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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May 18

Poe’s Existentialism by Gaslight

(L To R) Resident acting company members Brian McEleney and and Phyllis Kay with Brown/Trinity Rep MFA ’12 actor Charlie Thurston as Young Edgar Poe.in the world premiere of Stephen Thorne’s The Completely Fictional – Utterly True – Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Set Design by Susan Zeeman Rogers, Costume Design by William Lane and Lighting Design by Keith Parham. Photo by Mark Turek.

The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe by Stephen Thorne, Trinity Repertory Company, Dowling Theater, 5/6/11-6/11/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ST.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Something delightfully macabre is happening at Trinity Rep.  Even Edgar Allan Poe is beside himself–literally.  Stephen Thorne spins an atmospheric tale that combines true facts, speculation, and gothic fiction in his new play The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Trinity Rep’s world premiere entices the senses, questions reality, questions meaning, and ushers in a new form of ghost story.

Thorne’s play begins with Edgar Allan Poe in the hospital–unsure of how he got there but the attendants tell him he is dying.  Poe explores his own demise and tries to find meaning through the senses.  In the first act, he denies that he is dying and tries to discover Continue reading

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Oct 26

A Play of Imagination Leaves Little to Imagine

The Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher, Stoneham Theatre, 10/21/10-11/7/10

http://www.stonehamtheatre.org/

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Gianni Downs’ minimalistic scenery welcomes the audience to an atmospheric ghost story.  As the audience enters the theatre, they see a raked black stage with a single deep purple velvet chair and slight blue lighting on the stage.  However, the main focal point runs from the stage to the balcony—a collection of ropes tied off in waves across the ceiling that lead to ropes hanging down next to the chair.  I’m intrigued.  Upon reading the director’s notes in the program, I am enthusiastic to see her desire to honor Henry James’ preference to leave fear to the imagination.  Unfortunately, from the time the house lights go down to the curtain call, I see too much.  The heavy-handed interpretation of the director combined with exaggerated characterizations lead to a production that is only scary in that it does not trust its material or its audience. Continue reading

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