Jun 16

The Smartest Play in Town: SMART PEOPLE

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Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by the Huntington Theatre
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Peter DuBois

June 25th – July 6th, 2014
Calderwood Pavelion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) How we view race defines us, but we often don’t like to examine how we view race, at least not directly. To write well about race in America requires both a deep understanding of society and a deeper self-examination of one’s own feelings to sort out fact from feeling, and to know when to use both to create an artistic vision. Successful attempts to write well in fiction about this dicey subject are rare; most either skitter across the surface or descend into lecture. Continue reading

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Oct 29

Faith, Failure, and “The Power of Duff”

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http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5514/10409042345_7fec65ecea.jpg?wmode=transparent

Photo: T.Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Stephen Belber
Directed by Peter DuBois

October 23 – November 16, 2013
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) In a television studio’s newsroom, sentiment is well known. It’s strange that The Power of Duff’s main conceit is that news anchor Charles Duff (the excellent David Wilson Barnes) scandalizes a nation by praying on air at the end of the show’s broadcast. While the reactions to Duff’s sermons are difficult to swallow, especially in the play’s first half, it’s fascinating to watch the everyday lives of these characters unravel as they reach out to connect with one another. Continue reading

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Jun 10

And the Green Grass Grows All Around: RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN

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photo: T. Charles Erickson

presented by Huntington Theatre Company
by Gina Gionfriddo
directed by Peter DuBois

South End Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
May 24th – June 22nd, 2013
Huntington Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

A bunch of middle-aged folks had an academic argument about feminism and a great play broke out! Rapture, Blister, Burn, an insightful and barbed comedy about post-feminist uncertainty, is the rare play that immerses itself in theory and still makes us care. Continue reading

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Jan 14

“The Invisible Man” and the American Nightmare

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Photo credit: Astrid Reiken

Photo credit: Astrid Reiken

 

presented by Huntington Theatre Company

written by Ralph Ellison
adapted by Oren Jacoby
directed by Christopher McElroen

264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Jan 4 – Feb 3, 2013
Huntington Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) From Ralph Ellison’s original novel, I mainly remember a giddy fury. The anger sears through the plot, spiraling off the pages in righteous, self-aware smoke. It’s humorous in a sad sort of way. In the slanted world Ellison describes, there are people and then there are black people. For the most part, the main character tells the audience, the latter is invisible in contemporary America. Continue reading

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Nov 19

Captors Connects Too Many Dots

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Louis Cancelmi and Michael Cristofer in Evan M. Wiener’s CAPTORS. November 11 through December 11 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Captors by Evan M. Wiener, Huntington Theatre Company, 11/11/11-12/11/11,  http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10179&src=t.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) Writing is as much about what is not said as what is said.  A playwright must learn to leave space for the audience to fill in the blanks.

Every writer at some point succumbs to excessive explanation to make sure everyone gets it.  Continue reading

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Apr 15

SONS OF THE PROPHET: On Brilliance

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Yusef Bulos (Bill), Kelsey Kurz (Joseph), and Dan McCabe (Charles) in the Huntington Theatre Company’s SONS OF THE PROPHET by Stephen Karam, directed by Peter DuBois. Playing 4/1/11 – 5/1/11 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo by Paul Marotta.

Sons of the Prophet by Stephen Karam, Huntington Theatre Company, 4/1/11-5/1/11, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=8754.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“Happiness does not await us all.  One needn’t be a prophet to say that there will be more grief and pain than serenity and money.  That is why we must hang on to one another.” Anton Chekov qtd. by Stephen Karam in the program.

If Roundabout Theatre Company and the Huntington Theatre Company takes Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet to Broadway next year, in June 2012 we will likely hear, “and the Tony Award for best play goes to…Sons of the Prophet.” Taking the seemingly sombre subject of pain, Karam has written a comic masterpiece.  Add to that the talented cast, direction, and set design and the result is a fast-paced night of laughter and poignancy that should not be missed.

A deer walks into a theatre…well, it doesn’t really walk..and it’s not really a deer…    And the audience hears a car crash.  Those who came from or have family from the Poconos area of Pennsylvania don’t have to question what has happened;  Car accidents with deer are common, but…a deer decoy?  We meet Joseph Douaihly, played by Kelsey Kurz, whose father was the victim of the high-school prank that went terribly wrong–and this is only another blow in a devastating year for the Douaihly family.  Joseph has physical pain that the doctors cannot diagnose; he works for a lonely, manic woman that uses his need for health insurance as leverage to try to get Joseph to write a memoir based on his distant relation to Kahlil Gibran.  When their father does not survive the accident, the Douaihly’s ailing uncle (played by Yusef Bulos) moves in with the Joseph and his brother Charles (played by Dan McCabe).   In addition, the boy who pulled the prank might be allowed to play football in his school’s playoff games prior to going to the juvenile detention center for his crime.  Hilarious, right?  –You have no idea. Continue reading

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Nov 22

The Religion of Family

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Vengeance is the Lord’s by Bob Glaudini, WORLD PREMIERE, Huntington Theatre Company, 11/12/10-12/12/10.  http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=8511

Larry Pine (Mathew Horvath) and Karl Baker Olsen (Donald Horvath) in Vengeance Is The Lord's, by Bob Glaudini, directed by Peter DuBois. Photo by T Charles Erickson

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“Honor thy father and mother” is the first and only commandment in the Horvath family.  In Vengeance Is The Lord’s, the Horvath family sticks together, supports each other—in all endeavors—but to what end?  The play starts out with a normal family Thanksgiving scene; the father starts by telling about his need to turn someone in who stole a car and the mother talks about forgiveness for Myers, their daughter’s killer.  As the story unfolds, however, the veneer is lifted to reveal not only hypocrisy but also an active crime family.  The audience and the youngest son Donny begin to question what justice means and how far love and loyalty should extend within a family.

The set by Eugene Lee provides a “gilded cage” for the Horvaths.  The house looks like any normal suburban household—with one exception—Cheryl’s room.  While it seems like any other bedroom in any other house, this bedroom haunts the Horvath family.  Along with the Horvath family, the audience is constantly reminded of the empty room and Cheryl’s horrific murder as the house spins on a turntable.  The effect of the turntable mirrors the family’s discontent; when they slow down or stop, the family ends up confronting problems that they would rather ignore.   The lighting design by Japhy Weideman, the sound design by Ben Emerson, and the original music by David Van Tieghem add to the tense domestic scene.

The actors form a cohesive family unit.  Roberta Wallach stands firm as the matriarch of the Horvath family, Margaret.  Wallach creates a woman who lives in pain, but who is strong and relatively self-sufficient; however, as the play progresses and the emotional pain becomes too much to bear, the character gives in to the physical operation.  Wallach reveals through this concession that Margaret has deferred some of her resolve to Matthew and Woody. Continue reading

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