(Somerville) So, weird thing about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, it makes Beckett slightly more palatable and Shakespeare slightly less.
Stoppard’s play riffing on Beckett’s infamous Waiting for Godot is, on the surface, a glance at what’s going on behind the wings during the course of the greatest play ever written in the English language. If we begin to look at life as Stoppard’s head tragedian does (that is a world in which every exit is an entrance somewhere else), we begin to see how this Hamlet fan-fic took shape. Take Gogo and Didi, slap them into some verse poetry, give them tabards and a letter to the English King and wha-bam; there’s Stoppard’s piece. Continue reading →
(Boston) I went into this show knowing one thing: given the subject matter and my background, I was either going to hate it or love it. There would be no in between.
I was mostly right. I hated some things, and loved others. Let’s go through these items one line at a time, shall we?
Let’s start with the writing: Minigan is definitely writing for Boston. Much like it’s hard to imagine Avenue Q played anywhere but New York, I have a hard time imaging that audiences in other parts of the country would connect to this show in the same way as Bostonians. This is doubly odd given that the show premiered at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival and continued on to the Utah Shakespeare Festival where, presumably, it did well enough that it’s back in Boston now. The dialogue is expertly put together, and it held me in a way that most contemporary pieces don’t (…and not just because it had a passing relationship with my man Will). My one fault with the piece was this: I left wondering “why?” Why did I just see this? Why did we go on this journey? What was beneath this tale? I felt like the story was too profound not to have a readily discernable crux; but I just couldn’t understand what that crux was. Continue reading →
(Boston) As much as I love my Willy (and, trust me, there’s no girl in the world who loves Willy more than I do), Midsummer has always been a problematic play for me.
It’s not the language; this play is simply beautiful linguistically with enough famous speeches to keep a casual listener engaged but not so much that it begins to feel like Hamlet (bopping from one pop culture soliloquy to another with nary a breath in between). This play has more rhyming couplets than you can shake a stick at; and natural imagery that can lull even a colicky infant into the show’s titular pleasant reverie. Continue reading →
Whew! Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Welcome to the Epic Conclusion of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14. Over three days, I have attended and reviewed three different American Shakespeare remixes. Tonight’s grand finale: Romeo Juliet presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.
(Cambridge) Let’s start here: this is probably best titled a “remix” of Shakespeare’s play rather than a straight-up performance or adaptation. Sean Graney took the original text, cut it, cropped it, zoomed in on some things, and re-arranged everything else to befit the story he wanted to tell. And, as I said in my review of 12 Nights, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that treatment. As an audience member, you should just be aware that you’re not going to be seeing Shakespeare on this stage; you’re going to be seeing work inspired by a timeless story. As such, I think familiarity with the source text is a must. I definitely saw plenty of kids in the audience, but I wasn’t certain that this was the best vehicle for introducing our well-known story to them. The story itself, in this form, felt rushed and improbable; like Graney was trying to slot too many elements into his slim sixty-minute time window. There were moments that even I barely followed (and that’s saying something). Continue reading →
Welcome back dear readers! I am reporting to you from day two of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14. Over three days, I will attend and review three different American Shakespeare remixes. Tonight’s Oreo filling show: 12 Nights presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon. Stop back later this week to catch the stunning conclusion of this Epic Shakes-Series.
(Cambridge)Watch out, Boston; The Hypocrites are back in town.
After their stunning production of The Pirates of Penzance (first performed at Oberon in June 2012, then again on the A.R.T. main stage this past May), I had high expectations for 12 Nights. The Hypocrites excel at high-octane performance which engages and illuminates for audiences who might otherwise have given this style of theatre a miss. As such, I thought that Shakespeare was a perfect fit for this Chicago-based company. What better way to interest people in the Bard than to introduce them at a Hypocritical party. Continue reading →
Hello dear readers; I am reporting to you from the front lines of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14. Over the next three days, I will be attending three different American Shakespeare remixes and reviewing them right here just for you. First up: Chicago’s Improvised Shakespeare Company. Stop back later this week to catch the rest of this Epic Shakes-Series.
(Cambridge) I have wanted to see the Improvised Shakespeare Company in performance for years. Years. They’ve fallen on and off my radar several times since I first discovered their existence and, despite my living in veritable theatre Meccas for the entirety of my earthly existence, I’ve not yet had a chance to catch their show. Continue reading →
(Watertown) Some projects require a special touch. There are, for instance, people who implicitly understand Musicals. The musical form requires things that other theatre does not: an eye for choreography, an ear for music, an interest in balancing ham and legitimate acting…
Directing Shakespeare is a very specific task that requires a very specific skillset: an ear for rhetoric, an understanding of verse, a knowledge of history, an eye for embedded stage directions… F.U.D.G.E.’s Joey DeMita has none of these skills. Continue reading →
(Boston) We are so insane for love that we co-opt works of art that vilify love and turn them into romantic propaganda. It happens with every generation. I grew up with The Police song “Every Breath You Take” as the best love song of 1983, even though it was clearly about a stalker
Romeo and Juliet has become a stand-in for romance, so much so that Bugs Bunny and Pepe LePew could do the balcony scene and 4-year-olds would get the joke. But while any college freshman with a dye job can enjoy the irony that this iconically romantic story could easily be considered a black comedy, few theatre companies can stage “R + J” productions that can cut through the “Will U Be Mine” ethos we smear on the play. Continue reading →
Aug. 23 – Sept. 1, 2013
Children Wharf’s Park, outside the Boston Children’s Museum
Brown Box Theatre Project on Facebook
Can’t attend these performances in Boston? You’re in luck! Following their Boston performances, the Brown Box cast and crew will pack up their set and continue their tour on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware.
Review by Gillian Daniels
The last production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I saw before Brown Box Theatre’s was The DonkeyShow at the Oberon. Where the Oberon’s version was a show infused with drugs, sex, the excesses of 1970’s disco culture, and go-go dancer boys with body glitter, Brown Box Theatre fills its show with the excesses of Elizabethan fairies and water basins liberally placed around its stage. The long-running Donkey Show may be the toast of Cambridge, but Brown Box Theatre has captured a more vibrant energy in its traditional telling. Continue reading →
“Two Gents” tells the tale of two friends who leave their hometown of Verona to find their happy fortunes in Milan. Instead, they find temptation, trickery, and trouble as they vie for favor with the high-society Duke… and his debutante daughter. All are drawn into a web of disguise and secrecy where the last thing anyone wants is for the truth to surface — least of all the dog.
Inspired by Rat Pack-era Vegas — the glamor, the hedonism, and the morning after agonies — the production brings new meaning to the line “what happens in Milan, stays in Milan…”
SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS:
JULY 18TH: AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE
JULY 21ST: ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE
JULY 26TH: “FAMILY DAY” AND “FREE FUN FRIDAY”
JULY 27TH @ 2PM: ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE