That Was The Week That Was, 3 March - 3 April '06"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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That Was The Week That Was

Monday 23 March - Thursday 13 April

PERSONAL NOTE:
LARRY STARK IS TAKING A WEEK OFF;
CAN'T SEE ANY PLAYS TILL 20 APRIL

I will be seeing the knee-surgeon Wednesday next, 19 April, to talk about remedies for increasing pain. Film at eleven.

Obviously, I have spent much too little time Writing about what I've Already Seen. This was supposed to catch me up.
Luckily, I found reasons to snap out a whole bunch of Real Reviews about shows I wanted to crow about. But even those present reasons for more commentary. So here I sit with my leg up and my heel on another chair, wincing as I try to stretch the quads that were split.
Let's see now .....

"Covered"

23 mar TALKING TO TERRORISTS Sugan Theatre Company BCA 30
24 mar BETRAYAL Devanaughn Theatre Company 31
25 mar BROOKLYN BOY SpeakEasy Stage Company BCA 32
26 mar A MORE PERFECT UNION Company One BCA 33
27 mar [ THE IRNE BASH Rotunda Room HOTEL LENOX ]
28 mar SLAMboston Another Country DEVANAUGH THEATRE 34
29 mar [ SLAMboston Another Country DEVANAUGHN THEATRE ]
30 mar THE MATERNAL INSTINCT Out of The Blue Th Co BPT 35
31 mar WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE Theatre On Fire CHARLESTOWN WKNG 36
1 apr MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG Longwood Players CAMB FAMILY YMCA TH 37
5 apr [The SONNETthon Shakespeare Now! BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY ]
7 apr WEST SIDE STORY Arlington Friends of The Drama 38

What A Week!!!!
(Okay, Three weeks...)

23 mar TALKING TO TERRORISTS Sugan Theatre Company BCA 30

My full review ("Talking to Terrorists") attracted this response from one of the actresses:
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 13:46:21 -0400
From: Geralyn Horton g.l.horton@mindspring.com
Subject: Am I invisible???
No victims of terrorism in Soans' play? I play two of them: Margaret Tebbit -- the one in the wheelchair-- and Lady Caroline, who describes the Brighton bombing that killed or crippled half of her closest circle of friends. And one could make a case that many of the terrorist characters were victims before they became terrorists.... And we don't close till April 8th, thannk you.
G.L. Horton
http://www.stagepage.info
And she's right. [G.L.Horton has stopped being the best theater critic in Boston to write her plays and to act.]
My review went awry when I talked to (LISTENED to is more like it) a fellow critic who objected that the Israeli experience of terrorism hadn't been reflected in this play. What often results when I talk about a play before getting to the keypad is that the review, rather than being a snapshot of what I saw, turns into an argument Against the other opinion --- which, of course, isn't even represented in the review. That's exactly what happened here. And it's a lousy review for exactly those reasons.
Sorrywise. Apologise!

24 mar BETRAYAL Devanaughn Theatre Company 31

I had seen this Pinter play two or maybe three times before, and I've seen great work from The Devanaughn Theatre and from Director Dani Duggan, but this production left me puzzled and cold. The set Duggan designed set two walls at right angles, each with a window with shutters. At the beginning of each scene, one of the four actors was spot-lit by Greg Jutkiewicz standing behind a window, and closing those shutters. The other actors and perhaps the Stage Manager and ASM made all the scene-changes quickly and efficiently in almost darkness, so the business with the shutters was a very impressive element.
And beyond that, I could find nothing else to talk about. The company seemed to take as given that Pinter's plays are Supposed To Be opaque. I waited a while, hoping some significant comment would crawl out of my brain; then I decided to keep the show for this TW3 column; then the damned knee put everything but pain right out of my mind.
Better luck next time...

25 mar BROOKLYN BOY SpeakEasy Stage Company BCA 32

I saw this show so late that I thought I could agree with most other reviewers that it was an excellent production of a very good play --- and then register a few things that distanced me from the show
In three very different productions of COLLECTED STORIES, I never felt that the two writers had to be Jewish. So since I already knew that this play involved the writer of an autobiographical novel meeting the real people he has made fiction out of, I hadn't expected the reactions of that "raw material" to involve so much of the Jewsih experience.
For me, then, the most impressive of these separate, mostly unique scenes was that involving Victor Warren playing the novelist and Debra Wise, playing the wife who though a writer herself is nowhere near as successful.
There was a hospital scene with David Kristin playing a not very enthusiastic father, followed by another with Ken Baltin as a very enthusiastic bar-mitzva buddy both flattered to turn up in a book yet grumpy because his former friend is too famous to bother renewing acquaintance. A subtext of the author necessarily deserting the old life he's used to make the book was also inextricable with his deserting his Jewishness as well.
The scene of the last nail in his marriage's coffin was followed by first a "groupie" (Joy Lamberton) also ambivalent about his orientation to her as his "public" and then an unreal Hollywod scene in which an over-the-top casting-director (Ellen Coulton) pushed Brad Young as an empty ex t-v cowboy for the lead in the filming of the novel. Luckily the final scene lead to reconcilliation of both Ken Baltin's character, the ghost of now-dead Dad, and the Jewish rituals of the writer's youth.
Adam Zahler directed this interesting play as though each scene were a play unto itself, letting a fine cast find the tensions in the breaking marriage, the silly satire of Hollywood cliche thinking, and both the pride yet the critcism with which the "models" approached the fictional mirror of the book. But, for me, these diamonds on a necklace were held together by little save their Jewish connection.
Audra Avery's set, showing Brooklyn outside the windows of a cancer hospital, was significant on another level: The SpeakEasy Stage Company is very comfortable in the smaller, Roberts playing-space in the Huntington Theatre's new Calderwood building next to the Boston Center for The Arts. The high-raked, wide rows full of spectators reminds me of The New Repertory Theatre's new quarters in Watertown Arsenal, and signals SpeakEasy's step up the ladder of Boston theater. Their polished productions of carefully chosen plays, and three and a half pages of donor-acknowledgements in their programs, put them eyeball-to-eyeball with The Lyric Stage of Boston as a significant Boston contender.
And by that I mean that theatres at All Levels here are finding the talent and the means to do better and better work every year.

26 mar A MORE PERFECT UNION Company One BCA 33

I lost this review. I wrote over and erased it before uploading it into The Mirror. And it was a pretty good review of a GREAT show. I owe you, and everyone connected with this show, a sincere apology.
I only remember bits of it.
I characterized Kristin Greenidge's style as a playwright as resembling a shattered mirror, with bright bits, big and small, scattered across the stage, with the action skipping from shard-to-shard through the evening until the shape of the whole emerges. She handled four examples of injustice here each based on misunderstandings, all of them painful, one of them disastrous.
I reminded people that Company One tackles shows that require complicated visual presentation --- and they always turn out polished, "finished" productions. In this case, a wall of background-projections not only set scenes and provided expressionist atmosphere, but at one point presented snippets of news-film or documentary --- and all of this was beautifully handled.
One really great thing about this show was that at least half the cast were school kids, mostly playing their real ages, yet every person came onstage as a completely rounded character involved in whatever action was at hand.
You can't see this wonderful play anymore, and you can't even read my review of it either. All I can say is Whenever COMPANY ONE does a show, GO!

27 mar [ THE IRNE BASH Rotunda Room HOTEL LENOX ]

I think this year we finally had an IRNE Party that everyone enjoyed as much as I always do.

28 mar SLAMboston Another Country DEVANAUGH THEATRE 34
29 mar [ SLAMboston Another Country DEVANAUGHN THEATRE ]

Yes, I saw the show twice. I told everyone I'd be there for the first show, and then my friend Playwright Sharon Shipley told me she'd be in town, and I decided this eight-play contest would introduce her (she's living near Seattle) to The Very Best that Boston Theater has to offer, in the smallest package. She got to be one of the judges, we got to talk some over late dinner, and I've already put my bid in for the SUPERslam the 18th and 19th of May. (I'll see you there, won't I?)

30 mar THE MATERNAL INSTINCT Out of The Blue Th Co BPT 35

This play was in the process of evoving. So was myreview

31 mar WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE Theatre On Fire CHARLESTOWN WKNG 36

My review here was brief but forceful. I intended to expand in this TW3, but muffed it. However BEVERLY CREASEY elaborated quite effectively with her own review.

1 apr MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG Longwood Players CAMB FAMILY YMCA TH 37
"Merrily We Roll Along"

What a great way to begin the month!

5 apr [The SONNETthon Shakespeare Now! BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY ]

Finally made it! The accoustics and sight-lines in the basement lecture-hall of the BPL are wonderful, so even the smallest voices of the youngest readers are easy to hear. There are often histrionics, some props, people divide between Readers and Memorizers, a couple poems were translated into French or Italian --- Thank you Linda Lowy of SHAKESPEARE NOW! for organizing and initiating this annual event, and thank you Jonathan Epstein for commentary and asides that keep Wilm Shaxpy very much our contemporary! I'm sorry it took me so long to get here, but I'm eager to try again next year!

7 apr WEST SIDE STORY Arlington Friends of The Drama 38 "West Side Story"

Opening night and most of the other nights of this show were sold-out before I even got to the theatre! A realy well-deserved success all round.

Love,
===Anon.

This is, to date, a preview of
WHERE WILL LARRY BE?

But: Where Larry WON'T be:

PERSONAL NOTE:
LARRY STARK IS TAKING A WEEK OFF;
CAN'T SEE ANY PLAYS TILL 20 APRIL

20 apr "The Man Who..." Nora Theatre, BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS'
22 apr "All's Well That Ends Wll" A.S.P. @ CAMBRIDGE Y
18 may SUPERslamBOSTON! Another Country @ DEVANAUGHN
9 jun "Once Upon A Matress" Animus Ensemble @ BCA

Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |