I just looked back through the programs collected in the past two weeks, and the quality of acting, on all levels, has been astonishing! Here, take a quick glance at these --- and, most importantly, look at the wide spread of Kinds of Companies on display here:
4 nov MACBETT (Ionesco) IMAGINARY BEASTS @ BCA 210
5 nov CLYBOURNE PARK Trinity Repertory Company Providence 211
6 nov LUCKY STIFF Moonbox Productions SOMERVILLE THEATRE Davis Square 212
6 nov AND NEITHER HAVE I WINGS TO FLY Bad Habit Productions BCA-Upstairs 213
7 nov [ FOOL FOR LOVE Staged Reading SpeakEasy Stage Company Cabaret BCA ]
9 nov MOBY DICK Gare St. Lazare Players ARTS EMERSON LIEBERGOTT BOX @ PARAMOUNT 214
10 nov SPRING AWAKENING F.U.D.G.E. THEATRE COMPANY New Rep Black Box 215
11 nov DARK MATTERS http://www.sciencefictiontheatrecompany.com/Science Fiction Theatre Company FACTORY THEATRE 216
12 nov NOVEMBER Hovey Players ABBOTT MEMORIAL THEATRE Waltham 217
13 nov IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER Company One BCA 218
13 nov THE BROTHERS SIZE & MARCUS; Or THE SECRET OF SWEET Company One BCA 219
14 nov [ The Next Stage (READINGS) http://thenextstage.eventbrite.com/T C Squared BCA ]
15 nov ANGEL REAPERS Martha Clarke/Alfred Uhry ARTS EMERSON Cutler Majestic 220
16 nov DOCTOR FAUSTUS Suffolk University Theatre Department MODERN THEATRE 221
17 nov HOUSE Boston Center for American Performance STUDIO 210 222
18 nov THE BALCONY The Boston Conservatory MAIN STAGE 223
Since few of us seem to see all kinds of theatrical endeavor available here in Boston, let me run quickly through the sorts of stuff I've seen in those past two weeks, wherein the acting, in all cases, took a back-seat to no one, anywhere:
IMAGINARY BEASTS may be the best-kept secret of local theater --- with an inventive, physical approach to unexpected texts. This one was a re-creation of Shakespeare's play by Eugene Ionesco, sharing the same stage And The Same Actors with WHISTLER IN THE DARK. Amazing.
TRINITY REP is the only real Repertory Company left in this area, and many in the company have ten and twenty years' experience.
But MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS is a brand new Fringe/Community theatre whose very first production was at The Brattle Theatre and this one was on the Somerville Theatre stage --- and both productions featured exceptional acting, often from fresh faces.
BAD HABITS PRODUCTIONS' track record for excellence was racked up at The Factory, and in this surpringly nuanced play they took on an Irish lilt. I was particularly glad to see Sally Nutt, who works everywhere, back in Boston.
For a staged-reading/fund raiser COMMONWEALTH SHAKESPEARE brought back to Boston a bunch of Equity Actors --- Rutina Wesley and Jacob Fishel from New York, Lewis D. Wheeler from W.H.A.T. on Cape Cod, and Richard Mclvain from teaching in Fitchburg. Welcome Home All!
The SPEAKEASY Cabaret was simply a showcase of the grerat Equity talents and voices they tap into for major productions --- and Ghod did they enjoy themselves!
ARTS EMERSON's Rob Orchard brought a one-man recreation of Melville's novel here to their new "Jackie" black box. Conor Lovett was aided by the "fiddle-playing" of Caoimhin O'Raghallaigh for a performance that made time stand still.
In another black Box out in Watertown, Director Joe DeMita and Music Director Steven Bergman and F.U.D.G.E. put the musical "Spring Awakening" into a movement mood that many preferred to the Broadway tour version.
SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE COMPANY is another new fringe group at The Factory, and "Dark Matters" would have looked like an extended Twilight Zone episode --- except that the four-person cast was so compellingly real that an alien-abduction was so subtly implied as to feel chillingly true. Part of this excellent ensemble was Lorna Nogueira, one of my all-time favorite but little-known actors.
I had seen The Lyric Stage do David Mamet's new comedy, but on the tiny Abbott Memorial stage THE HOVEY PLAYERS' five-member ensemble made the whole thing sing! This company evolves slowly as personnel change, but they never cease to astonish.
In the BCA's Plaza Space, COMPANY ONE exploded with three hugely powerful plays using the same Black characters and Black actors that deserve national attention --- and imagine seeing all three on the very same day! Playwright Tarel Alvin McCraney enjoys experiments --- like having characters announce "Enter Mama Moja, laughing" or "He stares thoughtfully into space"; like comparing one character to the moon in all its many phases; like patterning characters after the Orisha-deities in Santaria/Vodun mythology; such ideas lend a surreal atmosphere to a very real Lou'ziana family saga. It was a joy to watch Michelle Dowd melt into four or more different motherly characters, while Juanita A. Rodrigues sashayed on repeatly as tell-it-like-it-is Aunt Elegua --- and those of us who've watched James Milord grow up on stage can thrill to his nose-to-nose confrontations with Johnnie McQuarley as a battling, loving pair of brothers.
James Milord appeared also acknowledging his days at the Boston Arts Academy when the T C SQUARED group of B.A.C. graduates convened for their second "Next Stage" set of readings.
When EMERSON ARTS brought to the Cutler Majestic stage a group re-creating the Shaker movement in "Angel Reapers" I was thrilled to see as Mother Ann their founder Birgit Huppuch who, after doing interesting work here went to New York, Philadelphia, and a string of intriguingly "experimental" roles with companies called Pig Iron, Foundry Theatre an Bag & Bodice. It was nice to note that even blended perfectly into this dancing ensemble, I could pick this familiar face out in the crowd. (I never got to talk to her during this brief pre-New York engagement; maybe next time...)
I knew no one on the Suffolk University's MODERN THEATRE stage, but Director David R. Gammons' work for many local companies is unforgettable.
In Boston University's STUDIO 210, Tim Spears performed this solo play ("House") after I'm told eight months of preparation and rehearsal --- and it showed. What's called The BOSTON CENTER FOR AMERICAN PERFORMANCE is, for me, a never-miss guarantee of excellence.
. THE BOSTON CONSERVATORY is known for its singing and dancing, for its orchestras full of sublime sight-readers, for its musical revivals; but lately I've noted excellent non-musical performances in their ZACH-BOX and on the main stage. For "The Balcony" Director John Kuntz used everything including an 18-member cast, massive real-time projections of Madame Irma, and mass movements and lighting-changes on a re-made stage that were dazzling.
That's it so far, but November's hardly half over!
Break a leg all!