Sep 13

Trout Stanley: Twin Purpose

Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey, Exquisite Theatre Corps, The Factory Theatre, 9/9/11-9/25/11.  http://www.exquisitecorps.org/trout-stanley/.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Boston, MA) Exquisite Corps Theatre opens its second season with the delightfully odd Trout Stanley.  Set in the middle-of-nowhere Canada, the old brick walls of the Factory Theatre make the perfect backdrop for the shabby home of twin sisters, Grace and Sugar Ducharme.

We meet the twins on their 30th birthday.  Kathryn Grace’s “Grace” struts around the stage, big and bombastic, almost over the top as she describes her likeness on a local hunting store’s billboard.  Grace has a lust for life and a slightly unusual respect for trash. Continue reading

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Aug 05

Boston Actors’ Theater Summer Play Festival 2011

Summer Play Festival 2011, Boston Actors’ Theater, 7/29/11-8/7/11, http://www.bostonactorstheater.com/.

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. Continue reading

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Aug 04

Bug: Real Fear

Bug 003

James Hayward and Julie Becker in "Bug" by Tracy Letts July 29-August 6, 2011. The Factory Theatre, Boston.

Bug by Tracy Letts, Flat Earth Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 7/29/11-8/6/11, http://flatearththeatre.com/shows/bug.html.  Contains graphic violence and language.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Horror reigns at The Factory Theatre in Flat Earth Theatre’s taut production of Tracy Letts’ thriller Bug.  An abused woman finds comfort and safety of a gentle stranger.  However, their safety is short-lived when their motel room becomes infested with bugs.  No matter how they try, their situation escalates providing a realistic and frightening experience. Continue reading

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Jul 22

1001: Do we make the stories or do the stories make us?

1001 by Jason Grote, Company One, Boston Center for the Arts, 7/15/11- 8/13/11,  http://www.companyone.org/Season12/1001/synopsis.shtml.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Clockwise from left: Ruby Rose Fox, Ben Gracia, Hampton Fluker, Lonnie McAdoo, Lauren Eicher, Nael Nacer

Scheherazade is back with new tales to tell. Based on 1001 Arabian Nights, Jason Grote takes the ancient tales and reworks them within a twenty-first century context.  The frame story and first inner story remain close to the time and arrangement of the original tales, but the further Scheherazade takes us in, the closer we get to our own reality.  Stories make up a large part of our lives from the fairy tales of childhood to the novels of our adulthood.  Is it what we bring to them that gives them life or what they bring to us that give us life? Company One’s 1001 attempts to answer these questions. Continue reading

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Jul 15

Hideous Progeny: Living With Our Creations

Nate Gundy (Percy Shelley), Julia Specht (Mary Wollstoncraft Godwin), Victor Shopov (Lord Byron). Photo by Alison Luntz.

Hideous Progeny by Emily Dendinger. Holland Productions, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 7/9/11-7/23/11, http://www.hollandproductions.org/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s understanding of the gravity of creation led to one of the most famous horror tales of all time: Frankenstein. Emily Dendiger posits that this knowledge came from Mary’s own life and relationships in the play Hideous Progeny. Most generations struggle between rebellion and responsibility; the choices we make create the world that we live in. Mary’s future husband, Percy Shelley, speaks of and practices “free love” and ideals, but ignores the monsters he releases. Hideous Progeny haunts Mary Godwin and the audience with the question: do you run away from the monsters or do you face them?
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Jun 15

The Normal Heart: “We must love one another or die”

Photo: Joan Marcus

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, The Golden Theatre, Broadway, 4/27/11-7/10/11. http://www.thenormalheartbroadway.com/. Winner of Tony Award for Best Revival, Best Featured Actress, and Best Featured Actor.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

WH Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939” (from which the title of the play is derived) states that “no one exists alone”. That statement reaches to the heart of the AIDS movement as we acknowledge the thirtieth anniversary of the first diagnosed case and continue to strive for full equality for every human being. Larry Kramer’s revolutionary play not only remains wholly relevant since its original production in 1985, but also challenges us to see that we have not gone far enough and there is still much work to be done. The cast shows that the only way we’re going to get through all the struggles is together. Continue reading

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May 18

Poe’s Existentialism by Gaslight

(L To R) Resident acting company members Brian McEleney and and Phyllis Kay with Brown/Trinity Rep MFA ’12 actor Charlie Thurston as Young Edgar Poe.in the world premiere of Stephen Thorne’s The Completely Fictional – Utterly True – Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Set Design by Susan Zeeman Rogers, Costume Design by William Lane and Lighting Design by Keith Parham. Photo by Mark Turek.

The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe by Stephen Thorne, Trinity Repertory Company, Dowling Theater, 5/6/11-6/11/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ST.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Something delightfully macabre is happening at Trinity Rep.  Even Edgar Allan Poe is beside himself–literally.  Stephen Thorne spins an atmospheric tale that combines true facts, speculation, and gothic fiction in his new play The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Trinity Rep’s world premiere entices the senses, questions reality, questions meaning, and ushers in a new form of ghost story.

Thorne’s play begins with Edgar Allan Poe in the hospital–unsure of how he got there but the attendants tell him he is dying.  Poe explores his own demise and tries to find meaning through the senses.  In the first act, he denies that he is dying and tries to discover Continue reading

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Apr 25

Eurydice: Tears From A Clown

Adam Lauver as Lord of the Underworld, Annie Winneg as Eurydice, and the chorus of stones. Photo by Rob Lorino.

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, The Independent Drama Society, BCA Black Box, 4/22/11-4/30/11.  http://sites.google.com/site/independentdrama/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

The circus is in town and it is a beautiful tragedy.  The Independent Drama Society’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice evokes an abstract piece of shattered but connected moments.  Remaining faithful to the myth, Lindsay Eagle allows the audience to experience every breath of innocence, knowledge, and loss that the play has to offer.

The Greek chorus of stones consists of a highly skilled clowning troupe.  Upon entrance to the theatre, the audience is greeted by the members of the chorus as they play and perform.  Each member has a distinct personality that interacts in different ways between the audience and the main characters of the play.

Annie Winneg as Eurydice and Greg Nussen as Orpheus play the doomed young lovers who believe that love is all they need.  Although they do truly care for each other, they have difficulty communicating with each other or having any level of depth to their relationship, which leads to Eurydice’s struggle between her love for her husband and her love for her father.   Continue reading

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Apr 19

The Book of Grace: You Can’t Go Home Again

Frances Idlebrook as Grace, Jesse Tolbert as Buddy, Steve Barkhimer as Vet

The Book of Grace by Suzan-Lori Parks, Company One, 4/15/11-5/7/11. Mature themes and language, sexual content, and stage violence. http://www.companyone.org/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

What is the cost of forgiveness and reconciliation? What is the real threat? Company One’s production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Book of Grace explores these questions through an intimate scene between three connected, yet separate, individuals.

Vet, played by Steve Barkhimer, likes a rigid, controlled environment both at his job (as a border control officer) and in his home life. Grace, Continue reading

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Apr 14

BREAKING THE CODE: Turing Passes The Test

Dafydd ap Rees (Mick Ross) and Allyn Burrows (Alan Turing) in Hugh Whitemore's BREAKING THE CODE through May 8. Presented by Catalyst Collaborative@MIT. Performances at Central Square Theater at 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Tickets and Information: http://CentralSquareTheater.org or 866-811-4111. Photo by A.R. Sinclair Photography.


Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore, Underground Railway Theater and Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT, Central Square Theater, 4/7/11-5/8/11.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/10-11/code.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Intelligence is a prized commodity that governments and businesses appropriate for their own needs, but don’t always appreciate the ones who provide it.  Alan Turing was loved by Great Britain for his decoding work during World War II and was derided for his failure to conform to social norms after the war.  Breaking the Code masterfully explores the isolating nature of “polite” society.

Underground Railroad Company and Catalyst Collaborative@MIT bring the audience into the world of Alan Turing’s mind and memory.  Performed in the round, the audience literally steps into Janie Howland’s set of inverse geometric spirals as they take their seats.  Strings across the walls and ceiling connect formulas and ideas.  Following the idea of the spirals, director Adam Zahler has Turing (played by Allyn Burrows) follow these patterns as Turing moves through the various moments of his life.  The set and the action become an extension of Alan Turing’s personality. Continue reading

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