(Boston, MA) Choir Boy opens on a sole figure, David (Dwayne P. Mitchell), a student at the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School. He looks into the audience with intent as he begins to step dance. It is deliberate, slow and unaccompanied. The routine then increases in intensity and volume as more students appear. They flank the audience, on their way to the stage, with percussive dancing and chanting. Among the students, I noticed Bobby Marrow (Malik Mitchell) right away. He often seemed moments away from breaking into a joyous smile, mirroring my own.Continue reading →
(Boston) Make Up Your Mind was assembled by Nicky Silver from 11 drafts of an unfinished play written by Kurt Vonnegut. To repeat: this is a play by Kurt Vonnegut and edited by Nicky Silver. It was not thought up and written by Silver. To hear the complaints made about this show, one would think that it was written by meth addled donkeys. If there is fault (and there is), then the fault lies with Vonnegut who didn’t even get to finish the darn thing before his tragic death in 2007. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s focus on the fact that we get one more nugget of gold from our dearly departed author. Continue reading →
(Medford) The Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s Macbeth wraps itself in a pleasing 1920’s aesthetic. Opening in the midst of a funeral procession, Latin is chanted for a tiny coffin as the witches follow in nun habits. Lady Macbeth (Mara Sidmore) turns to hush them as the funeral ends and she sits down to listen to the radio. The effect of the historical displacement is gorgeous and creepily off-putting. Continue reading →
(Somerville, MA) It’s one thing for a young theater troupe to be ambitious, but it’s something else to watch the troupe succeed in its ambition.
In its early history, the Actors’ Shakespeare Project has decided to skip the low-hanging fruit of the Bard’s body of work and reach for some of his more obscure works. (Hands up for anyone who knows a single line from Troilus and Cressida, which the troupe performs in the spring.) Continue reading →
Actors’ Shakespeare Project continues to bring intelligible Shakespeare to Boston. One of Shakespeare’s most complicated plots of politics and passion, Antony and Cleopatra can leave Shakespeare neophytes confused and questioning. This production provides a clear path for understanding and appreciation of the text.
The backdrop, designed by Jeff Adelberg, looks like a collection of mattress coils that make up a wall. This suggestive detail reflects Antony’s decision-making processes. Antony is caught up in his love and does not recognize the ever-present threat of his fellow triumvirate colleague, Octavius. Octavius uses Antony’s distraction to destroy the triumvirate and become emperor of Rome. Continue reading →
Freudian analysis? A dream of Dali? Too much spicy food? These are questions the audience might ask while watching Hysteria. Using the real meeting between Freud and Dali as a starting point, Johnson’s play moves from farce to surrealism to nothingness. The Nora Theatre Company makes this strange journey palatable and pleasurable and masks the flaws of the script.
The exaggerated perspective of the set, Freud’s study, immediately tells the audience that something peculiar is going to happen. As the play unfolds, Janie E. Howland’s surrealistic set design matches the frenetic energy that is sent forth from the actors. No one questions the absurdity of the situations that take place because the cast commit fully to the roles that they play. Richard Sneed, as Freud, tries to hold the world together as it keeps trying to spiral out-of-control. His warm-fatherly nature combined with Freud’s philosophies moves the audience from sympathy for a dying man to anger at an intractable man that will not even admit the possibility that he might have erred. Continue reading →