(Charlestown) Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good is not about the importance of plays but the importance of fiction—dreams, ambitions, and fantasies—to the downtrodden. The convicts sent to the Australian penal colonies in 1788 have been dehumanized chiefly by circumstance. The play the officers have the felons put on gives them the dignity they could not find in lives led as thieves and prostitutes in England. The whole thing is an impressive meditation on how art fiercely alters perspective even if The Charlestown Working Theater’s production suffers peculiar pacing and lingering pauses. Continue reading →
Ancient Greek myths, when adapted to the stage, need not be built-up to be timely. The dissonance between myth and the modern era can be distracting in contemporary adaptations. If anything, here, the stories chosen from Ovid’s Metamorphoses are stripped down. The production has few props and no costumes, giving the ensemble room to breathe. Whistler in the Dark is the perfect sort of theater to spur to life the passions beneath the age-old Greek myths, which will surely please both casual and Classicist audiences. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) The end of war is something that is looked on as a celebratory event. Images of servicemen returning home, country’s flags being raised, and a collective sigh of relief from the population are the usual symbols that are associated with victory. There is however always a losing side in a war who must deal with a devastated homeland, a shamed or exterminated army, and the loss of everything their civilization was or could ever be. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) A lone girl sits amongst the dirt and potatoes of this agrarian society trying to chase away birds until she can try no more. Striving for more than mere existence in a world controlled by tradition and an inflexible economy often seems futile in the Fenland. Whistler In The Dark compels the audience to exist and hope with the characters for something more.
As the women in the play sing various choruses to songs, one is struck by the pure beauty in these women in this desolate place. One also struggles with the evisceration of these women as they give their lives and their souls to the land. With the assistance of Danny Bryck and an enormous amount of concentration, the actors speak with the flawless dialect of the British countryside. Each cast member plays multiple characters in this dark landscape. The main plot revolves around Val (Aimee Rose Ranger) who is trapped between her obligation to take care of her children and a desire for a better life in London with her lover. She takes no solace in the vices of the other local folk such as valium, religion, dreams, or masochism as she is constantly pulled in both directions. The one direction that she would want to go in, to London and a new life seems millions of miles away.