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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Dec 13

“Faithless”: Waiting Room Family Reunion

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
Written by Andrew Joseph Clarke
Directed by Stephen Pick

December 8-18, 2016
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) The holidays are a good time of year to be surrounded by family. Holidays are also a good time of year to be reminded how much you hate being surrounded by family. Family reunions of any kind can be awkward, but provide the perfect landscape for tension to explode and for secrets to be revealed. And a hospital waiting room is where playwright Andrew Joseph Clarke decided to explore this dynamic in Faithless. Continue reading

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Sep 20

Jordan Needs a Xanax and a Snuggle: “Significant Other”

vanessa-shower-with-nsfw-props

Photo Credit: Justin Saglio; Penises at the Hen Party. Penis. Penis. Penis.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Paul Daigneault

Sept. 9 – Oct. 8, 2016
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MASignificant Other (SO) is Sondheim’s Company is the music were stripped, and Bobby was made both gay and genuinely likable. The percentage of justifiable choreography remains equal between the two shows. The set design is similarly simple. The scene transitions are more facile. All in all, based entirely on sympathetic characters alone, Significant Other is the more pleasant viewing choice. Whether this is true for you depends upon your own theatrical preferences. Continue reading

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Nov 03

Appropriating the Habits of Rabbits: “Casa Valentina”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Harvey Fierstein
Directed by Scott Edminston

Oct. 24 – Nov. Nov. 28, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MACasa Valentina is about men who relax by appropriating women’s culture,  and feminine identity. This cutting play by Harvey Fierstein examines the subversive transvestite subculture of the mid-1950’s. According to the healthily robust dramaturgy notes by Maureen Dezell, men would don wigs, hose and dresses to enjoy a quaint weekend in the Catskills. These men unwind from their rigid gender roles with a tube of lipstick and a stiff drink amidst the glory of the New York state. Suffice to say, this is not a production for conservative types with traditional notions of what is or is not acceptable behavior for men. Tread wisely. Continue reading

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Aug 04

“Translations” and Tribulations

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Brian Friel
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

August 2-17, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Cultural erasure and the silencing power of colonialism—Translations is not a play that minces words. It’s a tragedy of linguistics. During the 19th century, the English army seeks to map out the Irish countryside, specifically the town of Baile Beag. In order to have unified names for the maps they draw, the soldiers end up Anglicizing the Gaelic names of rivers, roads, and mountain ridges. Staged by Bad Habit Productions, this play rages at the disappearance of local tradition in the name of Imperialism. Continue reading

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