Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Boston THEATER Marathon"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey


Theater Callisthenics

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Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Runners know that about 4/5ths of the way through a marathon the can "hit the wall"...which is why water breaks and training are so important. Ditto for the Boston Theater Marathon. The veterans take a supper break (which is why, alas, I missed one whole section and now I'm sorry I did). Die-hards take no breaks and the rest of us worship at their dedicated feet.

Selections included Matt Mayerchak's gritty back alley play called "Empties" about sexual initiation, directed by Fran Weinberg; Jack Neary's playful gossip fest for three elderly ladies ("Three-Peat") smartly performed by three sharp as a tack un-elderly actresses (Kate Carney, Mary Klug and Alice Duffy); Michael Hammond's hilarious satire about touchy, feel-y 'Consciousness Raising' consultants and the employers who hate them: "Sleeping with The Enemy" which sported two spectacular performances by Dan McCleary and Tom Jaegar; Kathleen Rogers' "Tiny Dreams" (directed by Joe Antoun) turned into a tour de force for Maureen Keiller as a savvy Americanized Russian woman; Howard Zinn proved he can say a lot in ten minutes with "As The World Turns" and Bruce Ward introduced us to a loveable family of cockroaches whose son turns into a (gasp) human! Robert Brustein penned a touching portrayal of death, as an elderly man confronts the grim ragman.

The best plays (in my humble opinion -- and I didn't see them all) were Larry Blamire's off the wall Shakespearean olive play, Theresa Rebeck's starling Holocaust memory play and, because I lived for a time in France, my personal fave was John Andert's "Claude And Claudette."

It was about a vacuous French couple who seem to ponder every inane word they utter. The Pilgrim Theatre's little gem of a distillation of French mores and manners reeked with ennui. I'm still giggling at the inspired simultaneous translation ('cigarette' for 'cigarette'), and at Kermit Dunkelberger's Peter Lorre-esque speculation about Jacques' demise (in the nursery rhyme Jacques and Jille) "Per-eps," he says to Susan Thompson, "Ee was pooshed." I can't explain why this is so brilliant, except to say that it's truly French.

As Dan Hunter has suggested, start training now for next year's marathon, by going to one new play a week. Then all you'll need is your water bottle and a power bar.


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