Jul 23

Faster than Eight Tiny Reindeer on Uppers : “Get Thee Behind Me, Santa”

Get Thee Behind Me, Santa: An Inexcusably Filthy Children’s Time-Travel Farce for Adults Only
Presented by Maximum Verbosity
Produced by FringePVD
Written and performed by phillip andrew bennett low

Performed on July 20, 2020 at 9PM
Website: Maximum Verbosity
Maximum Verbosity on Facebook 
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Critique by Kitty Drexel

My sincere apologies to low re: review tardiness. The pandemic kills productivity like a mother.

ZOOM — Maximum Verbosity presents a holiday allegory to beat that tired one told every single Christmas. Get Thee Behind Me, Santa features cursing, sexuality, blasphemy and other microaggressions. 

Get Thee Behind Me, Santa is an exceedingly fast-paced holiday allegory with an occasional rhyme scheme that pulls no punches. Jesus of Nazareth, Saint Nick, two angels with a greater appreciation for the physical form and a cast of other characters are determined to live in a better timeline, a timeline without a Santa cult.

It makes fun of the Da Vinci Code but it’s more similar to the popular 2003 mystery novel than it isn’t. GTBM,S jumbles together art, religion, science fiction, film noir, and other seemingly incongruent references into one tale. Therein lies the intended humor. 

In humorous narratives of this ilk, the jumble of references is the point. Lists are par for the course. Except, GTBM,S is  told at such breakneck speed that we aren’t able to absorb all of phillip andrew bennett low’s puns and scenes. They aren’t funny if we can’t savor them. The image of elves with super soakers is funny but, with low’s telling, blink and you’ll miss it. The same goes with many of the other clever bits concerning the Bible, popular soft drinks, and the Mayan civilization. 

The funniest moments of GTBM,S are when low pauses after a character’s one-liner. Jesus said, “Howdy-do?” Low gave us time to react, so I did; I laughed.

Someone said (I couldn’t catch the character’s name), “I am amazed at how useless I find your vowels.” Low paused again; I laughed again. 

I was able to respond in real-time to low’s work. It felt amazing. Audiences of artists want to respond to an artist. Please let us. 

Theatre shouldn’t be a race to the finish… Unless it is.  If the point of GTBM,S was to impress the audience with how quickly and how much low can spit a monologue, low succeeds. But, we couldn’t tell that this was his goal. He needs to indicate this to us. 

Some of this can be excused by the medium of Zoom. A one-person show without an audience is torture for an artist. We create with the presumption that an audience will share the room when we perform. Without the audience, we fly by the seat of our pants. It’s anyone’s guess how things will turn out. We can only hope for the best.

Based on the GTBM,S trailer from the 2019 Minnesota Fringe, I’m going to make an educated guess that low’s speed is intentional. If low’s intent truly was to tell a convoluted story overflowing with references across modern and archaic world history while ripping Christianity a new one, he needs to slow down so the audience can receive the story.

Storytelling can be as alinear as the space time continuum but, if it’s for an audience, it also has to be available to that audience. Artists need to perform at the same speed that an audience listens. Anything else is masturbatory.   

Next performance of Get Thee Behind Me, Santa: Friday 7/24 at 9:00pm

FestivalPVD runs July 19 – August 1, 2020
Information about the 2020 festival HERE
FringePVD on Facebook

May 06

No Sir, You’re The Ho*: A GREAT WILDERNESS

Jake Orozco-Herman and Peter Brown; no tomatoes were harmed in the making of this theatre. (Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images.)

Jake Orozco-Herman and Peter Brown; no tomatoes were harmed in the making of this theatre.
(Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images.)

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by David J. Miller

April 29 – May 21, 2016
Plaza Black Box
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAI’ve never understood how some people can believe that it’s acceptable to be drastically unkind to others because “God told (them) to.” God is a terrible excuse for being a bad person. Morality structured around a potentially imagined creator that lives in the sky is not stabilized morality. Yet, plenty of people are beholden to this creator, if there is one, for their good behavior.  Continue reading

Oct 29

Faith, Failure, and “The Power of Duff”

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5514/10409042345_7fec65ecea.jpg?wmode=transparent

Photo: T.Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Stephen Belber
Directed by Peter DuBois

October 23 – November 16, 2013
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) In a television studio’s newsroom, sentiment is well known. It’s strange that The Power of Duff’s main conceit is that news anchor Charles Duff (the excellent David Wilson Barnes) scandalizes a nation by praying on air at the end of the show’s broadcast. While the reactions to Duff’s sermons are difficult to swallow, especially in the play’s first half, it’s fascinating to watch the everyday lives of these characters unravel as they reach out to connect with one another. Continue reading

Jan 06

Breathtaking Chutzpah: PIPPIN

Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

book Roger O. Hirson
music and lyrics Stephen Schwartz
directed by Diane Paulus
circus creation Gypsy Snider of Les 7 Doigts de la Main
choreography by Chet Walker in the style of Bob Fosse

presented by American Repertory Theatre
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
December 5, 2012 to January 20, 2013
ART Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge) This Cirque du Soleil meets Fosse production of “Pippin” tells the tale of the Everyman, a youthful personification of any adult tentatively beginning the journey toward self-knowledge. Our young hero seeks the meaning of life in all the wrong places: violence, sex, politics, and other follies of inexperience. What the audience soon realizes is that Pippin, son of Charlemagne (the Emperor who not only made Christianity famous but mandatory), for all his proclamations, isn’t special. He is on the same journey that all young adults travel in their search for self – plus or minus some fantastical hardships and an orgy or two. What our hero discovers on this epic ego-trip is that, after he finds and secures a lasting relationship with meaning, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Continue reading

Feb 27

FREUD’S LAST SESSION: meeting of the minds

Martin Rayner as Freud and Mark H. Dold as Lewis c 2010 by Kevin Sprague

Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain, Barrington Stage Company Production, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre at the West Side Y. (Off-Broadway).  1st Run:  July 22-November 27, 2010, 2nd Run:  1/14/11-open run.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

What would happen if Sigmund Freud and CS Lewis took a meeting?  That is the premise of Mark St. Germain’s play Freud’s Last Session.  Freud, played by Martin Rayner, invites the young scholar CS Lewis, played by Mark H. Dold, to find out how someone who had been a rational atheist could be deluded into believing in the “myth” of Christianity. Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.’s book, The Question of God, influenced St. Germain to posit what might transpire between these strong individuals. Continue reading