Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

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Apr 08

“Dog Act” Has Bite

Presented by Theatre on Fire
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Diego Arciniegas

April 1 – 23, 2016
Charlestown Working Theater
ToF on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) Stories about the end of the world are often concerned with the survival of the individual against structures that have filled the void since the fabled downfall of society. This includes reality television death match enthusiasts (Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games), patriarchal cults with private harems (Mad Max: Fury Road), fight dome fans lead by Tina Turner (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome), and foul-mouthed, fur-wearing, belligerent tribes of wanderers. Dog Act looks not just at the individual, but the survival of art in a new North American wasteland. Continue reading

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Sep 26

Can’t Get No Satisfaction: THE SINGULARITY

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Presented by Science Fiction Theatre Company
By Crystal Jackson
Directed by Cait Robinson

Sept. 19 – Oct. 5, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
SF Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The moral of The Singularity is that if women don’t have access to the safe, affordable health care, they’ll do what they must to get it unaffordably and unsafely.  For example, if access to safe abortions is severely limited or denied outright that doesn’t mean that women won’t have abortions. It means that more women will die having unsafe, illegal abortions*. Playwright Crystal Jackson attacks the opposite of safe abortion in this comedy presented by Science Fiction Theatre Co. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Uneven Edits: CUT

Alyce Householter, Liz Rimar, Stewart Evan Smith Jr — photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre

Cut by Crystal Skillman, Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, 3/30/12-4/21/12, http://www.apollinairetheatre.com/ productions/productions.html, in repertory with Smudge by Rachel Axler.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea, MA) Reality programming might be so attractive to TV. watchers because its slick production values and clean edits hold out the hope that we can make some sense out of life. As the central protagonists of our own dramas, we want the chance for playbacks and edits to gain some introspection, or at least to come off looking good. But as the characters of Chelsea Theatre Works’ Cut learn, God is a lousy editor, and life doesn’t wrap up neatly when the cameras stop rolling.

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