Oct 03

Fair is Foul. Foul is Fair*: “Rev. 23: A Hellish, Farcical Opera”

Photo by Kathy Wittman; keep on rockin’ on, kids.

Presented by White Snake Projects
Creator and libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Composed by Julian Wachner
Directed by Mark Streshinsky
Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya
Dramaturgy by Cori Ellison
Choreography by Yury Yanowsky

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Boston, MA
White Snake Projects on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”
Revelation 21:23Bible, New International Version  (NIV)

(Boston, MA) White Snake Projects is giving the BLO a run for their money. It’s my sincere hope that artists and their audience will watch the works of both companies but, if one has to choose, WSP may be the winner in the competition for attendees. Its edgy productions are worth the commitment. Continue reading

Jul 29

These Violent Delights: “Romeo & Juliet”

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allegra Libonati

July 19 – August 6, 2017
Boston Common
Boston, MA
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

Romeo and Juliet is like an old jalopy: if you want it to run, you need to know where to kick it, when to kick it, and how hard to kick it. Unfortunately, I really don’t think that director Allegra Libonati has the formula down (and not for lack of trying). Continue reading

Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
NSMT on Facebook

BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
Continue reading

Jun 06

Beyond the Bard: “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)”

WRTDesJul

Photo back to front: Victoria George, Lily Odekirk, Marta Rainer* AEA*

Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre
Written by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Directed by Nora Hussey

May 26 – June 26
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesley, MA
WRT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Wellesley, MA) Having just recently completed my own Doctorate in Shakespeare, I can relate deeply to the struggles of Constance Ledbelly, the heroine of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).  To those who spend any amount of time studying Shakespeare’s works, the bard’s characters become constant companions; roommates, lovers, friends; nearly corporeal in their presence in our lives.  They haunt us; whispering echoes of themselves on loop day and night; and sometimes (if we are very lucky) revealing secrets of themselves only to us.  These secrets we prize at a worth beyond compare for they are the true goal of such study. Continue reading

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

Nov 10

Floating Above the Fray: ETHER DOME

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Elizabeth Egloff
Directed by Michael Wilson

Oct. 17 – Nov. 23rd
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) The biopic or docudrama is a mainstay of the flatscreen and the silver screen, but it doesn’t get nearly as much play on stage. In theory, it should, as these types of stories appeal to those who want to learn something while they are being entertained, and that would seem to include the well-educated who can afford to go to the theatre on a regular basis. But even Shakespeare’s straight-up docudramas, the Henrys and such, don’t do as much business as Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing. Continue reading

Oct 21

Rage Against the Love Machine: ROMEO AND JULIET

http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/sites/default/files/gallery/Stratton_McCrady_201310010235.jpg?download=1

Stratton McCrady Photography 2013

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Co-directed by Bobbie Steinbach and Allyn Burrows

October 2nd – November 3rd, 2013
The Strand Theatre
Dorchester (Boston), MA
Actor’s Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) We are so insane for love that we co-opt works of art that vilify love and turn them into romantic propaganda.  It happens with every generation.  I grew up with The Police song “Every Breath You Take” as the best love song of 1983, even though it was clearly about a stalker

Romeo and Juliet has become a stand-in for romance, so much so that Bugs Bunny and Pepe LePew could do the balcony scene and 4-year-olds would get the joke.  But while any college freshman with a dye job can enjoy the irony that this iconically romantic story could easily be considered a black comedy, few theatre companies can stage “R + J” productions that can cut through the “Will U Be Mine” ethos we smear on the play. Continue reading

May 21

Troubled Flight for “Icarus”

With Austin Auh and Corianna Moffatt. Photo courtesy of Liars & Believers Facebook Page.

Presented by Liars & Believers
Directed by Faye Dupras

May 17 & 18, 2013 (Grab tickets while you can!)
Cambridge YMCA Theater in Central Square
Cambridge, MA
Liars & Believers Facebook Group

Gillian Daniels

Liars and Believers’ Icarus is a wobbly production, a Depression Era circus fable that limps when it pushes hard to soar.  Like a small bird, the show is both endearing but weak.  Its flourishes are strong: puppets, bluegrass, and robots.  The result gives the audience a series of intriguing set pieces but nothing that really coalesces into a grand story.

Jason Slavick packs a lot into the show, the separate parts fluid and vibrant.  The lead-up to the play itself includes burlesque and music, giving the centerpiece, Minnie Minoseczeck’s Menagerie of Marvels, a vaudevillean glamour.  The trimmings for the circus are convincing, complete with posters promising a minotaur and a flying woman, Penny (Corianna Moffatt). Continue reading

Sep 01

Two Hours of Sweet Traffic: ROMEO AND JULIET

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Still Harbor, Dorchester 8/31/12-9/2/12
As well as other performances along the Eastern Shore through 9/14/12

Brown Box Theatre Project
Brown Box Theatre Project Facebook Page

Directed by Kyler Tausten
Fight Choreographer: Conor Olmstead

Review by Craig Idlebrook

What are your evening plans this weekend?  Cancel them.  I’ve got a Shakespeare play for you.

Wait, no, I’m serious.  I can hear the arguments now from the Bard-haters: long-winded speeches, posturing on stage, something fit for academic halls.  But that’s why you’ve got to drop what you’re doing and see the Brown Box Theatre breathe some life into the dusty folios with a no-frills, fast-paced production of Romeo and JulietContinue reading

Aug 25

What If? Racial Diversity in “Romeo and Juliet”

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene II

Photo Credit: Happy Medium Theatre

Director: Paula Plum
Dance Choreographer: Kiki Samko
Fight Choreographer: Angie Jepson

Happy Medium Theatre Company
Happy Medium Theatre Co. Facebook Page

Exposé by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre (HMT) took a risk: it cast a black Romeo against a white Juliet (who had excellent chemistry by the by). Bravo HMT for having the chutzpah for casting biracially! Bravo for making your audience ask “what if?” What if Romeo had been a Moore like Othello? What if Juliet had fallen in love with her Romeo and the resulting drama was a result over their family names and not the color of their skin? What if their love was measured against all other loves and found to be equal? What if HMT’s version of Romeo and Juliet was the version that had been performed for centuries rather than the typical all White cast? Topical questions for 2012: What if, indeed.

In a time when the Supreme Court system cannot make up its mind as to whether marriage is a religious or a civil rights issue, HMT’s production forces us to take a look at the history of love. Just 15 years ago one wouldn’t see a biracial couple on daytime TV much less a reproduction of Shakespeare. It is time for all love to be measured by its inherent worth on the streets. It is also time for the shock to be amputated from love that exists outside the norm on the stage. If it has been acceptable for a 13-year-old girl to marry a 17-year-old boy for hundreds of years then it is certainly time for that couple to reflect its audience members.

As artists, we have an obligation to entertain and educate our audience, an obligation to leave our audience in better condition after the show than before it starts. It is our privilege as enthusiasts to create theater with our community. Thank you Happy Medium Theater Company for taking the opportunity to be poignant and to pose difficult questions. Thank you for being brave. Bravi tutti!

Performances ran August 10-25, 2012 at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts,
537 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116