Jul 29

Losing to Win: LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST

The players. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

The players. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

By William Shakespeare
Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Directed by Steven Maler

July 20 – August 7, 2016
Boston Common
Boston, MA
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Every year, I find a way to haul myself out to the Common to see Boston’s free Shakespeare under the stars.  Every year, I find something to like about the performance (even if some years it’s just the signature Ben & Jerry’s sundae which, by the way, is once again delicious).  This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t have to dig deep to find something to like.  CSC’s 2016 production of Love’s Labour’s Lost is not one to be missing; it’s easily the best production I’ve seen CSC put up since my move to Boston in 2011. Continue reading

Jun 19

“Twelfth Night” and “What You Will”: A Play Two Ways

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Bedlam
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Tucker

Twelfth Night: June 9-July 10, 2016
What You Will: June10-July 9, 2016
Central Square Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Bedlam on Facebook
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During my senior year of high school, being the drama club geek that I was, I took a Shakespeare class. The professor was insane, but amazing, and the biggest takeaway I got from the class was that Shakespeare really wanted to give the players in a show the right to manipulate and interpret his text as much as possible. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that Bedlam decided to split Twelfth Night, or What You Will into two separate productions of the same exact show using the same five actors to tell the same story with different narratives and tones. Continue reading

Jun 06

Beyond the Bard: “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)”

WRTDesJul

Photo back to front: Victoria George, Lily Odekirk, Marta Rainer* AEA*

Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre
Written by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Directed by Nora Hussey

May 26 – June 26
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesley, MA
WRT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Wellesley, MA) Having just recently completed my own Doctorate in Shakespeare, I can relate deeply to the struggles of Constance Ledbelly, the heroine of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).  To those who spend any amount of time studying Shakespeare’s works, the bard’s characters become constant companions; roommates, lovers, friends; nearly corporeal in their presence in our lives.  They haunt us; whispering echoes of themselves on loop day and night; and sometimes (if we are very lucky) revealing secrets of themselves only to us.  These secrets we prize at a worth beyond compare for they are the true goal of such study. Continue reading

Mar 03

“Richard II”: Spoiled Man-Boy King Destroys Himself in Simple Production

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

Feb. 17-March 13, 2016
Cambridge YMCA
Cambridge, MA
ASP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Richard II is not about a Danish prince languishing over a ghost’s warnings or an elderly king like Lear, mad with grief due to age and family strife. No, this is a story about the abuses of power and a complex man who both understands why he must give up his throne but is honest enough to admit to himself that he just really, really doesn’t want to. Continue reading

Jan 21

Remixed: “Twelfth Night”


Presented by Filter Theatre Company in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sean Holmes
Music and Songs by Tom Haines and Ross Hughes
Presented at ArtsEmerson

January 20 – 30, 2016
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111
Filter Theatre Company on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s start here: this ain’t your mama’s Twelfth Night. Continue reading

Nov 15

Dreaming the Dream: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Presented by the Isango Ensemble
Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arrangement by Mandisi Dyantyis
Music Directored by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis
Choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana

Presented at ArtsEmerson
November 10 – 22, 2015
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont street, Boston
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Isango Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I don’t know about you, but A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of those shows that I’ve seen so often it’s nearly lost all meaning. It might be a professional hazard: as a Shakespearean dramaturge/actor/fight director/scholar, Midsummer pops onto my project radar so frequently in so many different settings: it’s a favorite of high school drama clubs, regional Shakespeare theatres, and any company looking to do “Shakespeare with a twist”. Midsummer lends itself well to many different interpretations, and has enough zany, wacky antics to support a multitude of artistic styles and choices. Continue reading

Oct 14

“Shit-Faced Shakespeare” Two: Return of the PBR

Photo: Studio Nouveau

Photo: Studio Nouveau

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Based on the play by William Shakespeare

Now through Dec. 30, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) After thoroughly enjoying Magnificent Bastard’s original UK cast in what was supposedly a limited Boston run (you can read my review of that show here), I eagerly awaited my chance to see the brand new addition to the Shit-Faced Shakespeare family.  You see, after the original UK ensemble hopped back across the pond, a Boston group took up the torch for Shit-faced Shakespeare, and has been carrying the Midsummer Night’s Dream banner ever since.  Recently, they announced two exciting additions to the company: a new space (Midsummer has moved to Laugh Boston), and a new play: Much Ado About Nothing. Continue reading

Aug 28

Genre-Flexible “Winter’s Tale” Becomes a Summer Fantasia in Nathan Tufts Park

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Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

August 14-30, 2015
Nathan Tufts Park (aka Powderhouse Park) in Somerville, MA
BRING A BLANKET and/or LAWN CHAIRS
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Maiden Phoenix gamely takes on one of the strangest of Shakespeare’s late period work. In the style of King Lear, Leontes (Juliet Bowler) comes to distrust his loved ones to the horror of his court. His queen, Hermione (Cassandra Meyer), is accused of adultery, their son, Mamillius (a hilariously bro-y Caroline Rose Markham), is separated from his mother, and a baby is abandoned on a hillside to be devoured by the wild. Then, suddenly, when a man “exits” the stage pursued by bears, the story transforms. The Winter’s Tale leaves aside its devastating tragedy and the king’s “too hot, too hot” anger in favor of a pastoral comedy. From this point on, the story flows together like a series of dreams. This peculiar shift suits not only more optimistic fare but the theatre group’s choice of setting, a green, fairy tale-like staging in Nathan Tufts Park. Continue reading

Aug 04

Come for the Shakespeare, Stay for the Ice Cream: KING LEAR

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler

July 22 – August 9, 2015
FREE and Open to the Public
Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

ASL-Interpreted Performances: Friday, July 31 @ 8pm and Sunday, August 2 @ 7pm
Audio Described Performance: July 30 @ 8pm (Rain date: August 9 at 7pm)

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Before I even get into nitty gritties, let me take a moment to marvel at the fact that Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has brought free Shakespeare to the masses for almost two decades now.  Nothing really says “summer” like Shakespeare al fresco, and Shakespeare on the Common is the way the arts should be: available, relatable, and welcoming.  I was particularly excited this year to witness (for my first time) CSC’s ASL interpreted performance; and those interpreters were working just as hard as (if not harder than) the performers onstage.  Shakespeare on the Common feels like a community coming together to support arts that include them; and that touches even my grinchy critic’s heart more than I can say. Continue reading

Apr 16

Scaping the Serpent’s Tongue: “Shit-Faced Shakespeare”

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Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Photo care of Magnificent Bastard Productions

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Produced by Gabriel Kuttner and Daniel Berger-Jones in association with Cambridge Historical Tours

April 15 – May 1, 2015
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street Somerville
Magnificent Bastards on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville, MA) Everybody’s got that one friend. That friend who goes to a party (…or the bar, or any function where booze is readily available), has a bit too much, turns absolutely hilarious, but then the real conundrum begins: who is going to take care of “that friend”? John did it last time (to great disaster for the interior of John’s car); Sally isn’t much of a caregiver and would probably have “that friend” weeping openly on the floor of the bathroom in about ten minutes flat; and Bob doesn’t care for “that friend”. That just leaves you. Congratulations, you’ve now been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of this adult/child because “that friend” (as usual) couldn’t be bothered to know their own limits (despite the fact that you’ve been out of college for ten years now and shouldn’t “that friend” know better?). Suddenly, what was once a fun and exciting party is a tiresome (and stressful) burden. Continue reading