Aug 28

Genre-Flexible “Winter’s Tale” Becomes a Summer Fantasia in Nathan Tufts Park

unnamed
Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

August 14-30, 2015
Nathan Tufts Park (aka Powderhouse Park) in Somerville, MA
BRING A BLANKET and/or LAWN CHAIRS
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Maiden Phoenix gamely takes on one of the strangest of Shakespeare’s late period work. In the style of King Lear, Leontes (Juliet Bowler) comes to distrust his loved ones to the horror of his court. His queen, Hermione (Cassandra Meyer), is accused of adultery, their son, Mamillius (a hilariously bro-y Caroline Rose Markham), is separated from his mother, and a baby is abandoned on a hillside to be devoured by the wild. Then, suddenly, when a man “exits” the stage pursued by bears, the story transforms. The Winter’s Tale leaves aside its devastating tragedy and the king’s “too hot, too hot” anger in favor of a pastoral comedy. From this point on, the story flows together like a series of dreams. This peculiar shift suits not only more optimistic fare but the theatre group’s choice of setting, a green, fairy tale-like staging in Nathan Tufts Park. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Nov 18

Emotional Complexity on a Beige Stage: THE TROJAN WOMEN

trojan ladiesPresented by Theatre@First
Written by Euripides
Translated by Edith Hamilton
Directed by J. Deschene

Nov. 14-22, 2014
Unity Church of Somerville
Somerville, MA
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this play and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow this to taint their review.

 

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Margaret Atwood

(Somerville, MA) The Trojan Women was first produced in 415 BCE but might as well have been written last year. In it, the women of Troy (now Turkey) are grieving over their beloved fallen city, and the men who have died defending the city from the Greeks. Euripides so captured the trauma of a country torn by war, that his play has been made into a very famous 1971 film (featuring the alluring Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba, a brave and unusual choice) and has survived several adaptations and manipulations. The translation by Edith Hamilton remains the most popular for staging. The movie featuring Hepburn, Irene Papas, and Vanessa Redgrave, etc. is a classic. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Mar 17

“What Once We Felt” Feels Undercooked

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ann Marie Healy
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 14 – 22, 2014
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) What Once We Felt is science fiction that distills contemporary anxieties into a thinly veiled future.  The bedrock of Ann Marie Healy’s dystopia, which premieres in Boston for the first time, is literary digitization, a bleak economy with a suppressed lower class, deplorable health care conditions, iPhone obsessions, and some unlikely but remarkable advances in artificial insemination. The play will make an excellent artifact of our age group.  Though the mask this society wears to disguise its relation to our own is transparent, so is the world-building and the logic behind a woman-only, caste-system culture.  The mechanics are questionable, but the anti-utopian horror that Flat Earth Theatre creates is sublimely creepy. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Jun 25

Sometimes A Snuggle is Just A Snuggle: “The Baltimore Waltz”

The Baltimore Waltz

presented by Theatre@First
by Paula Vogel
directed by Kamela Dolinova

June 20 – 29, 2013
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: This production contains graphic but hilarious simulations of sexual acts, and bastardizations of European clichés.

(Somerville) As a playwright, Paula Vogel has the unique opportunity to dedicate herself to exploring and understanding her brother Carl’s end of life circumstances. Carl tragically died of AIDS. Rather than use the written word to metaphorically weep bitterly and openly, Vogel instead channeled her uncommon sense of humor and tender affections for Carl into The Baltimore Waltz, an ode to love, loss and healing.

In the context of the play, Anna has contracted Acquired Toilet Disease (ATD). In “real life,” outside the context of Anna’s fictional imagination, Carl has contracted AIDS. By narrating a character living with a pretend disease created for comic relief, playwright Paula Vogel examines the urgency of life through the lens of incurable disease.While her characters “dance” through a trippy, Noir-influenced trip to Europe, life as we know it continues with its disastrous choreography. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience