Nov 05

An Incomplete Canvas: And Neither Have I Wings to Fly

And Neither Have I Wings To Fly by Ann Noble, Bad Habit Productions, Deane Hall at Boston Center for the Arts, 11/4/11-11/20/11, http://www.badhabitproductions.org/index.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) A cast of actors must take on the nearly-impossible task of becoming a family in the space of mere weeks.  They must create the timing and intricacies of a brood that normally would develop over decades.  It requires trust, big heart and the ability to listen on stage.  It’s when a troupe, full of jitters from opening night, doesn’t quite succeed that you understand just how difficult that task can be. Continue reading

Oct 30

This Verse Business: The Road Less Traveled Of Frost’s Poetry

Gordon Clapp as Robert Frost. Photo by Meghan Moore.

This Verse Business by A.M. Dolan, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 10/20/11-11/13/11,  http://www.merrimackrep.org/season/show.aspx?sid=101.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Lowell, MA)  There is an inherent problem in the study of classic poetry. Most of what is deemed worthwhile to scholars are works that tend to be genre defying and broke the conventions of the times they were written in. However, when a poet’s collection becomes so widely revered, scholars tend to set them as the new template for the system that the writer had originally broken through. This leads to the poems losing much of their edge and therefore becoming mundane to modern audiences. There is possibly no bigger victim of this “catch-22” than west coast born, New England based poet Robert Frost, and there is possibly no better cure for this academic sickness than a play like This Verse Business. Continue reading

Oct 27

Neighborhood 3: Sometimes You Need A Place To Go A Little Crazy

Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley, Happy Medium Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 10/20/11-10/29/11, http://www.happymediumtheatre.com/.  T for Teen, Tipper Gore should not see this show.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“We need to protect the children”.  We have stricter movie ratings, tv show ratings, video game ratings, and explicit music warning labels.  So what happens when all of these fail?  What happens even before these fail?  Society corrupts the children; the educational system fails children; the welfare system fails children.  These days everything and anything are blamed when children get hurt or end up in trouble (watched any version of Law & Order lately?)except for children and the parents.  Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom gives the avatars (performers) a chance to escape from problems while the game gives the players (the audience) no escape. Continue reading

Oct 22

Well-Behaved Women Rarely Reach Old Age: WOMEN OF WILL

Nigel Gore and Tina Packer in Women of Will performing October 13 - November 6, 2011 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

 

Women of Will, by Tina Packer, The Nora Theatre Company, Central Square Theatre, 10/13/11- 11/6/11.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/11-12/women-of-will.html

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) The female characters of Shakespeare’s plays are badly outnumbered by the males, sometimes fifteen to one, explains veteran thespian Tina Packer in Women of Will at the Central Square Theater.  In the Bard’s works, women often operate as others and also-rans, virgins and whores, rarely receiving the main focus.  But when they appear, their actions and emotions speak volumes, both about Shakespeare and society. Continue reading

Oct 17

Collected Stories: The Property of Intellect

l. to r. Liz Hayes as Lisa and Bobbie Steinbach as Ruth in Collected Stories. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 10/9/11-10/30/11. http://newrep.org/collected_stories.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Watertown, MA) Storytelling began as a way to pass on history and myths of a culture. In fact, some of the earliest stories were only credited when they were written down (for example, Homer with The Illiad and The Odyssey). Nowadays, even ideas are called into question. Birds can no longer Tweet ® and can only chirp due to Twitter receiving the trademark for the word “tweet”. Where do we draw the line? Are we the sum of our thoughts? Who owns the rights to what we learn and what influences us? New Rep’s production of Collected Stories examines these issues.

Continue reading

Oct 03

The Farm: Paranoia and Uncertainty

Photo Credit: Boston Playwrights' Theatre

The Farm by Walt McGough, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 9/29/11-10/23/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There is a very particular fear that runs through our country these days, unique to the new century. The threat of fascist world conquerors and nuclear holocaust has been stripped away for a much more mundane, yet equally terrifying threat. Extremist mass murders, with no concept of mercy or fear of death, dressed as everyday citizens are what our new public eye has focused on as the danger of our time. A danger that has caused many everyday citizens to rethink the people they see on the street as potential threats to their lives and national security. It is that paranoia, honed into a profession view point, that makes up the mind set of special agents of the C.I.A along with other bodies of authority, whose job it is to make the life and death decisions every day between who is an enemy and who is a civilian. So enters the mind set of Special Agent Finn, the central focus of Walt McGough’s The Farm. Continue reading

Sep 22

Next Fall: Don’t Agree, Just Love

Luke (Dan Roach, left) slips in a prayer before breakfast with his partner Adam (Will McGarrahan) in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Next Fall, running now thru Oct. 15 Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Speakeasy Stage, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 9/15/11-10/15/11,  http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=nextfall.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

 “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas à Kempis

(Boston, MA)  Moments pass in a heartbeat.  All that’s left is waiting…waiting in hope…waiting in fear; the only choice is waiting together or waiting alone.  Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts does not try to moralize or condescend; it leaves its audience with the hope that love will transcend all differences.  The friends and family of the comatose Luke see the world through different viewpoints but connect at the core of their being–in love. Continue reading

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

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

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