That Was The Week That Was --- 2 - 16 December '06"

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The Weird Weeks That Were

2 - 16 December

Excuses, excuses...!
14 May

The orthopods say I'm the only patient they've ever had that required a SECOND Arthroscopy after a knee replacement. I'm also the only one (obviously) bitching that the knee, if anything, hurts Worse AFTER the "proceedure" than it did before. But at least they changed the Vicodin (which I call "placebo") for Percocet, one of which will allow me to walk to and from the subway when seeing shows. Now, those facts may have Nothing Whatever to do with the more unfortunate fact that I have not been able to write reviews of everything I have been seeing for, oh, months now. So let me glance quickly through the work I have not so much ignored as sadly neglected in the past. The important point is, there are always things No One should neglect.
SO:

SHOWS SEEN:
29 mar SMOKE AND MIRRORS Zero Point DURREL HALL YMCA 36 30 mar [ LIFT Emerson Stage ]
31 mar TITUS ANDRONICUS Actors' Shakespeare Project THE GARAGE 37
=====APR=====
1 apr [ BOYS OF WINTER Veterans for Peace JIMMY TINGLE'S OFF BROADWAY ] 4 apr [ SONNETthon Shakespeare NOW! BPL ] 38
5 apr THE PASSION ACCORDING TO G.H. Pilgrim BCA
6 apr DANCING AT LUGHNASA The Way BCA 40
7 apr [ AMERICAN REX New Play Development Series FOOTLIGHT CLUB ]
7 apr 409 EDGECOMBE AVENUE Up You Mighty Race BCA 41
12 apr THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, TEX. Oxford St Players LESLEY U 42
13 apr DISTANT MUSIC The Image Theater OLD COURT PUB Lowell !!!!!! 43
14 apr [ THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE (Reading) Footlight 7A Series ]
14 apr THE CONQUEST OF THE SOUTH POLE Molasses Tank Productions Chastn Work 44
16 apr [ THE DEVIL'S TEACUP Playwrights' Theatre (Reading) ]
19 apr [SIC] The Devanaughn Theatre Company 45
20 apr VALHALLA Zeitgeist BCA
21 apr EINSTEIN'S DREAMS Underground Railway 46
23 apr [ SET IN SAND Boston Playwrights' Theatre Reading ]
27 apr THE WILD PARTY The New Repertory Company 47
=====MAY=====
4 may TWO ROOMS Theatre On Fire CHARLESTOWN WORKING 48
5 may THE HEART OF HAPPY HOLLOW Roxbury Repertory Theater ROXBURY COMM.COLL. 49
6 may THE SECRET GARDEN Turtle Lane Playhouse 50
9 may DAVID, THE MUSICAL L.C.M. Productions BCA
10 may ACTION JESUS Out of The Blue/Green Shoe BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' 52
11 may SHE LOVES ME Concord Players 53

SHOWS COVERED:
[NOTE:
These will be brief notes of a quite personal nature about some things I can't believe I've said nothing about so far. That does NOT mean shows listed Above that are not noted Below are any less interesting; only that I'm trying to remember things I should have said. Okay?]
Here Goes:

31 mar TITUS ANDRONICUS Actors' Shakespeare Project THE GARAGE 37
This was certainly a landmark production that proves A.S.P. is indeed a major theatrical force of national importance. The play is all over-the-top blood-soaked extremes, and most companies can't stomach the idea of producing it. In brief, the director reduced just about everything to stylizations, played the first half as full-out grand-guignol grizly --- then turned the even farther-out second half into almost a parody of that extreme style. I loved every minute of it/

1 apr [ BOYS OF WINTER Veterans for Peace JIMMY TINGLE'S OFF BROADWAY ]
Applause for Jimmy Tingle, who found an afternoon in his theatre's schedule, and then read a major role in this meditation on war in general, Vietnam in particular. [The brackets indicate a reading] and usually I wouldn't review an unfinished play. In this case, I think the show will grow up to be a movie, not a stage-play. But its heart is solidly in the right place, and it deserves its day. I hope it Does grow up, soon.

19 apr [SIC] The Devanaughn Theatre Company 45
Devanaughn Theatre Company's director, Rose Carlson, likes to play with the performance space. Here Melissa James Gibson's play centered on the foyer from which three apartments opened ... and Timothy Spencer her designer provided three clear-plastic doors through which Amanda Good Hennessey, Ben Lambert, and Michael Steven Costello could go, either to converse with one another, or to get away from one another. (He even managed a fire-escape on which all three could cram themselves for one scene.) The play was Very New York, breezily set in Spring 2007, episodic and inconclusive and, I thought at least, a laugh riot. The audience that night, though, didn't. Didn't laugh, I mean. I still wonder, Why Not???

21 apr EINSTEIN'S DREAMS Underground Railway 46
A group called "Catalyst Collaborative" at MIT combined with the Underground Railway company to produce this adaptation of an apparently weird novel by Alan Lightman. The show ended up in the highly physical style enjoyed by both Underground Railway and adapter/director Wesley Savick. The collaboration seriously suggested that, once Underground and The Nora Company and MIT get their new theater-space built in Central Square, a style of theater worthy of takling concepts out of modern physics and science may grow up there. Certainly the cast (Steven Barkheimer, Debra Wise, Robert Najarian, and accordionist/composer Evan Harlan) proved eagerly open-minded and as inventive as their director. These are people who enjoy taking risks, and the results were stunning.

27 apr THE WILD PARTY The New Repertory Company 47
The show I saw press-night isn't the one you will see. That night Marla Mindelle couldn't perform, and understudy Aimee Doherty stepped up from the chorus, and into history.
One reason I didn't review the show may have been that I saw the competing version (by I think John LaChiusa?) a couple years back. That, and a habit of book/music/lyrics-maker Andrew Lippa of letting two, or three, or four different characters stand singing competing words at the same time --- which meant I could understand None of them.
But what blew my mind was all the spectacular choreography by Kelli Edwards --- who stepped into Aimee Doherty's chorus-part for the night. This is big, stage-filling masses of moving bodies, and excellent detailing. I think I counted about fifteen spectacularly flying lifts done by Ilyse Robbins alone. She and Betsy Adkins as Dance Captains each commanded a cohort of dancers, all grinning with the sheer joy of dance. (And it's still playing. GO!)

4 may TWO ROOMS Theatre On Fire CHARLESTOWN WORKING 48
Damn. This show is still running, and it deserves a full review.

5 may THE HEART OF HAPPY HOLLOW Roxbury Repertory Theater ROXBURY COMM.COLL. 49
Roxbury Community College is two and a half subway-stops down Columbus Avenue from where I live --- not quite walking-distance --- and now they have a resident company. This turned out to be a sort of "reader's theatre" production: six or seven stories by Paul Laurence Dunbar, read and performed, often with the "he saids" left in. Of the three cooperating directors, Abigail Kazlousky and Kate Digby were dancers, who fitted the minimal-props bare-stage simple-costumes cast with precisely chosen repetitious movements that weren't exactly dance, but fit the subjects flawlessly. Marshall Hughes, the company's Artistic Director, gave each of Dunbar's stories its due, stressing a minimal approach for which Mark Vanderzee's splashes of brooding color etched each figure in light or in silhouette.
Like a lot of the productions on this stage, one aim of the production was to educate --- both college and high-school students, but me as well --- about Black history. The fact that this show was so excellent artisically was an added plus. And I must point out that Robbie McCauley (who will direct THE CRUCIBLE for their next production), reading a selection in the persona of a man, was the star of an excellent cast of performers.

6 may THE SECRET GARDEN Turtle Lane Playhouse 50
I popped in a little late for this show, but what struck me immediately was that Designer John MackKenzie had "framed" the show in such a way that everything had a slightly unreal, slightly magical feel. That feeling fits this show perfectly --- and it's still running. (The kids I saw were excellent as well. All in all, a charming, moving show indeed.)

10 may ACTION JESUS Out of The Blue/Green Shoe BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' 52
Some of you know I'm something of a religion-collector (though I "believe" in None Of Them), so when Leslie Harrell Dillen began her personal monologue speaking flippantly/seriously about religion-seminars, inner-searching, meditation and guru-priests, I was truly hooked. But the boundless, effortless energy with which this red-headed gamine bounced and flitted about the stage (in Puma's) personifying everyone during a self-finding worldly retreat back to the New York of her '50s youth was the genuine delight of the evening. She divided the uninterrupted show into four weeks, each dominated by a different theme, and went shopping or partying on a nearly bare stage accompanied with a little Jesus-figure with moveable arms. Her observation that "I tend to pray to God for world peace but to Jesus for parking-spaces" set just the exact tone of reverent irreverence for this sprightly odyssey in wonder-eyed self-discovery. And there's another week-end of performances, before it scoots off to a Fringe Festival in New York. (Leslie and her director Melissa Wentworth have worked so well and so often together it's hard to see where one begins and the other stops --- but I had a ball!)

11 may SHE LOVES ME Concord Players 53
The Concord Players do great work, in all departments, and this was no exception --- but for me a kind of cherry on top of this excellent production was Music Director Arthur Finstein's handling of the pit-full of excellent musicians. The very short overtures alone were filled with fluttery bird-sounds, the dances solidly supported, and no voice upstaged by instrumentation. Of course, what Followed those overtures was equally "professional" --- but it is rare to find a community theater orchestra keeping up with the actors, so I thought I'd mention it.

Again, these are all shows that I know I Should Have Reviewed; they're on my list of "Memorables"; and come next IRNE Season, the Hard Choices begin!

Break a leg all!

Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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