The Nina Variations is a strange little nugget of show presented for the approval of Anton Chekhov devotees. The plot re-imagines the last scene of The Seagull 42 different ways. It manifests on stage all possible and impossible permutations of the final scene. Three different actresses playing Nina and one actor as Boris Trigorin examine all aspects of the couple’s “love story” (Is this how people in love treat each other? Really? Ok, fine.). The result is a live fanfiction demonstration wrapped in a buttery layer of honed acting technique. Continue reading →
(Somerville) Comedies, especially those that depend on references contemporary to when they’re written, don’t often age well. Plays survive on the universal quality of their themes, like mortality, revenge, and hope, most of which belong to the sphere of drama. For a long shelf life, they must be built on ideas that resonate down the ages. It certainly says something about the nature of humor that Lysistrata, produced in 411 B.C.E. and one of Aristophanes few surviving plays, continues to be well remembered and celebrated for its bawdiness. Continue reading →
(Somerville) Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way is a musical revue that’s less about the Irish than what goes into being Irish American. Lots of drinking and tragic songs, it says. The fare is light, airy, and mainly interested in adding to the mystique of the Emerald Isle.
The Irish and How They Got That Way is infectious in its charm. It’s funny, sweet, and, at least for the first half of the show, sad. Stirring versions of “Danny Boy,” “Fields of Athenry,” and “Mrs. McGrath” can be difficult to endure without a twinge of feeling. The show never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, though, with a cast all too happy to lapse into “Give My Regards to Broadway” as well as the comic, “Finnegan’s Wake.” Storytelling and scraps of history keep the action moving between numbers. Continue reading →
(Somerville) Because Shakespeare has become the standard by which Western theatre is judged, we often forget that the man first had to feel his way in the dark, just like every other art school wannabe. Two Gentlemen of Verona, believed by some to be the Bard’s first play, shows frustrating snatches of his future brilliance. All his trademark comedic pieces are there (cross-dressing women, inconstant lovers and the amazing power of the wilderness to right all wrongs), but this script reads like the man was working on deadline. Themes are picked up and discarded, wordplay only sporadically catches fire and a plot point in the final act makes you want to bang Shakespeare’s head against the floorboards and scream, “Rewrite!” Continue reading →
Suggested Donation $5 – General Admission – No reservations required
Julie is on the verge of a breakdown. She loves her children but feels the need for a change. Her husband is abusive and she wants to be more than just a wife and mother. Her friend Claire’s life isn’t much better and they struggle through their difficulties. Julie grows as she takes computer classes, which uproots not only her own life but the lives of the people around her.
Please note: This performance contains adult language and volatile domestic scenes.
The Director: Becca Kidwell has directed ten plays so far with her favorites being: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Marla’s Devotion. She has worked in almost every aspect of theatre in the past eighteen years. Most recently she served as an assistant stage manager for Happy Medium Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. She was nominated for an EMACT award for best props design for Walpole Footlighters. She thanks her husband and in-laws for their constant and unwavering love and support.
(Somerville) The Boston Babydolls are out for an immersive burlesque experience. The striptease doesn’t begin when the women take the stage but when the audience find the door.
Theater-goers are greeted by a street musician at the mouth of a misty alleyway and directed to the stairs. There, they may be met by Herr Bücher (Scratch, narrator and director) who is dressed with all the subtlety of Alice Cooper. Which ever guide is doing the greeting, one will be directed down the stairs to The Wrathskellar. Continue reading →
Performances: Friday, September 14 – Saturday, September 22 Unity Somerville, 6 William Street at College Ave.
TICKETS – $15 for adults, $12 for students/seniors. Group discounts available.
Review by Gillian Daniels
(Somerville) When the stakes grow to dizzying heights, Theatre@First’s production of Bent has the power to draw its audience as tightly as a bowstring. The air crackles expectantly as viewers wait for the other shoe to drop. As its characters are fenced in with barbed wire and SS guards, they are left with nothing but the hope that things can’t get any worse. It certainly will, especially when that backdrop is the Holocaust and the principal characters are homosexual. Continue reading →
(Somerville, MA) Julien Schwab takes the idea of a play within a play to a new level. Exploring drama and its tools, rogerandtom pulls, tears, twists, and turns its melodramatic plot cleverly until its end. Continue reading →
(Somerville, MA) Elizabeth Hunter adapts, directs, and brings an enormously funny Pride and Prejudice to the stage. Longtime Austen-fans should rejoice at their good fortune. The thorough play is probably closest to my own imagining of the classic 1813 novel.
The book is a smart satire of the husband-hunting rat race that young women engaged in during the Georgian Era when inheritances were more likely to pass to sons. Continue reading →
(Somerville, MA) It’s one thing for a young theater troupe to be ambitious, but it’s something else to watch the troupe succeed in its ambition.
In its early history, the Actors’ Shakespeare Project has decided to skip the low-hanging fruit of the Bard’s body of work and reach for some of his more obscure works. (Hands up for anyone who knows a single line from Troilus and Cressida, which the troupe performs in the spring.) Continue reading →