Sep 19

Expect More From Professionals: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

© T Charles Erickson Photography

© T Charles Erickson Photography

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Stage directed by Peter DuBois
Music directed by Jonathan Mastro
Choreographed by Daniel Pelzig

Sept. 11 – Oct. 11, 2015
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If you haven’t been dead the past few months, then you’ve heard about Patti LuPone snatching a cell phone an unforgivably rude patron during a no doubt exceptional performance of Shows for Days. Her act is being lauded as bravery in the face of a horrendous etiquette breach. I agree. I also believe that theatre patrons should be shushed by managements for conversing during theatre performances. Rolled up newspapers or spray bottles would suit purposes very well. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Jan 12

Happily Ever After A Few Slip Ups: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Jessica Stone
Based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin

Jan. 2 – Feb. 1, 2015
BU Theatre
Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Boston has seen a lot of brilliantly performed Chekhov and Chekhov-adjacent theatre in the past two years. His dramatic writing style is sadistic and depressive,  yet he inspires new generations anyway. The Russian tragedian also wrote comedy. He wrote several handfuls of short, comedic plays and an anthology worth of short stories.

There’s a tie in between the Huntington’s 2014 production of The Seagull and the 2015 production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (VSMS). Durang’s “corny but sincere” play touches the soul similarly as The Seagull but does so with a vastly different effect; It warms the heart rather than chill the bones. It’s an entirely different beast using the same moving parts and ingredients. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Apr 02

Chekov in a Blender: STUPID FUCKING BIRD

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By Aaron Posner
Adapted by Chekhov’s The Seagull
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

March 28th – April 26th, 2014
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea) Merriam-Webster offers this definition of “mash-up”:
something created by combining elements from two or more sources: as
a :  a piece of music created by digitally overlaying an instrumental track with a vocal track from a different recording
b :  a movie or video having characters or situations from other sources
c :  a Web service or application that integrates data and functionalities from various online sources

You’ll notice that the good ol’ M-W doesn’t include theater in its definition, which means Apollinaire Theatre’s staging of “Stupid Fucking Bird” kind of groundbreaking.  Take a ponderous Russian classic,  “The Seagull”, make it all meta and silly, and you have this imaginative and unconventional play.  Mash-ups usually are 5 minutes long and viewed on YouTube; this play clocks in at a cool 2 hours and a half with a pair of intermissions. My friends, that’s a mash-up that shows some guts. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Mar 14

Touch a Dead Bird, Wash Your Hands: THE SEAGULL

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
By Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Maria Aitken

March 7 – April 6, 2014
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Chekhov intended The Seagull play to be a comedy. He wrote a famous letter to his friend Suvorin on October 21, 1895 describing his intent and further elaborated that Seagull would defy the conventions of theatre. No kidding. It is a comedy for the same reasons Springtime for Hitler is a comedy. The one exception being that no Roger DeBris character arrives to save us from our sensibilities. To sum up, without Roger, The Seagull is a drama about people being terrible to each other while lamenting their own misery. In Russia. While discussing the theatrical arts. It isn’t very funny (unless you’re a sadist). What it is, is deeply depressing. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 12

We’re All Seagulls Here: THE NINA VARIATIONS

We're all seagulls here. All the best people are.

We’re all seagulls here. All the best people are. Photo courtesy of Brown Bos Theatre Project Facebook Page.

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
by Stephen Dietz
Directed by Kyler Taustin

Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
May 9-12 & 16-19, 2013

Ocean City Center for the Arts
502 94th St
Ocean City, MD
Maryland: June 8-11
Brown Box Theatre Project Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

The Nina Variations is a strange little nugget of show presented for the approval of Anton Chekhov devotees. The plot re-imagines the last scene of The Seagull 42 different ways. It manifests on stage all possible and impossible permutations of the final scene. Three different actresses playing Nina and one actor as Boris Trigorin examine all aspects of the couple’s “love story” (Is this how people in love treat each other? Really? Ok, fine.). The result is a live fanfiction demonstration wrapped in a buttery layer of honed acting technique. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Dec 17

Enduring Marriage: HALF N’ HALF N’ HALF

Carol Halstead, Zoë Winters, Andrew Pastides and Jim Ortlieb. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Carol Halstead, Zoë Winters, Andrew Pastides and Jim Ortlieb. Photo by Meghan Moore.

by John Kolvenbach
directed by Kyle Fabel

Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
November 29th – December 23rd, 2012
Merrimack Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) It is frustrating to see a craftsman like playwright John Kolvenbach run rings around pedestrian writers.  His play Half n’ Half n’ Half shows that he understands how a play functions on a deep level and that he could write in any genre he chooses, from The Seagull to Lend Me a Tenor.  Kolvenbach toys with the audience in several genres with this comedy, while demonstrating his near-mastery of them all.  This is more than an exercise in play writing, however.  Throughout this script of multiple plays, Kolvenbach is able to document how a lifetime romantic commitment often drives us to need to be committed. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience