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 →
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 →
(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 →
(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 →
(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 →
Aug. 23 – Sept. 1, 2013
Children Wharf’s Park, outside the Boston Children’s Museum
Brown Box Theatre Project on Facebook
Can’t attend these performances in Boston? You’re in luck! Following their Boston performances, the Brown Box cast and crew will pack up their set and continue their tour on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware.
Review by Gillian Daniels
The last production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I saw before Brown Box Theatre’s was The DonkeyShow at the Oberon. Where the Oberon’s version was a show infused with drugs, sex, the excesses of 1970’s disco culture, and go-go dancer boys with body glitter, Brown Box Theatre fills its show with the excesses of Elizabethan fairies and water basins liberally placed around its stage. The long-running Donkey Show may be the toast of Cambridge, but Brown Box Theatre has captured a more vibrant energy in its traditional telling. Continue reading →
“Two Gents” tells the tale of two friends who leave their hometown of Verona to find their happy fortunes in Milan. Instead, they find temptation, trickery, and trouble as they vie for favor with the high-society Duke… and his debutante daughter. All are drawn into a web of disguise and secrecy where the last thing anyone wants is for the truth to surface — least of all the dog.
Inspired by Rat Pack-era Vegas — the glamor, the hedonism, and the morning after agonies — the production brings new meaning to the line “what happens in Milan, stays in Milan…”
SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS:
JULY 18TH: AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE
JULY 21ST: ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE
JULY 26TH: “FAMILY DAY” AND “FREE FUN FRIDAY”
JULY 27TH @ 2PM: ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE
Some contemporary productions of Hamlet play with the ambiguity of the Prince of Denmark’s sanity. Is he seeking justice or satisfying a personal vendetta with the logic of a “ghost” to back him up, “mad north-north-west” or just vengeful? In Hamlet Asylum, this ambiguity is dismissed. Most of the play clearly takes place in the head of Bryan Bernfield’s Hamlet. A masked Greek chorus (Meghan Kelly, Amiel Bowers, and Samuel Guerin) speak in the voice of his father, his confidant Horatio, the gravediggers, and others, all in the guise of Hamlet’s repressed desires. It’s a clever idea. The result, though,
is a production both rich with symbols and dark with melodrama. Continue reading →
(Boston) It’s easy to see why Pericles, Prince of Tyre isn’t one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays. The plot is often as lost at sea as the titular character, who drifts from one melodramatic episode to the next on an unending voyage. Pericles’ journey begins with villainous incest and the threat of death and, after abandoning this thread, continues on to tragic storms, kidnappings, and brothels. Taking on this play means a potential mess. Continue reading →