These Were Two Weeks That Were, 19 - 25 October '05"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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This Was
The Week
That Was

19 - 25 October '05

Covered
19 oct [ THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Dress) NEWTON SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL ]
20 oct SPRING CHICKEN Hijinx Unlimited Productions DEVANAUGHN 106
21 oct ONCE IN A LIFETIME Bay Colony Prod. THE ORPHEUM FOXBORO 107
22 oct [ SEMMELWEISS Joseph Aaron Shrand ACTORS' WORKSHOP Reading ]
23 oct PROOF TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE WORKS 108

19 oct [ THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Dress) NEWTON SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL ]
[ NOTE: This WASN'T "covered" originally, and this is an apology for the oversight. ]
I was really impressed by the dedication and the expertise that Director Nancy Curran Willis had to work with when I saw this dress-rehearsal. The high-schoolers looked their ages, and sometimes Sounded their ages, but again and again in this huge-cast show I saw accurate characters excellently played, and an over-all awareness of the shape and importance of the play. And the one small detail I saw created that very afternoon --- the huge curtain-call --- was so crisp, so precise, and achieved So Quickly that I understood how easy it must have been for the director to get such good work from so many people.
The cast, the student body, the school and the city were given an object-lesson in the wider-world necessity for such a play as this. But as the dress came to an end, I was confident that it wasn't the star-turn of a relative nor the police or possible protesters outside that would concern the audience. It was The Play Itself, performed as well as it could have been. I was impressed.

[ 24 oct SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Benefit for NSMT (Not Sure Yet) ]
I decided Not to attend. I was tired, there were Full reviews I wanted to give thought to, and concerts are, no matter how well done, not really my cup of tea.

Okay, I have written a review of the weird, ridiculous, brilliant comedy "Spring Chicken", and at least a First Paragraph about TheatreZone's triumphant production of David Auburn's "LSptzctw.htmProof" --- but a writing-block remains frozen. I know what must be said; I've even mulled wording over in my mind; but that Machinery has not yet spun straw into gold. The review is sitting there even now, intimidating me. Let's hope that everything works before I turn in tonight. I owe them a long, inspiring review.

But now for the bad news:

21 oct ONCE IN A LIFETIME Bay Colony Prod. THE ORPHEUM FOXBORO 107
22 oct [ SEMMELWEIS Joseph Aaron Shrand ACTORS' WORKSHOP Reading ]
23 oct PROOF TheatreZone CHELSEA THEATRE WORKS 108
Here I don't mean bad news about the quality of these productions --- quite the reverse. Though completely different one from the other, these were all excellent examples of what they were, carefully crafted and excellently performed.
The bad news is: Excellence isn't enough.
The skewering of Hollywood (which hasn't changed, apparently, since 1930 when Kauffman and Hart wrote it) by a large cast of carefully drilled performers drew a scattered audience of fifty or more in The Orpheum --- a reclaimed movie-house. Worse, the tautly interesting quartet in the Chelsea Theatre Works played to an appreciative audience of only .... eight!
What on earth makes theater-lovers stay away (in droves!) from good plays done well? And why (until Larry Tish rose to the occasion) would every reviewer in Boston let a TheatreZone show open without notice? The track-records of both these theater companies guarantee at least a good and often a great show, yet houses in both cases were more empty than full.
Is A Puzzlement!

The one-night reading of "Semmelweis" despite a driving, drenching rain drew a near-full house of appreciative friends willing to stay for a good talk-back with Director Bill Doscher, Music Director/Producer Markus Hauck, and the musical's creator, Dr. Joseph Aaron Shrand MD.
But how can you tell a man who has spent eight years making a compelling, movingly lyrical revelation of a great yet misunderstood and overlooked man that all his excellent work hasn't much chance of a serious commercial production? (Yeah, LES MIZ; but that was incubated in England with Cameron MacIntosh's millions acting as midwife.)
I really hope I'm wrong. Dr. Shrand is a gifted theatrical craftsman giving Markus Hauck and his singers an inspired score, and Bill Doscher a book full of fascinating detail --- a musical that only an audience who can appreciate his work will probably pay to see. I found it fascinating ... but I am a strange old man.

And so, sad to say, perhaps the Machinery of My Mind looks out over a sodden landscape dotted with empty monuments to good, hard theatrical work and thinks "Write reviews? What FOR? Obviously no one gives a damn --- do they?"
And I say again, I really hope I'm wrong.

Love,
===Anon.

This is, to date, a preview of
WHERE WILL LARRY BE?

26 oct BCA CAROL MULRONEY Huntington
27 oct Lyric Stage of Boston Inc. A NUMBER
28 oct Vokes Players MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Arranging A Ride) 29 oct Wheelock Family Theatre LORD OF THE FLIES 3:00 p m!!
30 oct [ SLEEPOVER --- A "Sleep Test" at Beth Israel ]
2 nov TRUE WEST New Repertory Theatre ARSENAL ARTS CENTER 3 nov North Shore Music Theatre THE FULL MONTY (Arranging A Ride)
4 nov The Devanaughn THE 4TH NAIL As Yet To Be Theatre Company
5 oct [ Peter Brennan's Birthday Party @ The BCA ] 6 nov BCA WOMEN ON THE VERGE Sugan
8 nov Devanaughn SLAMBoston Another Country Productions
9 nov Turtle Lane Playhouse PROMISES, PROMISES
10 oct MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Shaxpy Now! TOWER AUD 10 A M!!!!!!
12 nov New England Theatre Conference SESSION 10 (My Lecture!!!)
15 nov [ Meet my Doctor; schedule Knee Surgery ]
16 nov MIT Student Center STAR WARS TRILOGY MIT Musical Theatre
18 nov [ Farewell Party for Teri Wilkinson ] 19 nov Roxbury Community College STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
2 dec YMCA Family Theatre ARCADIA The Longwood Players

During the 10 - 13 November week-end of the NEW ENGLAND THEATRE CONFERENCE I will try to be in Wakefield as often and as long as possible.
On the 12th, I will do a talk and talk-back on the subject "The Art of Writing [AND READING] Reviews" whenever "Session 10" comes up. And then Lee and I will attend the annual banquet at which they will announce an Award for The Theater Mirror.

Break a leg in any case......
Break a leg ALL!
Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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