Jun 02

A Robust Spectacle: THE TEMPEST

Photo: The Smith Center/Geri Kodey

Photo: The Smith Center/Geri Kodey

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Aaron Posner and Teller
Magic by Teller
Songs by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
Choreography by Matt Kent, Pilobolus
Magic Design by Johnny Thompson
Magic Engineering and Construction by Thom Rubino
Music Direction and Arrangements by Shaina Taub

May 11th – June 15th
Cambridge, MA

Reviews by Craig Idlebrook and Clara Idlebrook

(Editorial note – Reviewer Craig Idlebrook attended The Tempest with his family. The American Repertory Theatre asked that he include his 8-year-old daughter’s take on the show. Clara Idlebrook’s review appears below Craig’s.)

Craig’s Take:

There is something so delicious about watching artists at work who have mastered their craft enough to disregard public opinion and create something exquisitely weird. American Repertory Theatre’s staging of the Tempest feels like a transcendent late-night jam session between William Shakespeare, veteran magician Teller, and musical sabotage specialists Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. You could picture this production being a traveling troupe’s one-shot staging done during a layover, and someone happened to hit the record button on an iPhone. Continue reading

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Apr 02

Chekov in a Blender: STUPID FUCKING BIRD

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By Aaron Posner
Adapted by Chekhov’s The Seagull
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

March 28th – April 26th, 2014
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea) Merriam-Webster offers this definition of “mash-up”:
something created by combining elements from two or more sources: as
a :  a piece of music created by digitally overlaying an instrumental track with a vocal track from a different recording
b :  a movie or video having characters or situations from other sources
c :  a Web service or application that integrates data and functionalities from various online sources

You’ll notice that the good ol’ M-W doesn’t include theater in its definition, which means Apollinaire Theatre’s staging of “Stupid Fucking Bird” kind of groundbreaking.  Take a ponderous Russian classic,  “The Seagull”, make it all meta and silly, and you have this imaginative and unconventional play.  Mash-ups usually are 5 minutes long and viewed on YouTube; this play clocks in at a cool 2 hours and a half with a pair of intermissions. My friends, that’s a mash-up that shows some guts. Continue reading

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Nov 03

Trapped by the Words: THE CHOSEN

Photo by Timothy Dunn

Adapted by Aaron Posner & Chaim Potok
Directed by Daniel Gidron

presented by The Lyric Stage Company
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA
October 19th – November 17th, 2012

Lyric Stage Company Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Adapting a novel to the stage can be a wrenching exercise. Pages upon pages of description, of scene, of setting, of theme must be boiled down to dialogue and action that can stand alone. By all accounts, Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen is considered a richly-layered and well-written story about the tension between Jewish communities, as told through the friendship of two young men who find themselves caught between the secular and religious communities at the dawn of Zionism. Unfortunately, he and co-writer Aaron Posner fail to adapt the novel to a script form, leaving in a narrator who breaks up the scenes and explains away the heartfelt tension between the characters, leaving us with a broken dialogue that tells an incomplete tale about the weight one must bear when one is called to carry the load of doing good. Continue reading

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