That Was The Week That Was, 2 - 13 March '06"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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That Was The Week That Was

Monday -Monday 2 - 13 March

"Covered"

2 mar AMADEUS Vokes Players 19
3 mar THINGS THAT MATTER Firehouse Center The Arts NEWBURYPORT 20
4 mar THE FOX Basement on The Hill Stage @ BCA 21
6 mar BILL W. AND DR. BOB The New Rep 22
8 mar OTHELLO Boston Theatre Works BCA 23
9 mar MEET DR. GODDESS Up You Mighty Race BCA 24
11 mar THE GOAT OR WHO IS SILVIA Lyric Stage of Boston INC 25
12 mar [ MY YOLANDA LOVE Queer Soup BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' reading ]
15 mar CRIMINAL HEARTS Boston Actors Theater DEVANAUGHN 26
16 mar MOONCHILDREN Cambridge YMCA 27
17 mar VOICE OF GOOD HOPE Theatre Cooperative 28
18 mar BURIED CHILD Hovey Players 29
I managed to grind out full reviews of the new musical warming up in Newburyport ("Things That Matter", the poetic production at the BCA ("The Fox") and two blockbuster hits ("Amadeus" & "The Goat or Who Is Sylvia") --- but I showed up at 8 for a 7:30 curtain of The Boston Actors' Theatre's "Criminal Hearts" and so didn't see six plays this week, as I'd expected. So here's a quick look back at the other shows this week:

6 mar BILL W. AND DR. BOB The New Rep

Druv me to drink, it did!
Well, not exactly.
But, on the 7th, my knee surgeon took away my brace and, as I walked up to Coolidge Corner to get the trolley home, I felt again the memory this documentary on the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous had stirred the night before, of that crinkle of taste the bourbon leaves on the tongue as the soda's bubbles burst --- and I just happened to be passing a liquor store at the time...
"Bill W. and Dr. Bob" was developed from its first staged readings at The New Rep in 1990, and it's co-author Stephen Bergman ten years before that wrote the mordantly droll glimpse of internship "The House of God" (where, in a Beth Israel like-a-look, doctors mourn the greater fame of the bigger establishment in town known as Man's Greatest Hospital ... or M.G.H.) --- but this episodic tele-documentary did nothing to dramatize the good work of two obsessed proselytizers. I found myself fascinated by the bobbed and shingled hairdo worn by Rachel Harker, and the tour-de-force way Marc Carver morphed into half a dozen treated drunks, with Deanna Dunmyer playing the wives of some of them as well. But I knew the protagonists were going to win in the last scene, and nothing ever generated any real feeling of doubt at that outcome --- merely delay of it.

FRIDAY, 24 MARCH:NOTE:
I have fallen Way Behind; most of the shows below have already closed, and I must give them short shrift to Try to catch up. Sorry!

8 mar OTHELLO Boston Theatre Works BCA

This was also given short shrift, in my opinion. The funding for these Shakespeare productions stipulates that students can be driven (and that may be an important word) to the theatre for afternoon performances, or the show can be moved to schools for one-day-stands. That suggests bare-minimum sets, small casts, doubling of roles, and a fairly clear presentation of the text. All of that was true in this Boston Theatre Works production --- though I found it both simplified, and rushed. Even Jonathan Epstein as Iago ran through his lines so trippingly on the tongue that much of the sense disappeared. Each major character seemed to clasp a single note throughout, so that events Just Happened without much nuance or preparation. Tony Molina made a very passionate Moore, while Susan Apgar's Desdemona was the only calm, quiet, sincere voice --- though Molina and Apgar did enough serious kissing to indicate true love, before Iago turned it sour. I was less than impressed --- though I did feel insulted when four of the students pointedly, one by one, left for the bathroom during Act One, and none of them showed up for Act Two. They seemed, deliberately, to insult the play, and the rest of the audience, by their contemptuous indifference.

9 mar MEET DR. GODDESS Up You Mighty Race BCA

There were no programs, and I've lost the URL for the performance here.
This was a one-woman show, written and performed by a lady using the singsong chanting of HipHop/Rap and of Deff Poetry Jam --- styles that though popular leave my mind in the dust. Her messages of Black Pride and Women's Rights were dead-on, and her physical gyrations infectious; the audience really got into the show --- more than I could. I wish I could say more...

12 mar [ MY YOLANDA LOVE Queer Soup BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' reading ]

This was a workshop-reading, with a talk-back for input.
As such, perhaps the rough-edges of construction and emphasis, the absence of a "third-act" wherein whatever changes might have happened to each character --- those were what were most discussed. As they should be.
I know the Queer Soup process is for writer and cast to work together as equal partners in making plays. I don't know how much of what I saw and heard will survive the next re-write --- But I look forward to finding out!

The next three plays already got full reviews of their own:

15 mar CRIMINAL HEARTS Boston Actors Theater DEVANAUGHN 26
16 mar MOONCHILDREN Cambridge YMCA 27
17 mar VOICE OF GOOD HOPE Theatre Cooperative 28

18 mar BURIED CHILD Hovey Players 29

This was final-night, and was followed by one of Hovey Players' bang-up cast parties.
I had missed seeing this play at least three times, and I'm both sorry and glad that's true. The Hovey crew --- several of whom are old friends --- did an excellent job with this evocative script wherein nothing is ever really nailed down. I thought Sandi McDonald outdid herself as "Mom" in an exceptional cast under superb direction by Bill Doscher. I really wish I could say "Hurry, you shouldn't miss this one!"
I'm lucky I didn't!

IRRELEVENT PERSONAL NOTE:
My knee-surgeon Dr. Kim looked at my increasingly painful left knee and concluded there was no infection, but I was probably growing "pseudoMeniscus" --- i.e., scar tissue. If it continues to irritate everything (including my nerves) he will "Arthroscopically" snip it away. Otherwise, he said with a big affable grin, "after merely two more months of excruciating pain, everything should be fine!"
Film at eleven.....

Love,
===Anon.

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

24 mar "Betrayal" Devanaughn Theatre
25 mar "Brooklyn Boy" SpeakEasy @ BCA
26 mar "A More Perfect Union" Company One @ BCA
27 mar The IRNE Bash!!!!!! @ Hotel Lenox
28 or 29 mar SLAMboston Anothe4r Country @ Devanaughn
30 mar "The Maternal Instinct" Boston Playwrights'
31 mar "Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!" Theatre On Fire @ Charlestown Working
1 apr "Merrily We Roll Along" Longwood Players CAMB Y FAMILY TH
5 apr The SONNET-thon! @ Boston Public Library 5 p m
6 apr "Newfest 2006" Emerson 10 BOYLSTON PLACE
7 apr "West Side Story" Arlington Friends of The Drama
8 apr "Top Girls" TheatreZone in Chelsea
9 jun "Once Upon A Matress" Animus Ensemble @ BCA

Love,
===Anon.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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