ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady
(Cambridge, MA) Richard II is not about a Danish prince languishing over a ghost’s warnings or an elderly king like Lear, mad with grief due to age and family strife. No, this is a story about the abuses of power and a complex man who both understands why he must give up his throne but is honest enough to admit to himself that he just really, really doesn’t want to. Continue reading →
(Somerville) Because Shakespeare has become the standard by which Western theatre is judged, we often forget that the man first had to feel his way in the dark, just like every other art school wannabe. Two Gentlemen of Verona, believed by some to be the Bard’s first play, shows frustrating snatches of his future brilliance. All his trademark comedic pieces are there (cross-dressing women, inconstant lovers and the amazing power of the wilderness to right all wrongs), but this script reads like the man was working on deadline. Themes are picked up and discarded, wordplay only sporadically catches fire and a plot point in the final act makes you want to bang Shakespeare’s head against the floorboards and scream, “Rewrite!” Continue reading →
(Watertown) It’s become trickier to discuss racism in the post-2008 election era than it was before. We have elected a black president, many hope to say, and that is enough.
Leave it to troublemaking playwright David Mamet to clear his throat amid the quiet in 2009 with his biting and succinct dramatic comedy, Race, now being performed by the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. His play refuses to rest on recent racial gains, instead showing the trouble beneath the surface, the kind
that otherwise is obscured unless a police officer arrests a Harvard professor or a neighborhood watchman shoots an unarmed teen. Mamet’s script sparks necessary dialogue about an uncomfortable subject, but the flawed storyline of the play, combined with uneven execution by New Rep’s cast, misses the opportunity to create deeper understanding of inherent social inequality. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) There are two major ways to connect audiences to Shakespeare, despite the tricky language: you can glitz up the production so theatergoers don’t realize their brains are doing heavy-lifting (a la Baz Luhrmann’s seizure-inducing Romeo and Juliet) or make sure you serve up quality and let the script speak for itself. Tina Packer consistently has chosen the second option in her body of work. Continue reading →
(Watertown, MA) Art is…well, about art–the styles, philosophies, the impact on the individual. When a person creates a work of art, using quality tools always helps in creating a quality piece (although that’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting works of art made from found objects). Antonio Ocampo-Guzman starts with some of the finest: a brilliant script and a trio of Boston talent. Without any deeper analysis, those are two reasons to see the show. The problem with art, as the play postulates, is that art is subjective and will not necessarily be seen the same through the same lens by each person. Continue reading →
Luke (Dan Roach, left) slips in a prayer before breakfast with his partner Adam (Will McGarrahan) in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Next Fall, running now thru Oct. 15 Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas à Kempis
(Boston, MA) Moments pass in a heartbeat. All that’s left is waiting…waiting in hope…waiting in fear; the only choice is waiting together or waiting alone. Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts does not try to moralize or condescend; it leaves its audience with the hope that love will transcend all differences. The friends and family of the comatose Luke see the world through different viewpoints but connect at the core of their being–in love. Continue reading →
How do you fit the story of a ten year war into a night of entertainment? First, take a familiar piece of material; second, get two talented actors; third, have Actor’s Shakespeare Project produce it. Many students have struggled with The Illiad in school. Jon Lipsky reinvents Homer’s story of the epic battle of Troy. Continue reading →