Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Opening of a Slew of Shows

The fall 2010 theater season is in full swing

Basham and Gottlieb in In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)

The ART Institute actors in Alice VS Wonderland

Kuttner, Thomas and Lyman in The Real Inspector Hound

Because of my impending surgery and a hiatus of recovery (Watch for my next post: Me And The Robots), I'm a little late to the start of the 2010/11 Boston theater season. I made it to three of the initial offerings, and while my wish always is to see absolutely everything, I have to apologize to the casts, crews, and companies whose productions I'll regretfully miss.
But on to the three I've seen.

The Real Inspector Hound
(Publick Theater at the BCA's Plaza Theater)
The Publick opens the season with a revival of Tom Stoppard's early effort, an absurdly layered parody of Agatha Christie-like whodunnits and overblown, self-important theater critics, with a Pirandellian shattering of the fourth wall turning it into a youdunnit fot the critcs. The cast of comic Boston actors is somewhat hampered by Mamet-like pacing and pauses, but impressive turns are delivered by Sheridan Thomas as the lumbering Mrs. Drudge the maid, Gabriel Kuttner as the wheelchair spinning Major Magnus Muldoon, and, as Lady Cynthia Muldoon, the piercingly blue-eyed and towering Georgia Lyman. While the body (no pun intended) of the work is a bit of a hit or miss, the curtain call staging is hysterically brilliant.

Alice VS Wonderland
(ART at the Loeb, a limited run showcasing the current ART Instute students, by the Hungarian director Janis Szasz)

Hewing closer to the original source than the recent Tim Burton movie, this Alice is an almost literal adaptation, with contemporary idioms, whimsical costumes with an 80's punk style, utilizing rock and pop music ranging from the Beatles to Lady GaGa.
If you lived through the ensemble-developed shows of the 60's and 70's, it may all seem a mite "retro".
It's a great showcase for the talented students, and a bridge from the past (Janos Szasz has been a favorite auteur of the Brustein/Woodruff regimes), to the present missions and the future of these promising performers.

In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
SpeakEasy Stage at the Calderwood Pavillion)
Norton Award recipient Scott Edmiston works again with some of his best collaborators on Sarah Ruhls almost-Pulitzer play. A rock solid cast (including audience, critic, and award favorites Ann
e Gottlieb and Marianna Basham, dubbed by one writer the "Lucy and Ethel" of Victorian sexuality) includes the impressive local debut of Lindsey McWhorter as Elizabeth, the wet nurse. The physical production is another stunning example of the rise and resources of SpeakEasy Stage in this, the company's 20th Anniversary season.

I'll Miss This Event, But You Don't Have To

At the Inspector Hound performance I attended, Artistic Director Diego Arcienegas announced, a great free weekend-long event at Wellesley College on October 15 & 16. Titled Shakespearean Character On Trial, the events include a Keynote lecture on October 15 at 4:15 pm by Marjorie Garber (Harvard) and Carey Perloff (American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco), a performance by Shakespeare & Company 's founding Artistic Director Tina Packer of Women of Will (also on the 15th at 7:30 pm), and a Symposium on Theatre Criticism and Practice, with Packer, Arcienegas, Oskar Eustis (Artistic Director of the NY Public Theater and former AD of Trinity Rep in Providence), and nationally renowned theater director Joanne Akalaitis (Bard College,
the former artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and founder of the critically acclaimed Mabou Mines in New York).
Did I mention it's all free?

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