Boston Actors’ Theater Summer Play Festival 2011

Summer Play Festival 2011, Boston Actors’ Theater, 7/29/11-8/7/11,

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Three playwrights try out some new works at Boston Actors’ Theater’s Summer Play Festival with varying results.  The three plays are:  The Portal of God by Catherine Durickas, Reproduction by Elizabeth DuPre, and Envia! Gifts for the Goddess of Illusion by Kelly Dumar.  The plays explore the complicated and often confusing aspects of love and life.

The most realized play of the three is Reproduction by Elizabeth DuPre.  Its tight, fast-pace structure keeps the audiences attention and causes much laughter as the two friends try to figure out the laws of attraction.  This witty play is supported by clever performances by Danielle Hecht and Stewart Evan Smith.

The Portal of God by Catherine Durickas explores the various progressions of the individual within a romantic relationship.  The main action is lovely and heartfelt.  The play betrays itself by over-intellectualizing its message through monologues that seem disconnected and conspicuous.  This play falls into the trap that many young playwrights stumble into:  “I must tell you everything you need to know.”  The audience feels less patronized when they are able to discover through the action the deep message that is hidden underneath.

Envia!  Gifts for the Goddess of Illusion by Kelly DuMar is the most “meta” work of the three.  This is a one-act version of a full length play.  Perhaps, the shortened length caused a loss of some poignancy, but this version seems to be self-indulgent and off-putting.  Ironically, the narrator who speaks directly to the audience does not draw the audience in.  The narrator is entertaining but almost extraneous.  The most cogent part of the play is the scenes of the narrator’s life acted out.

All of the stories present interesting points of view with potential.  The acting in all of the plays masks some of the flaws and is a pleasure to watch.  Taken as what it is, the festival is a chance to hear new voices and see talented actors.


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