Oct 10

“The Company We Keep” by Jaclyn Villano

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
October 4 – 21, 2012
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

(Boston) Boston Playwrights’ Theatre presents its 31st season of new plays in Boston starting with recent BPT alumna Jaclyn Villano’s The Company We Keep. We can joke about attorneys and sharks, but here the metaphor is apt. New to Georgetown with a law professorship and a freshly renovated home, attorneys Harry and wife Ellie are having difficulty settling their 12-year-old son into the new school. When their best friends Katherine and Greg come to the housewarming with surprises of their own, what ensues tests the bonds of friendship, marriage, and parenthood in this vicious, biting comedy of manners. This one is not to miss.

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Mar 25

‘Deported’ dreams fragrant hope

Bobbie Steinbach and Jeanine Kane, photo credit: Boston Playwrights' Theatre

Deported, A Dream Play by Joyce Van Dyke, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 3/8/12-4/1/12, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) An American rose does not smell as sweet as an Armenian rose; that’s what Joyce Van Dyke tells us.  The Armenian-American culture is extremely prevalent in the Metro Boston area, particularly in Watertown where the Armenian Library and Museum is located, and has been trying to get the world to recognize the genocide in Armenia from 1915, when there were several massacres.  “Armenian men were rounded up and killed.  Then the women and children were ‘deported’ on a death march through the desert,” Van Dyke writes in the program.  And as the hundredth anniversary approaches, the genocide is still denied by Turkey, but Van Dyke writes of the hope of recognition and reconciliation in the near future. Continue reading

Mar 04

Acting Natural While Cramming it In: SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE IN IOWA

Photo Credit: Another Country Productions

Saint John the Divine in Iowa by Lyralen Kaye, Another Country Productions, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 3/2/12-3/18/12, http://www.anothercountry.org/productions.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) There is a fine line to walk when it comes to groundbreaking plays.  It’s difficult to keep a thought-provoking issue from swallowing the play.  The result can be a diatribe at worst, or an afterschool special at best.  The only way to keep a play that handles heavy-hitting social issues on track is to populate it with characters who are drawn razor-sharp and true to life. Continue reading

Nov 11

The River Was Whiskey: Tension for the Senses

Joe Lily, Nettie and Arlo (Alex Pollock, Sarah Newhouse and Kendra Jackson)

The River Was Whiskey by Will Fancher, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 10/27/11-11/20/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.  Contains mature themes, mature language,  and violent images.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There has been an ongoing moral debate since man was first able to form laws on what the fate of the guilty should be. One school of thought is that redemption is available through either the forgiveness of a higher power or acts of contrition. Then there are those who believe that there must be a punishment for every crime and that an eye for an eye is the only way to balance the damage done. There is possibly no greater example of this dichotomy of thought than Old and New Testaments of The Bible. While the New Testament speaks of forgiveness for all sins through the following of Jesus, The Old Testament is filled with the wicked being punished by a vengeful spirit for their transgressions. This backdrop of faith and fear is the foundation of the Will Fancher play The River Was Whiskey. 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

Where To Stand When You’re In ‘Mortal Terror’

Will Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and John Marston (Stafford Clark-Price, Jeremiah Kissel and John Kuntz) Photo by Boston Playwrights' Theatre

 

Mortal Terror by Robert Brustein, Suffolk University & Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 9/15/11-10/2/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Each generation lives in fear of war, conflicts, pain, and death.  Each person has to choose how they are going to react to the conflict.  Mortal Terror addresses this puzzlement in Elizabethan garb.  Rowdy writers, absolute rulers, and crazy conspirators throw words back and forth until every character must face his own compass and decide on where he stands.

Will Shakespeare, the toast of Renaissance England’s theatre scene, gets the opportunity to write a play to legitimize King James’ rule. Continue reading

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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