Cricket's Notebook Saturday, 31 December, 2005 5:36 p m: "A Year to Remember! ! !"

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Saturday - New Year's Eve, 31 December, 2005 5:36 pm:
A Year to Remember! ! !

My year began with FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS and ended with 12TH NIGHT, and in between I managed to see 133 shows, as well as attending 30 "other events" including parties or readings most of which were not yet in "reviewable" shape. And every night when I got back from something I knew I should remember come IRNE-time, I added it to my "Memorable" list --- which I think is longer this year than ever before, because I think the level of work, on every level, has been better than ever before.
That's the great news!
The bad nws is, with such a plethora to choose from, many shows that would win awards in past years will be elbowed aside in this one.
And the worst news is that many startlingly good shows seem already to be forgotten by those whose job it is to remember the memorable. And because awards are given by consensus, no one can see everything, and one vote counts for little, that bodes ill for awards of excellence in this excellent year.
Let me try to remember some of the neglected:

21 jan QUILLS New Rep
27 jan THE GLASS MENAGERIE Lyric Stage of Boston
These almost back-to-back productions started the year with controversy --- in one Austin Pendleton played an idea (freedom of self-expression); in the other a Black actor (Vincent Ernest Siders) took a traditionally White role. In both cases Boston's most important theatre companies launched a year of must-see theater showing just what the local teams are capable of.

29 jan THE MOONLIGHT ROOM SpeakEasy Stage Company BCA
26 feb HOMEBODY/KABUL Boston Theatre Works BCA
Then two bright lights of the Boston Center for The Arts used the same stage-space there to deliver yet another pair of productions new to Boston that each mirrored different aspects of the day's news.

2 sep THE STORY Zeitgeist Stage BCA
6 nov WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF HRT Sugan BCA
And here's another pair of BCA stalwarts, each demonstrating their different approaches with fine performances in unexpected plays.

10 feb VOICES IN THE DARK (Beckett Plays) Devanaughn Theatre
7 oct ACTS OF FUTILITY Molasses Tank Prod. CHARLESTOWN WORKING
This pair of "hole-in-the-wall" productions proved the continuing power of Samuel Beckett's astringent eye on what theater is ... and isn't.

25 mar FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO... The Animus Ensemble BCA
11 dec PROMISES, PROMISES Animus Ensemble BCA
This company is relatively new to Boston, but takes a back seat to no one here.

4 mar OUR HEARTS AS FICTION The 11:11 Theatre Co. ACTORS'WORKSHOP
29 apr THE OCEAN ROOM 11:11 Productions ACTORS' WORKSHOP
As does this new company, and this new playwright.

> 12 aug HAMLET The Theatre Cooperative
23 sep OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD Theatre Cooperative
19 nov COLLECTED STORIES Theater Cooperative
This is the ninth year that Lesley Chapman has been making miracles over in Somerville. She directed herself in one of these shows, and directed George Saulnier III in another. I wonder if her work would be any more miraculous if she didn't have to waste her artistic energies chasing money; I wonder how important the work of her Cooperative would seem if she ever had the money to advertise; I wonder why we neglect our most important talents.

1 apr THE TROJAN WHORE Mill 6 Theatre Co DEVANAUGHN
26 apr SUPER SLAMBOSTON Another Country Productions DEVANAUGHN
1 may 3RD ANNUAL DRAGONFLY FESTIVAL I Devanaughn Theatre
7 sep DESTRUCTION Caleb Hammond & Co DEVANAUGHN THEATRE
24 sep CLOSER Devanaughn Theatre
20 oct SPRING CHICKEN Hijinx Unlimited Productions DEVANAUGHN
4 nov THE FOURTH NAIL As Yet To Be Theatre DEVANAUGHN THEATRE
18 dec TRUE WEST Dangerous Animal Theater DEVANAUGHN THEATRE
22 dec A BUCKET FULL O' CHRISTMAS CHEER Deveney Prod DEVANAUGHN
This two-story big brick box out behind the Piano Factory Artists' collective has its third landlord-in-residence right now (Rose Carlson), and it's already booked solid for the year by companies (including The Devanaughn Theatre itself) who fill the space with excellent and unexpected new theater.

8 oct WIT Arlington Friends of The Drama
16 oct THE MUSIC MAN Theatre III WEST ACTON 105
But who says memorable theater happens only inside the city-limits? And who says Community Theatres can't take chances in order to do good work?

15 oct [ CELEBRATING AUGUST WILSON Roxbury Community Coll & ccae ]
19 oct [ THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Dress) NEWTON SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL ]
Sometimes things that are not done for review turn out to be unforgettable.
A crew of actors sitting with scripts in their laps gave me I think my most enlightening insight into the power of this playwright's words and placed him on a shelf with O'Neill and Shakespeare.
And a company of high-school kids with superbly professional discipline ran-through this modern classic --- all of them knowing opening night could be picketed by religious anti-gay hate-mongers.
Who says prejudice is a thing of the past in America?

18 feb TOMFOOLERY Acme Theatre Productions
16 apr THREE DAYS OF RAIN Quannapowitt Playhouse READING MA
23 oct PROOF TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE WORKS
15 dec THE FIREBUGS TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE CENTER
They say all a director Really Does is cast excellent actors and keep out of their way. Maybe so.
But then why have so many of my favorite shows come with the names Nancy Curran Willis or Danielle Fauteux Jacques attached to them? Coincidence, surely.....

If I continue, I will try to say something about every one of the seventy-some shows --- over half the plays I saw this year! --- that I called Memorable. I'd like to, but when things like this get as long as that, I stop reading and skim. I won't wear out my welcome.

Instead, let me end with a few words about the first and the last this year:

14 jan FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS Hovey Players ABBOTT MEMORIAL
Five bridesmaids dishing dirt on The Happy Couple and each other --- and all crammed into an upstairs bedroom the Hovey's stage made even more intimate! These ladies (and one token male) gave an ensemble performance that made a bang-up start to a year stuffed with rewarding theater.

23 dec 12TH NIGHT Actors' Shaxpy Peoject CAMB MULTICULTURAL CTR
And this was the cherry on top of my succulent sundae! --- another in their inaugural year of triumphs.
The Actors' Shakespeare Project is the best NEW thing to happened to Boston theater in a long time. They specialize in ensemble work, they treat Shakespeare's words as comprehensible contemporary truth, they bring the experience of lives doing plays to bear on human drama, and in a year crammed with exciting experiences, every one of their shows has, it seems, been done Just for Me, sitting alone in the audience enjoying every single word.

So this year is memorable, in many other ways, as a glorious Beginning.

Love,
===Anon.

Memorable Shows

14 jan FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS Hovey Players ABBOTT MEMORIAL
20 jan THE PROMISE Basement on the Hill BCA
21 jan QUILLS New Rep
27 jan THE GLASS MENAGERIE Lyric Stage of Boston
28 jan 103 Within The Veil COMPANY ONE Boston Playwrights' Theatre
29 jan THE MOONLIGHT ROOM SpeakEasy Stage Company BCA
4 feb STAR-CROSSED Players' Ring PORTSMOUTH NH
5 feb MISS SAIGON Turtle Lane Playhouse
10 feb VOICES IN THE DARK (Beckett Plays) Devanaughn Theatre
18 feb TOMFOOLERY Acme Theatre Productions

24 feb MISSED SIGH GONE Asian American Resource Workshop
26 feb HOMEBODY/KABUL Boston Theatre Works BCA
2 mar TOPDOG/UNDERDOG Diamonds Cast NEW REPERTORY THEATRE
4 mar OUR HEARTS AS FICTION The 11:11 Theatre Co. ACTORS'WORKSHOP
17 mar THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA Stoneham Theatre
18 mar MEASURE FOR MEASURE Actors' Shakespeare Project HERNANDEZ CTR
23 mar TALKING HEADS 2 The QE2 Acting Company BCA
25 mar FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO... The Animus Ensemble BCA
31 mar DEN OF THIEVES Company One BCA
1 apr THE TROJAN WHORE Mill 6 Theatre Co DEVANAUGHN
2 apr GAGARIN WAY Sugan BCA
3 apr ASSASSINS Metro Stage Company YMCA FAMILY THEATRE
16 apr THREE DAYS OF RAIN Quannapowitt Playhouse READING MA
19 apr I AM MY OWN WIFE Broadway In Boston YE WILBUR THEATRE
21 apr THE DEMOLITION DOWNTOWN M I T Dramashop
26 apr SUPER SLAMBOSTON Another Country Productions DEVANAUGHN
29 apr THE OCEAN ROOM 11:11 Productions ACTORS' WORKSHOP
30 apr BODY/WORKS Electric Productions THE MACHINE
1 may THE MEMORY OF WATER The Concord Players
1 may 3RD ANNUAL DRAGONFLY FESTIVAL I Devanaughn Theatre

6 may LOOKING FOR NORMAL Hovey Players ABBOTT MEMORIAL
12 may INTO THE WOODS New Repertory Theatre
13 may DRAGONFLY FESTIVAL II Devanaughn Theatre
13 may DRAGONFLY FESTIVAL III Devanaughn Theatre
20 may FORGET HEROSTRATUS The Theatre Cooperative
22 may THE BOSTON Theater MARATHON VII & THE BCA
25 may JULIUS CAESAR Actors' Shakespeare Project CAMBRIDGE YMCA
26 may TAKE ME OUT Speakeasy/BTW/BinB BCA
28 may SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD Lyric Stage Companyof Boston INC.
3 jun A CHORUS LINE Encore Theater. Co. UMass ENS/CHOR/DIR
24 jun CRAZY FOR YOU Reagle Players
14 jul ARCADIA The Publick Theatre
15 jul YELLOW RIBBONS 11:11 Theatre Company ACTORS' WORKSHOP
21 jul CAROUSEL Reagle Players 75
30 jul WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN TEN MINUTES? MIT Community P. KRESGE
31 jul HAL HARRY HENRY Shakespeare East BCA
11 aug SLANGUAGE Universes COMPANY ONE BCA
12 aug HAMLET The Theatre Cooperative
2 sep THE STORY Zeitgeist Stage BCA
7 sep DESTRUCTION Caleb Hammond & Co DEVANAUGHN THEATRE

8 sep COMEDY OF ERRORS The Publick Theatre
11 sep URINETOWN The Lyric Stage of Boston Inc.
16 sep N Pilgrim Theatre BCA
17 sep PAL JOEY Stoneham Theatre
22 sep CAMELOT North Shore Music Theatre SHUBERT BOSTON
23 sep OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD Theatre Collective
24 sep CLOSER Devanaughn Theatre
25 sep THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE Hovey Players ABBOTT MEMORIAL
1 oct KING LEAR Actors' Shakespeare Project B.U. FINE ARTS DEPT.
7 oct ACTS OF FUTILITY Molasses Tank Prod. CHARLESTOWN WORKING

8 oct WIT Arlington Friends of The Drama
9 oct PULP Boston Theater Works BCA
15 oct [ CELEBRATING AUGUST WILSON Roxbury Community Coll & ccae ]
16 oct THE MUSIC MAN Theatre III WEST ACTON 105
19 oct [ THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Dress) NEWTON SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL ]
20 oct SPRING CHICKEN Hijinx Unlimited Productions DEVANAUGHN
23 oct PROOF TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE WORKS
26 oct CAROL MULRONEY Huntington Theatre Company BCA
27 oct A NUMBER Lyric Stage of Boston INC
3 nov THE FULL MONTY North Shore Music Theatre

4 nov THE FOURTH NAIL As Yet To Be Theatre DEVANAUGHN THEATRE
6 nov WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF HRT Sugan BCA
19 nov COLLECTED STORIES Theater Cooperative
20 nov STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Emerson &/@ Roxbury Community Coll.
23 nov KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN SpeakEasy BCA
3 dec THE EGO SHOW #VI Nicole Pierce B U DANCE STUDIO
8 dec APOCALYPSO! Rough & Tumble Theatre Company BCA
11 dec PROMISES, PROMISES Animus Ensemble BCA
12 dec CHARLES DICKENS' CHRISTMAS CAROL New Rep
15 dec THE FIREBUGS TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE CENTER

18 dec TRUE WEST Dangerous Animal Theater DEVANAUGHN THEATRE
22 dec A BUCKET FULL O' CHRISTMAS CHEER Deveney Prod DEVANAUGHN
23 dec 12TH NIGHT Actors' Shaxpy Peoject CAMB MULTICULTURAL CTR


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |