May 23

Trojan Women: An Atmospheric View of the Devastation of War

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photo credit: Whistler in the Dark

Trojan Women by Euripides,
Whistler in the Dark,
The Factory Theatre,
5/18/12-6/2/12, http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/productions/trojanwomenprod.html.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) The end of war is something that is looked on as a celebratory event. Images of servicemen returning home, country’s flags being raised, and a collective sigh of relief from the population are the usual symbols that are associated with victory. There is however always a losing side in a war who must deal with a devastated homeland, a shamed or exterminated army, and the loss of everything their civilization was or could ever be. Continue reading

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Mar 20

The Man From Earth: A Mystery of History

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Photo by Reid Gilman

Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth by Richard Schenkman, Hovey Players, 3/9/12-3/24/12, http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/jerome-bixby%E2%80%99s-the-man-from-earth/.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Waltham, MA) The phrase “history is written by the victors” is a saying that shows a built in flaw in the study of our past. The idea that a subject that must be completely impartial and factual is weakened when records that are worked with could be exaggerated at some points and completely falsified at others. This concept of incomplete information is the main theme of Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth, the science fiction mystery piece currently being performed by Waltham’s The Hovey Players at The Abbot Memorial Theater. Continue reading

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Feb 19

Daddy Long Legs: Musical Humor and Charm

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Robert Adelman Hancock & Megan McGinnis, photo by Meghan Moore

Daddy Long Legs, Music and Lyrics by Paul Gordon, Book by John Caird, Based on the novel by Jean Webster, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 2/9/12-3/4/12

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Lowell, MA) The concept of love at first sight is something that has been around in theater and literature since the times of ancient mythology. There is another and more complicated hook for a love story however, in which two people fall in love without ever seeing each other. Such pieces as Mask, Sleepless in Seattle, and Parfumerie have taken on the concept that love can spark purely on personality and intrigue without any physical attributes taken into account. So it is with the musical Daddy Long Legs, a new performance being hosted by The Merrimack Repertory Theatre based off the book by John Caird. Continue reading

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Jan 23

Green Eyes: A Room With A View

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Alan Brincks and Erin Markey Photo: Travis Chamberlain

Green Eyes  by Tennessee Williams, Company One in collaboration with Chris Keegan and The Kindness, The Ames Hotel, 1/18/12-2/26/12, http://www.companyone.org/Season13/Green_Eyes/info.shtml.  Contains nudity.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) “Welcome to my honeymoon,” the manic looking blond in the short white dress says “I do expect an invitation to yours.” She snaps a picture of the audience on an out of date Polaroid and then has one of its members unzip her dress as she strips down and gets into bed. This is the first part of the voyeuristic experience that is Green Eyes, a lost Tennessee Williams play currently being put on by a Company One and The Kindness at the Ames Hotel in Boston. Continue reading

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Nov 24

Arabian Nights: Colorful Storytelling

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The Ruhk and the Cast in a scene from The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater’s production of Arabian Nights running from November 17 – December 31 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Tickets & Information: 866-811-4111 or CentralSquareTheater.org. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Arabian Nights, adapted by Dominic Cooke, The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railroad Theater at the Central Square Theater,  11/17/11-12/31/11,  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/11-12/arabian-nights.html.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Cambridge, MA) The ancient civilizations of the Middle East where a progressive and highly advance set of empires and people, making large strides in the studies of mathematics, astronomy, and architecture. Many of these contributions have had a phenomenal affect on the modern world, including their ancient stories that have influenced the structure and tone of a wide range of stories throughout Western civilizations, from King Arthur and the Nights of the Round Table to Loony Tunes. Many of the more influential stories from the area were collected within the famous book 1001 Arabian Nights, a series of tales and legends of ancient Persia, ranging from epic adventure tales to short comedies told around the central focus of a young woman named Scheherazade attempting to quell the rage of a wronged king and save the woman of his kingdom. A selection of these tales, as well as the story of Scheherazade and the king is the focus of The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater’s first combined effort Arabian Nights; a grandly staged yet minimal production of classic tales of adventure, morality, and humor. Continue reading

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Nov 19

The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet

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James Milord - Oshoosi Size Part 2: The Brothers Size; Photo Credit: Company One

The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet by Tarrell Alvin McCraney,  Company OnePlaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 11/10/11-12/3/11, In repertory with In The Red And Brown Waterhttp://www.companyone.org/Season13/Brother_Sister_Plays/synopsis.shtml.  Contains strong sexual content and some graphic language.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) It was once said by the great American musician Miles Davis, “it’s not the notes you play; it’s the ones you don’t play.” While he was using the phrase to sum up the art of preforming jazz music, the saying resonates a sort of “less is more” mentality that is palpable to every form of art. From the Hemingway’s seven word classic “Baby Shoes” to sculptor Tony Smith’s famous block works, minimalism can be both a necessity when resources are scarce and an inspiring self-induced boundary to work within. In the world of theatre, its idea has been stretched from one man plays and single set pieces to improvised comedy and flash mob acts. Possibly one of the best examples of minimalism in theater today can be found in Tarell McCraney’s The Brother/Sisters Plays, a trilogy spanning the story of three separate generations living in the bayous of Louisiana, all told with minimal set pieces and eight actors playing characters in three separate moments in time connected through kin. While part one of the trilogy In The Red and Brown Water is a full length play, parts two and three, The Brother Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet are shorter works, shown in tandem in order to wrap up the series arc. Continue reading

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Nov 11

The River Was Whiskey: Tension for the Senses

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Joe Lily, Nettie and Arlo (Alex Pollock, Sarah Newhouse and Kendra Jackson)

The River Was Whiskey by Will Fancher, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 10/27/11-11/20/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.  Contains mature themes, mature language,  and violent images.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There has been an ongoing moral debate since man was first able to form laws on what the fate of the guilty should be. One school of thought is that redemption is available through either the forgiveness of a higher power or acts of contrition. Then there are those who believe that there must be a punishment for every crime and that an eye for an eye is the only way to balance the damage done. There is possibly no greater example of this dichotomy of thought than Old and New Testaments of The Bible. While the New Testament speaks of forgiveness for all sins through the following of Jesus, The Old Testament is filled with the wicked being punished by a vengeful spirit for their transgressions. This backdrop of faith and fear is the foundation of the Will Fancher play The River Was Whiskey. Continue reading

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Oct 30

This Verse Business: The Road Less Traveled Of Frost’s Poetry

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Gordon Clapp as Robert Frost. Photo by Meghan Moore.

This Verse Business by A.M. Dolan, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 10/20/11-11/13/11,  http://www.merrimackrep.org/season/show.aspx?sid=101.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Lowell, MA)  There is an inherent problem in the study of classic poetry. Most of what is deemed worthwhile to scholars are works that tend to be genre defying and broke the conventions of the times they were written in. However, when a poet’s collection becomes so widely revered, scholars tend to set them as the new template for the system that the writer had originally broken through. This leads to the poems losing much of their edge and therefore becoming mundane to modern audiences. There is possibly no bigger victim of this “catch-22″ than west coast born, New England based poet Robert Frost, and there is possibly no better cure for this academic sickness than a play like This Verse Business. Continue reading

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Oct 03

The Farm: Paranoia and Uncertainty

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Photo Credit: Boston Playwrights' Theatre

The Farm by Walt McGough, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 9/29/11-10/23/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There is a very particular fear that runs through our country these days, unique to the new century. The threat of fascist world conquerors and nuclear holocaust has been stripped away for a much more mundane, yet equally terrifying threat. Extremist mass murders, with no concept of mercy or fear of death, dressed as everyday citizens are what our new public eye has focused on as the danger of our time. A danger that has caused many everyday citizens to rethink the people they see on the street as potential threats to their lives and national security. It is that paranoia, honed into a profession view point, that makes up the mind set of special agents of the C.I.A along with other bodies of authority, whose job it is to make the life and death decisions every day between who is an enemy and who is a civilian. So enters the mind set of Special Agent Finn, the central focus of Walt McGough’s The Farm. Continue reading

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