Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Mysteries"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |



"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


Reviews of Current Productions


note: entire contents copyright 1998 by Larry Stark


"The Mysteries"

Adapted by Tony Harrison
Music by Donny Woodbridge & The Hepburns
Produced and Directed by Ronda Rice Winderl

Set & Lighting Design by Michael W. Ballard
Costume Design by Eunice Ferreira Choreography by Ronda Rice Winderl

CREATION

God.....................Dan Martin
Lucifer/Satan.....Melissa Kelly
Angel Gabriel.......Bec Jenkins
Adam...............Samuel Young
Eve..................Rhonda Lajoie
Angel "Supremes"
Amy Allison, Christine Medaglia, Jenn Mylott
Angels
David Dein, Jolie Drahn, Kate Ellis, Bevin Howard, Matt Martsolf, David Messana, Emily Plank, Vanessa Simoneau, Heidi Swank, Elise Turmenne, Maureen Wall, Michele Zimmerman

THE KILLING OF ABEL

Cain..........................Tim Taylor
Abel...............Douglas Chapman

THE FLOOD

Noah.........................Phillip Dyke
Jubal.......................Maureen Wall
Tubalcain......................JR Polson
Noah's Wife.............Doreen Nash
Sons & Daughters
Kate Ellis, Curt Heckman, Adam MacDougall, Matthew Martsolf, Emily Plank, Elise Turmenne

ABRAHAM & ISAAC

Abraham...............Nathaniel Scott
Isaac.......................Lincoln Flores
Sword Dancers
Douglas Chapman, Adam MacDougall, Matthew Martsolf, JR Polson, Timothy Taylor, Samuel Young

THE ENUNCIATION

Joseph.............................JR Polson
Mary.............................Jolie Drahn
Gospel Choir
Jason Blake, Melissa Christmas, Michael Payne, Renee Whetstone

HEROD & THE KINGS

Herod.......................David Messana
Herod's Son...................David Dein
1st King.....................Lincoln Flores
2nd King....................Curt Heckman
3rd King....................Samuel Young
Messenger.......................Tim Taylor

2ND SHEPHER'S PLAY

1st Shepherd..........Matthew Martsolf
2nd Shepherd........Adam MacDougall
3rd Shepherd..................Heidi Swank
Mak (a thief)....................Gil Thibault
Gill (Mak's wife)...............Bec Jenkins

HEROD'S SLAUGHTER

Mothers
Jenn Mylott, Vanessa Simoneau, Maureen Wall, Michele Zimmerman
Soldiers
Douglas Chapman, Adam MacDougall, Matt Martsolf
Death..................................Bec Jenkins

THE BAND

Keyboard/Vocals...Donny Woodbridge
Bass Guitar.......................Jay Hepburn
Percussion.....................Dave Hepburn


Eastern Nazarene College has a huge, modern auditorium and a big stage that their Communication Arts Department uses to give all students a whif of stage work and a sense of theatrical history. Has anyone else thought of producing "Pacific Overtures"? They did it in 1980. "Robin Hood: The Panto" in 1993 introduced Americans to this uniquely English tradition. This year's extravaganza is eight short medieval mystery plays made modern in style and costume with an on-stage rock band, casts of dozens, and appearances by a grey-bearded God (in white coveralls) smiling benevolently down from a peripatetic fork-lift.

In the hands of director Ronda Rice Winderl the result is part Xmas pageant, part rock-concert, part Keystone Kops cut-ups, but always effective theater. Tony Harrison modernized the short rhyming lines and gave the plays the trappings of his contemporary England, but Wonderl made them distinctly American, put them on a two-story set representing heaven and earth, and ran quickly through the Old Testament in the first half, the New in the second. And professional rock-gospel singer Donny Woodbridge & The Hepburns added brief country-rock original songs and electronic church-cords to keep the entire audience clapping along.

The evening comes crammed with enough bright details for a nine-ring circus. Adam literally arises out of the earth at God's command; Noah's wife in fuzzy slippers, housecoat, and a snood-full of huge curlers nearly argues herself out of an ocean cruise, till 23 rippling umbrellas create The Flood; Lucifer's fall from white-robed pride into a smoking trash-basket and chimneysweep's top-hat, the balletic murder of Abel by Cain, and the love of dutiful Abraham for the sacrificial son Isaac --- all are only a few still dancing in the mind.

Everyone comes dressed in the uniforms of familiar workers --- Dunkin' Donuts clerk, UPS driver, yellow-slickered fisherman, hard-hat ironworker, etc. This allusion to the fact that these pre-Shakespearean community-theater shows were produced by medieval guild-workers needs a footnote to explain, but there are too many successful details to make up for that. For instance, one of the telling "teaching-theater" details is God, in his pure white cover-alls and white miner's hard-hat, noting that though He spared Isaac from the knife, His only Son would indeed die the death of sacrifice for the good of all.

Noah's arguments with his wife and the sheep-stealing prelude to Christmas morn in "The 2nd Shepherd's Play" provide high comedy, Abraham and Isaac high drama, but there is music and spectacle in all sides, filling the big stage with music and dance.

And next May on that same stage they'll do the intimate vest-pocket musical "The Fantastics". Eastern Nazarene College is nearly at the end of The Red Line, but it's well worth the trip.

Love,
===Anon.


"The Mysteries" (till 14 March)
COMMUNICATION ARTS DEPARTMENT
Cove Fine Arts Center, Easter Nazarene College, 23 Elm Avenue, QUINCY
1(617)745-3715

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |