Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Loft"

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 2001 by Larry Stark


"The Loft"

by Jeff Smith
Adapted from "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov
Musical Score by Devil Music
Directed by Christian Schneider

Assistanmt Directors Sara Mednick & Tomako K.D.
Producer Ana Crowley
Wardrobe by Danika Chipman
Set Design by Jeff Smith
Lighting Design by Nathan Hinkel
Graphic Design by Adie Russell
Cover Art by Jim Kalambokis
Props by Sara Mednick
Makeup by Jenny Brown & Sara Liebmann
Creator of The Big Foot Melora Kuhn

Alex Lopakin....................Mark Evans
Simon MacGreggor...........Peter Harris
Diana.............................Emile Scantlin
Robert (Lou).................Somer Waters
Henry......................Craig McCormick
Andrea Raskin.....Anne-Laure Pelissier
Leonard......................Jim Kalambokis
Ana..........................Nanette Riendeau
Vera..................................Meg Willet
Charlotta Van Ness....Christina Voros
Sasha....................Nicholas Rodriguez
Peter Trofimov...................John Keay
A Developer................Steve Hollinger
A Poet.................................Don Eyles

Devil Music
Electric Violin & Samples..............Jonah Rapino
Guitar, Keyboards, Accordion.....Brendon Wood
Saxophone, 3 Note Yadaki...............Eric Nugent
Double Bass.....................................Mike Tuttle

Jeff Smith re-wrote a play, equating the loss of his own Fort Point studio loft to the destruction of a "Cherry Orchard" in Russia. Christian Schneider directed it in a basement "loft" using local artists (only one of whom lists any theater experience in the bio) for a cast. The result could be called amateur theater. But if you lived and worked in this area of Boston, if you still maintain a studio where books can be hand-made even though its your new architects' office that supports you, if your fellow artist friends are losing spaces low-rent enough to let them live and work together, then the sincerely-felt truths of the show will override any "objective" comments from mere theater critics.

Thought of as a staged reading, "The Loft" is an interesting, unfinished idea for a good play. Wherever he takes inspiration from Chekhov's original, Jeff Smith's play sings; wherever he parallels structure, relationships, or emotions however, the results are leaden and boring. The contemporary idiom dialogue can get crisp and lively whenever it leaves Chekhov behind. And, of course, the burning awareness of massive construction equipment and gleaming entrances to artless office-buildings only blocks away from the real basement in which the show is performed informs the play's best moments.

The players aren't actors, but that just makes performances that are uneven. Some "indicate" and over-act laughably; others "are" their characters so vibrantly that whatever they say or do comes delightfully alive. Only the dead hand of Chekhov which the playwright has yet to shake off accounts for all the real downers.

The production serves its own function, as a farewell to a regrettably vanishing life-style as well as a focus for the raw emotions of the neighborhood. The playwright is really a sculptor. There may never be a re-write. But there's enough there, sprawled across the loft space of a Fort Point basement by Director Christian Schneider, to be worth serious attention.
Catch it, before the whole place becomes a high-rise parking garage.....

Love,
===Anon.


"The Loft" (till 26 August)
THE AMERICAN THEATER
300 A Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617)330-6857


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |