Nov 08

The Writing Is On The Wall: “New and Dangerous Ideas”

Sarah Leach, Phoenyx Williams, and Christopher Johnson in the world premiere of “New and Dangerous Ideas” by Christopher Johnson at The Wilbury Theatre Group. Photo by James Lastowski.

Presented by Wilbury Theatre Group
Written by Christopher Johnson
Directed by Josh Short

November 2nd through 18th, 2017
Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Ct
Providence, Rhode Island  02909
WTG on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Providence, Rhode Island)  Lately I’ve been listening to JAY’s most recent album 4:44 when I’m driving, and one of my favorite tracks is “Smile,” partly because of the following lyric:  A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson / Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin’.  JAY’s album – released in response to Beyoncé’s Lemonade – is a reflection of the current state of Black American manhood, and right now you can hear that same lyric echoed by Black men throughout all the creative spheres.  The two men starring in New and Dangerous Ideas were certainly grappling with the lessons that we all can learn from the losses of rampant racism. Continue reading

Nov 23

A Confused Classic: A Christmas Carol

Brian McEleney as Ebenezer Scrooge and the cast of the 35th annual production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapted by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, directed by Christopher Windom, presented by Cardi’s Furniture with supporting sponsor Amica Insurance. Performances will be November 18 - December 30 in the Chace Theater. Set design: Michael McGarty; Costume Design: William Lane; Lighting Design: John Eckert. Photo by: Mark Turek.

A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, original music by Richard Cumming, Trinity Repertory Company, 11/18/11-12/30/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ACC.php.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Providence, RI) At first glance, it seems easy to perform A Christmas Carol; just round up the usual characters from last year and dust off the crutch.  But staging a play that everyone knows can present a challenge because of audience dogma; everyone has an idea of the way the play should go. A director can be ridden out on a rail if s(he) strays too far from the collective idea of the play.

Confronted with such a double-edged sword, directors have two options.  They may either decide to stage the play faithfully, trying to bring out bits of nuance to keep theater-goers and actors from falling asleep, or stage the play in a new way that helps the audience examine why it has become such a cultural icon.  Continue reading

Jun 02

What’s On This Week: 2 June 2011

McCaela Donovan and members of the company in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, running May 6 - June 5 at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Tix/Info: 617-933-8600 or www.SpeakEasyStage.com. Photo: Stratton McCrady.

Since my students are graduating this week and then I’m off to New York, here’s one more week of what’s happening around this area. When I am back, I will share my reviews of the shows I’ve seen in New York; also, I hope to have articles for you on my obsession with Next to Normal and the Opera 101 piece that I have been planning.  (unless otherwise noted (POE @trinityrep), I do not know the quality of the productions, but find something you might enjoy and go see some theatre this weekend!)

Boston     Metro Boston
Rhode Island      Connecticut
Next to Normal Tour

Continue reading

Dec 14

A Warm, Affirming Life

It’s A Wonderful Life:  A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, Trinity Repertory Theatre, 12/3/10-1/2/11.

http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/MTM.php

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Resident acting company members Stephen Berenson, Anne Scurria, Timothy Crowe, Fred Sullivan Jr. and Angela Brazil in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play adapted by Joe Landry, co-directed by Curt Columbus and Tyler Dobrowsky. Set designs by Michael McGarty, lighting by John Ambrosone, costumes by Alison Walker Carrier. (photo: Mark Turek)

Trinity Rep brings a warm new tradition to its stage.  The endearing story of George Bailey receives new life in this stage adaptation by Joe Landry.  The production does not offer perfection, but it does offer a fun family night out.  Set in a 1940’s radio station, the talented five person cast portrays all of the main characters from the story.

The cast consists of the following acting company members:   Stephen Berenson, Angela Brazil, Timothy Crowe, Anne Scurria, and Fred Sullivan, Jr. who have proven themselves time and again in dozens of Trinity shows.  The play creates a challenge for the actors since the characters are linked with  iconic performances such as:  Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, and Henry Travers; however, the cast manages to uphold audience expectations while making the roles their own.  Continue reading

Nov 09

THE FARCE IS WITH HIM: An Interview with Brian McEleney

www.trinityrep.com

pictured (left to right): Fred Sullivan Jr., Brian McEleney, Anne Scurria and Mauro Hantman in Twelfth Night, directed by Brian McEleney at Trinity Rep. Set designs by Eugene Lee, costumes by William Lane, lighting by John Ambrosone. (Photo: Mark Turek)

by Becca Kidwell

In these harsh economic times, it is difficult to imagine having the same job at the same company for twenty-six years.  It is even more difficult to imagine having a theatre job for longer than the run of one show.  Brian McEleney of Trinity Rep has done both.  This year, he continues his joyful romp through life as director of Trinity Rep’s productions of Absurd Person Singular and The Crucible and actor in The Completely Fictional—Utterly True—Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe.

Although he did a few plays in high school, it was not until college when he started to think about a theatrical career.  As a senior at Trinity College (where one of his classmates was Anne Scurria—now a fellow company member), McEleney was accepted to Yale and “that convinced me that this could be a serious career, and I’ve done almost nothing else ever since.”  He first taught at Princeton University and The Bread Loaf School of English.  Since 1981, he has taught at Trinity Rep and is currently the head of acting for the Brown/Trinity M.F.A. Program.

With successful productions both in acting and directing, I ask him which he prefers:

“Hard to say which I like more; it’s kind of like asking which of your children is your favorite…  However, preproduction work as a director is tremendous fun — thinking about the play, imagining what the production should look and feel like, finding big ideas that will tie the whole thing together.  And also, when you’re directing, the dreaded labor of learning lines isn’t an issue.  However, after the play opens you’re pretty much done.  As an actor, I love the performing aspect — the fact that you get to do it eight times a week that you get a new chance every day to make it better and deeper.  I love the athletic aspect of acting that you always have to be doing your absolute best and giving the play to a new audience every night.” Continue reading