Apr 19

Britten’s Opera is a “Dream”

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Presented Boston University College of Fine Arts
Benjamin Britten, composer & Peter Pears, librettist
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
William Lumpkin, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director

April 14–17th, 2016
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
BU Arts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I enjoy myself most with adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedies when their sense of fun and lightness remain intact. The direction in Boston University Theatre’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t fail me. This vision is every bit the dream of the title. Fairies wear blue wigs and polka dot suits, columns of giant, white flowers are moved across the stage, Puck (Elizabeth Valenti) brings Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) her morning tea, and King Oberon (Wee-Kiat Chia) smugly points out his wife slept with an enchanted donkey-man (Joseph Hubbard) the night before. One scene flows into the next elegantly. For the most part, it’s a perfectly realized vision. Continue reading

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Feb 16

“Baltimore”: Damn Straight it’s About Race

2/9/16 Boston Center for American Performance and New Repertory Theatre present BALTIMORE, A BU New Play Initiative Production by Kirsten Greenidge - Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue - After she’s dismissed from her job in the athletics department, Shelby Wilson becomes Resident Advisor to a group of freshmen—after all, it’ll look good on her resume. She soon discovers that a racially charged incident has set student against student, and it’s up to her to mediate the situation. In this world premiere production, playwright Kirsten Greenidge explores the complexities of racism from the perspective of eight culturally diverse college students. Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave. (Lane-Comley Studio 210) 2016-02-09-BALTIMORE_033.nef - Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

2/9/16- Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Center for American Performance and
New Repertory Theatre at the Boston University Theatre
By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

February 10-28, 2016
Boston University Theatre
Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I know what you’re thinking. Oh great, another play about race. And yes, this is a play about race. But the problem people don’t see in this thought process is that art exists as a response to society and our experiences living in it. Plays about race would not need to be written if we did in fact live in a post-racial society. So yes, this is a show about race, and if that bothers you then you are exactly the person that needs to see this play. Continue reading

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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

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Jun 01

Hell is Other People: PRIVATE LIVES

Bianca Amato and James Waterston in Noël Coward’s PRIVATE LIVES. May 25 – June 24, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: Paul Marotta

Private Lives by Noel Coward, Huntington Theatre, Boston University Theatre, 5/25/12-6/24/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/2011-2012/private-lives/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

Sometimes, the mark of a good play is how close it comes to the bone.  If you are secure in your romantic relationship, you will laugh heartily at Noel Coward’s Private Lives, playing at the Huntington.  If you aren’t secure, you will laugh nervously.  If you are single, you will laugh derisively.  Either way, you will laugh at this mashup of the foibles of all passionate lovers everywhere. Continue reading

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May 07

Lunatics Running the Asylum: ASSASSINS

As the culminating event in the College's year-long examination of the theme of violence, Assassins brims with a particularly urgent energy. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography © 2012 Boston University all rights reserved

Assassins, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, Boston University Colllege of Fine Arts School of Theatre, Boston University Theatre, 4/4/12-4/10/12, http://www.bu.edu/cfa/2012/04/20/assassins/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) It’s nice for Stephen Sondheim and his partner John Weidman to clear up a few things for us about theater in their mishmash of a play, Assassins, playing at the Boston University Theatre.

They have proven a fundamental truth: You can populate your play with profoundly interesting characters, give them things to do that impact every theatergoer’s psyche and bestow wonderful music for them to sing as they do it, but if the script doesn’t allow them to interact in a meaningful way, it’s just an exercise in futility.  The playwrights prove this point despite the best efforts of a talented cast, who creates full-fledged and compelling characters. In fact, the cast and stellar set give us such high expectations that it makes the mind want to rebel at this idle script all the more.    Continue reading

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Feb 12

Shouting and Spittle: MONSTER

Monster by Neal Bell, Boston Center for American Performance/Boston University Theatre, Lane Comley Studio 210, 2/9/12-2/25/12, http://www.bu.edu/cfa/bcap/monster.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) A play rarely works when the actors have to emotionally sprint throughout all acts.  A cast needs to pick its moments to ratchet up the tension and raise the stakes, or risk numbing the audience with melodrama.  Unfortunately, the Boston University production Monster begins at a precipice of volume and angst and never can climb down to connect with theatregoers.  Instead of communion, the production comes closer to an assault.

Monster is an ambitious staging of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  At its best, the tale can be a window into the theme of the messy pain of creation and abandonment from God and/or our parents.  Continue reading

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