(Cambridge) ICARUS was developed and premiered by five year old company Liars & Believers (LAB) in Cambridge last year. It is fitting that it would come back to roost after a successful flight through Boston and New York. Clearly using their official residency with the ART to their advantage, LAB refreshes their hit for a longer and stronger run. Continue reading →
Liars and Believers’ Icarus is a wobbly production, a Depression Era circus fable that limps when it pushes hard to soar. Like a small bird, the show is both endearing but weak. Its flourishes are strong: puppets, bluegrass, and robots. The result gives the audience a series of intriguing set pieces but nothing that really coalesces into a grand story.
Jason Slavick packs a lot into the show, the separate parts fluid and vibrant. The lead-up to the play itself includes burlesque and music, giving the centerpiece, Minnie Minoseczeck’s Menagerie of Marvels, a vaudevillean glamour. The trimmings for the circus are convincing, complete with posters promising a minotaur and a flying woman, Penny (Corianna Moffatt). Continue reading →
Ancient Greek myths, when adapted to the stage, need not be built-up to be timely. The dissonance between myth and the modern era can be distracting in contemporary adaptations. If anything, here, the stories chosen from Ovid’s Metamorphoses are stripped down. The production has few props and no costumes, giving the ensemble room to breathe. Whistler in the Dark is the perfect sort of theater to spur to life the passions beneath the age-old Greek myths, which will surely please both casual and Classicist audiences. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) The end of war is something that is looked on as a celebratory event. Images of servicemen returning home, country’s flags being raised, and a collective sigh of relief from the population are the usual symbols that are associated with victory. There is however always a losing side in a war who must deal with a devastated homeland, a shamed or exterminated army, and the loss of everything their civilization was or could ever be. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) The subject of free will vs. determinism is a fun one to debate, a question that has been the bane of my ex-father-in-law’s existence for decades. It also has been well-covered in theatre and movies, including in the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. As this multi-leveled play proves, a play that argues a point must balance storytelling with its agenda to be successful.
Unfortunately, the fine storytelling and performances of Whistler in the Dark’s Recent Tragic Events is marred by gimmicks to drive home the idea that our lives are predestined. The gimmickry, from a sock puppet stand-in for Joyce Carol Oates to some shenanigans that mess with the borders of the play, would be doubly frustrating if it weren’t for the delivery of one of the best acting performances of the year by lead actor Aimee Rose Ranger. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) A lone girl sits amongst the dirt and potatoes of this agrarian society trying to chase away birds until she can try no more. Striving for more than mere existence in a world controlled by tradition and an inflexible economy often seems futile in the Fenland. Whistler In The Dark compels the audience to exist and hope with the characters for something more.
As the women in the play sing various choruses to songs, one is struck by the pure beauty in these women in this desolate place. One also struggles with the evisceration of these women as they give their lives and their souls to the land. With the assistance of Danny Bryck and an enormous amount of concentration, the actors speak with the flawless dialect of the British countryside. Each cast member plays multiple characters in this dark landscape. The main plot revolves around Val (Aimee Rose Ranger) who is trapped between her obligation to take care of her children and a desire for a better life in London with her lover. She takes no solace in the vices of the other local folk such as valium, religion, dreams, or masochism as she is constantly pulled in both directions. The one direction that she would want to go in, to London and a new life seems millions of miles away.