Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Summer Play Festival 2007"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Larry Stark


"Summer Play Festival 2007"
Boston Actors Theater

Artistic Director Danielle Leeber
Technical Director David Lucas
Company Manager Vincent Morreale
Costumer Linda Johnson
Assistant Stage Manager Rebecca Jackson
Stage Manager Tori Woodhouse

This festival is much too brief. The plays are being given only one performance each on two weekends of mid-August. I will be back on August 17th, to see the other two plays for the first time, because on the strength of the two I saw Last week-end, this is a strong, polished company doing excellent work. The two plays I saw were done within an hour --- a beautiful folk-tale given magical life, and a country-club comedy of manners --- in each of which I could see the sure hand of two different directors sculpting performances of good scripts by fine actors. The run is all too brief...

THE BASIL POT

Written by Carolyne Gallo
Directed by Danielle Leeber

Jessica........Julia Specht
Samuel.......Joey Pelletier
Jonathan........David Lucas
Peter.........Jason Perlman
Chorus
Maylin Murphy, Kelcy Griffin, Stacy Polishook

Carolyne Gallo says this is her first play, a lyrical love-tale out of Middle-Europe that Director Danielle Leeber turned into a brief, movingly intense movement-piece in which every word and gesture and motion had meaning. It created a pastoral world in which a young girl could be whisked by the wind into a rain-soaked forest to fall hesitantly, totally in love with an equally inarticulate young woodman --- in a scene where they stood, eyes locked, unmindfull of rain, of wind, of anything but one another. The girl's brothers ask and finally plot to see what is really in the precious pot their sister carries --- worships, practically --- and find it a shattering secret. To say more would ruin a luminous new play, but it speaks of a time when farmer and woodman live in different worlds.

The chorus here become the wind, become trees, become neighbors effortlessly in quicksilver changes that the folk world demands. Joey Pelletier as the curious brother, David Lucas as the hesitant one, push the action to its conclusion, and Julia Specht and Jason Perlman ARE love.
This is a lovely new experience of a play!

MEMBERS ONLY

Written by Ann Marie Shea
Directed by Jonathan Overby

Boris...............Stephan Saxton
Richard Middling....Gary Ciambrone
Miriam Middling.........Sally Nutt

Jonathan Overby's directorial touches lend motion and detail to a dinner-table confrontation in which a man and wife sit arguing, sipping water and wine and martinis, and occasionally smiling at "friends" across the room at a members-only country-club. The man is a successful psychiatrist trying to tell his wife he's going to marry his secretary --- and she will have none of it. The portrait she paints of him, of the secretary, of their gossipy friends and the harsh realities of alimony and community-property pours out in precise, devastating, concise detail after detail, standing the situation on its head and proving, hilariously, that he may be a good psychiatrist for his patients, but not for himself. Ann Marie Shea's script is meticulous in its build, with Sally Nutt haughtily steam-rollering over Gary Ciambrone's increasingly bewildered hubby, while a glacial Stephan Saxton serves drinks and food. And the trio serve laugh after surprised laugh to the audience.

What a delightful pair of plays!
And, on a second night, "What We Save" by Kelly DuMar and "Yellow to Lavender" by Carl A. Rossi [That name is familiar, from somewhere, isn't it?] promise a whole different set of experiences.

But hurry, there will be only one performance each This Coming Weekend to see these plays!
Who was it said...

too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say it lightens

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark)

"Summer Play Festival 2007"
Program I [Reviewed above] (10 & 18 August only)
Program II ( 11 & 17 August only)
BOSTON ACTORS THEATER
@ Durrell Hall, Cambridge YMCA, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, CAMBRIDGE MA
1 (866)811-4111

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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