I think I’d seen five or six Broadway shows before I saw my first non-musical, The Motherf**cker with the Hat. While there are different vibes in plays where none of the cast spontaneously burst into song, they are often just as entertaining.
I wanted to see Seminar mainly because Alan Rickman was the lead. Most of you probably know him from Harry Potter or Die Hard, but he’s been acting for a long time. He’s developed a fairly consistent smug personality throughout all of his films, which was in full display in Seminar.
Seminar’s plot is fairly simplistic. Alan Rickman plays Leonard, a pompous writer who is teaching a private writing class to four young struggling writers. All four young students have varying degrees of insecurity, a problem exacerbated by Leonard’s careless attitude toward feelings unrelated to sex.
Despite the play’s brief length of 100 minutes, you really get to know the characters. There are only five of them, so everyone gets a lot of screen time. Film and television fans may know Jerry O’Connell, who was last seen in CBS’ The Defenders. There’s a fair amount of star power for such a small cast and they all mesh well together. The play only has two sets, one of which is only seen toward the end, so the actors had to work really hard to keep the audience engaged.
Seminar isn’t laugh out loud funny, but it’s got a really good story buried under the general unpleasantness and selfish natures of most of the characters. As a prospective writer myself, I really connected with the fear that the publishing business invokes on young scribes.
If you like Alan Rickman and you like writing, give Seminar a try. English majors will love it.First timers to Broadway might be better off with a more mainstream production, but Seminar does not disappoint. Plus, Snape doesn’t kill Dumbledore in this one. Score!!!!