Feb 27

Geeks Read Books: “Three Sisters” & “Marjorie Prime”

Unbiased reviews for plays are written in exchange for hard copies. Theatre Communications Group has kindly forwarded Three Sisters by Chekhov and adapted by Tracy Letts, and Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison to The New England Theatre Geek.

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

Three Sisters
By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Tracy Letts
Theatre Communications Group
New York, NY
December 2016
$14.95

(NYC) Tracy Letts’ adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters is the dramatic literature equivalent of the “Google Translate Sings: ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables” parody. It’s not accurate, but it’s not entirely incorrect either. The majority of the content is Chekhov’s original. Letts expresses it in new and festive ways. Continue reading

Feb 23

Crying Uncle: UNCLE JACK

10929149_10152928903511072_1633828632893124184_nPresented by Boston Center for American Performance and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and Directed by Michael Hammond
Adapted from the play by Anton Chekhov

February 12 – March 1, 2015
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Boston Playwright’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) You know, I’ve never noticed it before, but there really is something innately Chekhovian about major summer-stock theatres (particularly in the New England Area). Out in the wilds of Western Massachusetts, a seasonal culture abounds. Large, stately mansions (mostly empty during the rest of the year) stand ready to receive their visitors; high-status patrons, family dear and estranged, and random acquaintances who have long been treated as family. The constant financial difficulties that running these estates entails weave through life upon them like a second soul. The back-to-nature feel of the Berkshires where city-slicker actors arrive to work, to fall in love, and to torment the people who call this big empty place “home” the rest of the year could very well be a cherry orchard or a provincial Russian estate. The incestuous, teeming nature of a long-standing summer-stock company almost reeks of Chekhov; the half-forgotten love affairs, the misbehavior that will never be spoken of again, and the half-cocked gun on the mantelpiece just waiting for its Act Four moment…. Continue reading

Mar 14

Touch a Dead Bird, Wash Your Hands: THE SEAGULL

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
By Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Maria Aitken

March 7 – April 6, 2014
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Chekhov intended The Seagull play to be a comedy. He wrote a famous letter to his friend Suvorin on October 21, 1895 describing his intent and further elaborated that Seagull would defy the conventions of theatre. No kidding. It is a comedy for the same reasons Springtime for Hitler is a comedy. The one exception being that no Roger DeBris character arrives to save us from our sensibilities. To sum up, without Roger, The Seagull is a drama about people being terrible to each other while lamenting their own misery. In Russia. While discussing the theatrical arts. It isn’t very funny (unless you’re a sadist). What it is, is deeply depressing. Continue reading

Mar 03

Do the Research Before Enjoying: MAN IN A CASE

Presented by ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage
Adapted from Two Stories by Anton Chekhov
Adapted and Directed by Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar/Big Dance Theater
Choreographed by Annie-B Parson
Featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tymberly Canale, Chris Giarmo, Paul Lazar and Aaron Mattocks

February 25 – March 2, 2014
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Baryshnikov Productions on Facebook
Big Dance Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

My apologies to ArtsEmerson, Big Dance Theatre, Baryshnikov Productions and anyone else I forgot to mention for the tardiness of this review. I was waylaid by illness this weekend and couldn’t complete my review.

(Boston) Man in a Case is effective theatre that turns Chekhov on its head while retelling the two classic stories “Man in a Case” and “Almost Love.” It does not bridge the 19th and the 21st centuries as advertised. It does, however, transport the viewer into an existential dreamspace/nightmare of meta and experimental theatre. Just in case one is mislead by my description, this was an interesting, thought-provoking performance but it’s not light fare for a family hoping to experience “culture” in the city. Man in a Case could be considered “weird” and weird theatre can be exquisite. It all depends on perspective. Continue reading

May 12

We’re All Seagulls Here: THE NINA VARIATIONS

We're all seagulls here. All the best people are.

We’re all seagulls here. All the best people are. Photo courtesy of Brown Bos Theatre Project Facebook Page.

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
by Stephen Dietz
Directed by Kyler Taustin

Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
May 9-12 & 16-19, 2013

Ocean City Center for the Arts
502 94th St
Ocean City, MD
Maryland: June 8-11
Brown Box Theatre Project Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

The Nina Variations is a strange little nugget of show presented for the approval of Anton Chekhov devotees. The plot re-imagines the last scene of The Seagull 42 different ways. It manifests on stage all possible and impossible permutations of the final scene. Three different actresses playing Nina and one actor as Boris Trigorin examine all aspects of the couple’s “love story” (Is this how people in love treat each other? Really? Ok, fine.). The result is a live fanfiction demonstration wrapped in a buttery layer of honed acting technique. Continue reading