second half and the bands. i think it would have kept the energy up and been more meaningful if the bands had started playing immediately after the last song in the play ended. i think this could have been feasible, given that there were two stages covered up- bands could have set up and alternated while the other was playing.
Thank YOU for putting on this amazing show, and I really appreciate YOU for making it possible for me to do so by having pay-what-you-can performances. I even like the phrase "pay-what-you-can', as opposed to "pay-what-you-will", because, and I believe this is the case for most people in my position, it is not that I won't, or don't want to, pay the suggested price, it's just that right now I can't. And when I can, I will happily pay full price or more.
With that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Life is Happy and Sad, and I am so very glad I didn't miss it. The entire cast, crew, and musicians did excellent work. Matt Brownlie was just incredible; his was easily one of the most real and true on stage performances I have ever seen - so moving. During his performance in the second act, I found that, despite my best efforts, I could not keep my eyes dry - the first time this has happened to me while watching a play, I might add.
There is something in this piece that is so very human, so personal, and very identifiable for a lot of us, if not for most, I think - really wonderful, not to mention the great music. I will never forget it. Bravo all of you!
I watched the Friday show of Happy Sad and this would be my second Catastrophic play that I've seen. I loved the show! I'm a fan of Daniel Johnston's music and I felt glad that ya'll expressed his music, personality, and struggles with tenderness and artfulness. Catastrophic theatre has been the only theatre that I've watched plays of and ya'll are opening my eyes to the beauty and intelligence of what local theatre can offer.
Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed the show. Honestly, I think I might have liked this one better than the first one, but I'm not sure I'm ready to say that for certain. It certainly gave me a better insight into Daniel. And the dude is great. I swear I felt like I was watching myself at 18. I had the same hair and dressed just like that. I even had that same belt and some of the same mannerisms (the way he would hold one arm over the other), so in that regard I was mesmerized.
Also, thanks for opening my mind to, or at least reminding me of, the possibilities of theatre.
The first half was too long. That being said, he did a wonderful job!
First of all -- the play is great! Matt rocks and nailed the part! The music performances are great! The concept works! ...except for a few things:
1 -- the first part was good but too long and disjointed. Daniels tapes seemed scatterbrained but had a confident melodicky-rhythmnance-ness that gave them value-ocity that made me accept the goofiness. So...
I suggest tightening up the monoloque and lose some of the "well, uh"'s & "and, and, and..."'s. Highlite the clever rethoric and diminish the "far-freeakin' out man. Dude..." stuff.
Also, include more music numbers -- especially stuff using multiple tape recorders! Maybe include some projected DJ art on the curtains as Matt monologues.
Basically -- show more of DJ's output so the audience can make the connection between the process and the finished work more.
2 -- the "homie talk show" thing didn't work for me at all -- too highschool in its' execution. Isn't that supposed to be where DJ first tried acid (started his physical downslide?).
3 -- Make the ending stand out more -- It kind of just ended... and make a bigger deal out of giving away the cassette that mark makes each night!
Good show, though!
It was wonderful. Matt's portrayal of Daniel was phenomenal. The play beautifully captures the innocent desire for comfort/acceptance that drives much of the mentally ill population. The level of relatability offered by the characters is heart warming. I loved every second of it.
Sadly to say... [the person I was with] insisted we leave at intermission. I was very disappointed […] and wanted to stay. I usually can persist but [this person] found the first act very annoying (which it was). But listening to the rantings of a mentally unstable young man is not meant to be pleasant!
So I can't comment on the piece since I didn't see it in it's entirety...
Life is Funny and Sad was a surprise – since I knew only a little of Daniel Johnston. Now I am a huge fan, so thanks to this group for that introduction and for the wonderful experience of the play. You deserve a 10/10 for it. I always think that 90% of film and theater is forgotten when you walk out the door…..but I have been thinking about your play a lot since seeing it. Thanks to the group for that.
Here is one suggestion – for those who know nothing of his story, the fragments of the play are somewhat challenging to weave together. Just a few words here and there to link the chronology and significance of the different pieces might make it easier for some audience to ‘connect the dots’. Maybe something would be lost if you did that….maybe not.