Melanie Garber has a dancer’s sensibility of direction with Heart & Dagger Productions’ A Dream Play, but this is not a surprise. She has shown this intricate direction in Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s Medea, Fresh Ink Theatre Company’s Priscilla Dreams The Answer, and Heart & Dagger’s Crave. Not only does Ms. Garber make words come alive, but she also brings life to words. From the initial moments of each of the productions, she chooses specific, distinct movements that create the environment of the play. Continue reading →
Ben Stiller as Artie, Edie Falco as Bananas, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bunny. Photo by Joan Marcus
Reviewed by Becca Kidwell
Like Jay Gatsby, the characters of The House of the Blue Leaves long for love and notoriety. But also like Jay Gatsby, their shallow dreams are based upon delusions. David Cromer’s revival uncovers all the darkness and pain hidden in the recesses of a middle class home into the light of day with laughter and cruelty.
Scott Pask’s institution-like set provides the perfect environment for an evening of madness. But who mad? The housewife who feels that she is nothing more than the humiliating joke of celebrity? The zookeeper who dreams of becoming a successful movie songwriter? Or perhaps it’s the nuns? Continue reading →
Freudian analysis? A dream of Dali? Too much spicy food? These are questions the audience might ask while watching Hysteria. Using the real meeting between Freud and Dali as a starting point, Johnson’s play moves from farce to surrealism to nothingness. The Nora Theatre Company makes this strange journey palatable and pleasurable and masks the flaws of the script.
The exaggerated perspective of the set, Freud’s study, immediately tells the audience that something peculiar is going to happen. As the play unfolds, Janie E. Howland’s surrealistic set design matches the frenetic energy that is sent forth from the actors. No one questions the absurdity of the situations that take place because the cast commit fully to the roles that they play. Richard Sneed, as Freud, tries to hold the world together as it keeps trying to spiral out-of-control. His warm-fatherly nature combined with Freud’s philosophies moves the audience from sympathy for a dying man to anger at an intractable man that will not even admit the possibility that he might have erred. Continue reading →