Sep 29

Full of Cozenage: COMEDY OF ERRORS

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Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Photo courtesy Stratton McCrady Photography

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David R. Gammons

September 24 – October 19, 2014
Brighton High School
26 Warren St. Brighton, MA
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Brighton, MA) Life is a circus, my friends, and if that’s clear anywhere it’s clear in ASP’s Comedy of Errors. David R. Gammons gives us a Comedy within the frame of a has-been circus. As you walk into the theatre, you find the stage already teeming with life: a cast of rag-tag and second-rate clowns struggles to prepare for their show. I, for one, was curious as to why one of the only professional Shakespeare companies in Boston was performing in a High School auditorium. At least, until I walked into the high school auditorium. The space perfectly suits Gammons’ concept as it looks like the ruins of a once-grand theatre. Stripped to its studs, there is no veneer of illusion in Comedy; just bare-bones performance. Continue reading

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Aug 29

Thunder, Lightening, and Rain: MACBETH

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Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

A play by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyle Taustin
Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project

August 22 – 31, 2014
Various outdoor venues around Boston

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Around Boston) Look, you just can’t beat free outdoor Shakespeare. A picnic basket, a good friend or two, and the immortal words of the sweet swan of Avon resounding amidst mother nature’s glory is just where it’s at, folks. It’s particularly poetic to see Macbeth, a play about the slow descent into the darker parts of man, performed under deepening darkness. Continue reading

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Aug 04

Theatre@First Presents Shakespeare’s “Henry the IV”

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henry_4th_logo

Presented by Theatre@First
by William Shakespeare
directed by Shelley MacAskill

After seizing the throne, King Henry IV rebuilds his kingdom and despairs over his heir’s dissipated life in the London slums. Prince Hal spends his time carousing with the bawdy Joan Falstaff and her gang of thieves and misfits, but he is far more than the scoundrel he seems. When the king’s former allies rebel against him, Hal plans to redeem himself in his father’s eyes. Facing the rebel leader, Hotspur – England’s greatest and noblest warrior – Hal has a chance to prove his worth, but will redemption bring more pain than Hal could imagine?

Theatre@First’s Henry the 4th combines two of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays in one thrilling night of theatre!

Director: Shelley MacAskill has been involved in thirteen productions with Theatre@First, including directing Harriet IV – a gender-swapped one-act version of Henry IV – for Festival@First 7: Shaken Up Shakespeare. She has also produced two plays (The Lady’s Not for Burning and Bent), been Technical Director for another (Equus), and been stage manager, rehearsal assistant, and light board operator for more than she can readily recall. This is her first time directing a full-length play.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
​​8pm evening shows:
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22
Saturday, August 23
Wednesday, August 27
Thursday, August 28
Friday, August 29

4pm matinee show:
Saturday August 30

PERFORMANCE SPACE
Unity Somerville
6 William St, Somerville
unitysomerville.org

TICKETS: $15 for adults
$12 for students/seniors.
Group discounts available.
theatreatfirst.org
brownpapertickets.com
goldstar.com

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Jun 10

Securing the Myth-ing Link: GIDEON’S KNOT

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Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Johnna Adams
Directed by Karen MacDonald

June 5 – 22, 2014
the Boston Center for the Arts
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Graphic depiction of rape and violence, controversial and political arguments, full-body hugging

“Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter”
(Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)

(Boston) Alexander the Great is famous for marching through Asia and Africa in the name of Greece when he was 18 years old. He was a merciless conqueror and much of his work shaped the known BCE world. According to popular myth, in 333 BCE Alexander was shown a intricate knot in tying a chariot to a pole left by the sloppy founder of the city of Gordium. It was foretold that only the future ruler of Asia could untie the knot. Alexander, being the sensitive and thoughtful boy he wasn’t, instead hacked through the knot with his sword. Earlier versions of the myth imply Alexander first tries cunning to sort out the mess but eventually uses the pointy end of a sword to solve the riddle. These are the origins of the term “cutting the Gordian Knot.” It has come to mean using creative measures (cheating) in order to solve an convoluted problem. Continue reading

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Apr 28

Make ‘em Laugh: “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)”

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­­­Michael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan MooreMichael Faulkner and Dominic Conti of the Reduced Shakespeare Company; Photos by Meghan Moore

Presented by The Reduced Shakespeare Company
Written and Directed by Reed Martin and Astin Tichenor

April 24th – May 18th, 2014
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell MA
The Reduced Shakespeare Company on Facebook
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Lowell) The Reduced Shakespeare Company have long been proprietors of abridged histories and this touring production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) will deliver everything that you expect from the boys at the RSC: a three-man team dishing out biting satire, poignant historical and social commentary, and a dude in a really bad wig. Continue reading

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Feb 20

I’m of Two Minds (Both Alike in Dignity): “Romeo Juliet”

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Photo borrowed from Club Oberon “Romeo Juliet” event site.

Presented by The Hypocrites
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare

February 19 – 22, 2014
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Whew!  Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Welcome to the Epic Conclusion of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over three days, I have attended and reviewed three different American Shakespeare remixes.  Tonight’s grand finale: Romeo Juliet presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.

(Cambridge) Let’s start here: this is probably best titled a “remix” of Shakespeare’s play rather than a straight-up performance or adaptation.  Sean Graney took the original text, cut it, cropped it, zoomed in on some things, and re-arranged everything else to befit the story he wanted to tell.  And, as I said in my review of 12 Nights, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that treatment.  As an audience member, you should just be aware that you’re not going to be seeing Shakespeare on this stage; you’re going to be seeing work inspired by a timeless story.  As such, I think familiarity with the source text is a must.  I definitely saw plenty of kids in the audience, but I wasn’t certain that this was the best vehicle for introducing our well-known story to them. The story itself, in this form, felt rushed and improbable; like Graney was trying to slot too many elements into his slim sixty-minute time window.  There were moments that even I barely followed (and that’s saying something). Continue reading

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Feb 19

An Improbable Fiction Played Upon The Stage: “12 Nights”

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Photo borrowed from Oberon website. No photo credit available on site. Notice from sources will prompt immediate update to give credit where it is due.

Presented by The Hypocrites
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare

February 18 – 21, 2014
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Welcome back dear readers! I am reporting to you from day two of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over three days, I will attend and review three different American Shakespeare remixes.  Tonight’s Oreo filling show: 12 Nights presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.  Stop back later this week to catch the stunning conclusion of this Epic Shakes-Series.

(Cambridge) Watch out, Boston; The Hypocrites are back in town.

After their stunning production of The Pirates of Penzance (first performed at Oberon in June 2012, then again on the A.R.T. main stage this past May), I had high expectations for 12 Nights.  The Hypocrites excel at high-octane performance which engages and illuminates for audiences who might otherwise have given this style of theatre a miss.  As such, I thought that Shakespeare was a perfect fit for this Chicago-based company.  What better way to interest people in the Bard than to introduce them at a Hypocritical party. Continue reading

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Nov 25

Nothing is but What Is Not: “Macbeth”

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Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joey DeMita
Original Music by Steven Bergman

November 22 – 30th, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Watertown) Some projects require a special touch.  There are, for instance, people who implicitly understand Musicals.  The musical form requires things that other theatre does not: an eye for choreography, an ear for music, an interest in balancing ham and legitimate acting…

Directing Shakespeare is a very specific task that requires a very specific skillset: an ear for rhetoric, an understanding of verse, a knowledge of history, an eye for embedded stage directions… F.U.D.G.E.’s Joey DeMita has none of these skills. Continue reading

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Oct 21

Marriage Should Only Be a Manageable Annoyance: EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

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Photos by Theatre on Fire.
It stays this sexy for the entire show.

Presented by Theatre on Fire
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Darren Evans

Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
Theatre on Fire on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Charlestown) Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a complicated show. The topic of domestic abuse is a sensitive one. Most media outlets using it as a subject twist reality to create good and evil characters out of common humans. In truth, an abuser isn’t all evil and the victim isn’t all sugar and spice; they are people with flaws like everyone else. Women and children aren’t the only victims of domestic violence (but are the majority of victims), men aren’t the only perpetrators of abuse (again, they are the majority), and abuse isn’t exclusive to heterosexual couples. Exit is a rare jewel of a show because playwright Lauren Gunderson pays proper respect to victims of domestic abuse while spinning a hilarious tale. Her victim isn’t the butt of jokes and her villain isn’t pure, concentrated evil. Continue reading

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Oct 21

Rage Against the Love Machine: ROMEO AND JULIET

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http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/sites/default/files/gallery/Stratton_McCrady_201310010235.jpg?download=1

Stratton McCrady Photography 2013

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Co-directed by Bobbie Steinbach and Allyn Burrows

October 2nd – November 3rd, 2013
The Strand Theatre
Dorchester (Boston), MA
Actor’s Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) We are so insane for love that we co-opt works of art that vilify love and turn them into romantic propaganda.  It happens with every generation.  I grew up with The Police song “Every Breath You Take” as the best love song of 1983, even though it was clearly about a stalker

Romeo and Juliet has become a stand-in for romance, so much so that Bugs Bunny and Pepe LePew could do the balcony scene and 4-year-olds would get the joke.  But while any college freshman with a dye job can enjoy the irony that this iconically romantic story could easily be considered a black comedy, few theatre companies can stage “R + J” productions that can cut through the “Will U Be Mine” ethos we smear on the play. Continue reading

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