Mar 10

A Very Bardy Soap Opera: BREAKING THE SHAKESPEARE CODE

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Photo by Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo

Presented by Vagabond Theatre Group
by John Minigan
Directed by James Peter Sotis

March 6th – 15, 2014
The Factory Theatre

791 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Vagabond Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(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

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Jun 30

When a Cigar is Everything: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

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presented by Wax Wings Productions
by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Vicki Schairer

@ the Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 27th – July 7th, 2013
Wax Wings Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Over time, A Streetcar Named Desire has become like that favorite album you skip over in shuffle to keep special. Oft quoted but performed less and less, it sits on the shelf of American theatre and gathers dust and pious weight until some community theatre takes it down and puts on an ill-advised, chest-beating version down in a church basement. That’s partly because it can seem such a dated portrait of overt sexual politics, something that would fit Michelle Bachman’s view of marriage and gay cures, perhaps, but with little relevance in a blue state. Continue reading

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Jul 21

True Believers: Attempting a Tribute to Nerd Culture

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photo credit: Vagabond Theatre Group

True Believers by Thom Dunn, Vagabond Theatre Group, The Factory Theatre, 7/12/12-7/21/12, http://vagabondtheatregroup.wordpress.com/.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) San Diego Comic-Con is less a comic book convention than a blown up Hollywood cousin of the original concept.  I both loved and feared it when I attended last year.  It’s a beautiful, strange mess of a con, bloated with action movie advertisements, cameras from SPIKE and BBCA, and hundred dollar t-shirts.  While still a sort of haven for those obsessed with action figures and trade comics, its proximity to tinsel town has turned it into an exciting, stressful hype machine.

Vagabond Theatre Group’s production, True Believers, does an excellent job in distilling this over-saturation. Continue reading

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Jun 11

Happy Medium Theatre’s The American Plan

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The American Plan by Richard Greenberg, Happy Medium Theatre Company, Factory Theatre, 6/8/12-6/16/12, http://www.happymediumtheatre.com/.

Feature by Gillian Daniels

Happy Medium Theatre’s The American Plan starts off light.

Set during an early-1960’s summer, a young couple meet cute and begin a hesitant courtship near a resort in the Catskill Mountains.  The first act sets up initially simple obstacles, mysterious pasts and disapproving parents.  By the second act, the play finally bears its teeth, revealing far more bile for the age than its nostalgic exterior would suggest. Continue reading

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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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May 03

Geeks Nerds and Artists Episode 5: Meg Taintor

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Episode 5:  Geeks, Nerds & Artists Podcast:  Meg Taintor, Artistic Director of Whistler in the Dark Theatre

http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/

Trojan Women:  May 18- June 2 at the Factory Theatre in Boston

Meg Taintor is the founding Artistic Director of Whistler in the Dark Theatre, for whom she has directed 13 productions. Also for Whistler, Meg produced three years of FeverFest, a new works festival dedicated to connecting adventurous audiences with young and vital theatre companies and artists in Boston. Meg has also directed for Mill6 Theatre and New Voices @ New Rep.

In 2009, Meg joined with other artists working in the small and fringe theatre scene to form the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston, where served for two years as President of the Board. She is now Chair of the Alliance Events Committee and a member of the Board for StageSource. Meg believes passionately in the necessity for a strong community of local artists supporting and challenging itself to do better and more exciting work.

Her regional theatre credits include the National Players, Rorschach Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, the Potomac Theatre Project and Washington Shakespeare Company. She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Women & Gender Studies from Middlebury College. (profile from website)

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Apr 05

On Ego: A Bundle of Questions

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On Ego by Mick Gordon (playwright) and Paul Broks (neuroscientist), Science Fiction Theatre Company, Factory Theatre, 3/30/12-4/15/12, http://www.sciencefictiontheatrecompany.com/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Quantum Leap and Star Trek have enticed us with the possibility of travelling through time and space through a transporter of some sort.  When I used to work an hour and a half away from my home, I longed for a teleportation device that would transport me home in the blink of an eye.

But while the fiction is intriguing, the science leaves a lot of mystery and questions before we take that leap. Continue reading

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Mar 15

The Play About The Baby – Or Is It?

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Lynn R. Guerra (Girl), Janelle Mills (Woman), Bob Mussett (Man), Zachary Eisenstat (Boy). Photo Credit: Alison Naturale

The Play About The Baby by Edward Albee, Exquisite Corps Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 3/7/12-3/31/12, http://www.exquisitecorps.org/.  Contains nudity.

(Boston, MA) Innocence and responsibility intertwine with reality and absurdity in Exquisite Corps Theatre’s production of The Play About The Baby.  A young couple, known only as boy and girl, explore their relationship as they bring new life into the world.  Through wicked twists and turns the couple spend their time trying to be intimate while they are constantly interrupted, first by the baby and then by a man and woman who act as a cross between social anthropologists and time-share sales people (although no time-shares were sold in the making of this play). Continue reading

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Mar 11

Making a Point with a 2 x 4: RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS

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Recent Tragic Events by Craig Wright, Whistler in the Dark, The Factory Theatre, 3/9/12-3/24/12, http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/productions/recenttragicevents.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) The subject of free will vs. determinism is a fun one to debate, a question that has been the bane of my ex-father-in-law’s existence for decades.  It also has been well-covered in theatre and movies, including in the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  As this multi-leveled play proves, a play that argues a point must balance storytelling with its agenda to be successful.

Unfortunately, the fine storytelling and performances of Whistler in the Dark’s Recent Tragic Events is marred by gimmicks to drive home the idea that our lives are predestined.  The gimmickry, from a sock puppet stand-in for Joyce Carol Oates to some shenanigans that mess with the borders of the play, would be doubly frustrating if it weren’t for the delivery of one of the best acting performances of the year by lead actor Aimee Rose Ranger. Continue reading

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Jan 25

FEN: In Between Living and Breathing

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Fen by Caryl Churchill, Whistler in the Dark, The Factory Theatre, 1/20/12-2/4/12, (in repertory with A Number by Caryl Churchill),  http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/productions/wantedsomething.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) A lone girl sits amongst the dirt and potatoes of this agrarian society trying to chase away birds until she can try no more.  Striving for more than mere existence in a world controlled by tradition and an inflexible economy often seems futile in the Fenland.  Whistler In The Dark compels the audience to exist and hope with the characters for something more.

As the women in the play sing various choruses to songs, one is struck by the pure beauty in these women in this desolate place.  One also struggles with the evisceration of these women as they give their lives and their souls to the land.  With the assistance of Danny Bryck and an enormous amount of concentration, the actors speak with the flawless dialect of the British countryside.  Each cast member plays multiple characters in this dark landscape.  The main plot revolves around Val (Aimee Rose Ranger) who is trapped between her obligation to take care of her children and a desire for a better life in London with her lover.  She takes no solace in the vices of the other local folk such as valium, religion, dreams, or masochism as she is constantly pulled in both directions.  The one direction that she would want to go in, to London and a new life seems millions of miles away.

Continue reading

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