Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

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Oct 14

Bad Behavior Porn: GOD OF CARNAGE

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Kyle Fabel

September 19th – Oct. 13, 2013
The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) We are usually mired in the mundane of everyday, and we can’t see movement in our own internal characters. That’s why we tend to want some movement in the characters we see on stage. In a good play, a protagonist cannot be the same in the end as she was in the beginning; she must at least gain some scars from experience. The rare exception is a script that goes for the meditative study of a character, as if peeling back layers of a soul like an onion. To pull this off, the author must have deep sympathy for both the character and the human condition, and it’s a narrower road to tread. Continue reading

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Nov 27

Charm and Spirit: “Sunset Blvd”

Photo credit: Pentucket Players, Inc

presented by Pentucket Players, Inc.
Sunset Boulevard

Book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the 1950 film of the same title
Movie directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, produced and co-written by Charles Brackett

Rogers Center for the Arts
Merrimack College
North Andover, MA
Review is based on the performance of Nov. 24 at 8pm.
Performances ran Nov. 16 – 24, 2012
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(North Andover) Sunset Boulevard is based on the classic 1950 American noir film directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It is named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. William Holden played unlucky screenwriter Joe Gillis. Screen legend Gloria Swanson starred as the silent film star Norma Desmond. She ensnares Gillis with the luxury and excess only oodles of money can buy. What starts as an opportunity to reclaim their successes ends in tragedy for both. Continue reading

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