LEAF CUTTER, written by Yasmine Rana (center, above), was a finalist for the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting. It was awarded a staged reading at the Olympia Theater in Miami at the CityWrights 2017 launch, and directed by Artistic Director Margaret Ledford (above, left).
One comes to “The Merry Wives of Windsor” expecting broad farce, this being arguably the most comically potent play in the canon. Rich with humor and ribald in plotline, it’s among the most reliable workhorses in the Bard’s canonical stable.
As such, a director might be forgiven for dialing it in. Dawn Monique Williams was having none of that on opening night. Playing to a packed house on a perfect spring evening at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, Williams and her troupe of bawdy thespians set the evening on fire with a night of theater that deliciously walks the line between classic Shakespearean hilarity and an entirely contemporary brand of satire. It takes guts to integrate 1980s culture into a play that was written circa 1597, but that’s what Williams has done, intermittently launching her actors into fabulously entertaining gyrations to the music of Whitesnake, Whitney Houston, and Blondie that somehow work ingenuously with the bawdy nature of the play. On production value alone, the costuming, lighting and musical composition are worth the price of admission — dance numbers by powerhouse choreographer Valerie Rachelle are superb. And we haven’t even gotten to the acting.
Read the full and raving review from Ashland Daily Tidings here.
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.: TheatreSquared has announced the lineup of new plays that will be featured at its ninth annual Arkansas New Play Festival. Lisa D’Amour, Rick Ehrstin, Barbara Hammond, Mona Mansour, John Walch, and Austin Ashford will have their plays developed and read over two weekends, June 16-25.
“This 50-artist, two-weekend festival is our region’s rare opportunity to see—and shape—the next great American play,” said T2 executive director Martin Miller in a statement. “With 15 performances and events in Fayetteville and Bentonville, the festival is an embarrassment of riches for theatre lovers and a chance for every community member to have a glimpse of a usually closed-loop creative process.”
The lineup of plays will be:
- The Furies by Lisa D’Amour, about two friends who reveal secrets over lunch that threaten to upend their friendship and their lives.
- Visible From Four States by Barbara Hammond, in which residents debate what to put on their town’s highest hilltop.
- Transatlantic by John Walch, a comedy that spans two continents and two centuries.
- Comet Town by Rich Ehrstin, about a man who is trying to juggle work, family, and a father with dementia.
- We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War by Mona Mansour, about a woman and her nephew who navigate identity, family, and allegiance.
- (I)sland T(rap) by Austin Ashford, a one-person rap adaptation of The Odyssey. Ashford will perform.
In addition, TheatreSquared will present a young playwrights showcase, with two 10-minute student works and a performance of Follow Me @TioSam, a devised theatre piece from the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Directors and writers who revisit the classics of the theater love to suggest their contemporary relevance. Often that’s a stretch, but not in the case of Trinity Rep’s reworking of Lope de Vega’s “Like Sheep to Water,” penned four centuries ago, but all too familiar to fans of CNN and the evening news.
He may not tweet in the middle of the night or hang out in an “Access Hollywood” trailer, but Fred Sullivan Jr.’s abusive Spanish captain seems awfully familiar, the way he has his way with women, makes up his own rules and considers himself far above the law.
But Commander Gomez gets away with murder for just so long. There is sweet revenge to be had, revenge that in the end involves the entire audience.
Artistic director Curt Columbus and director Mark Valdez have wisely maintained a sense of history in the costumes and sets, even some of the music, just to make the analogy all the more clear, just to remind us that egomaniacal dictators have been around for a long time.
But while the play, which clocks in at just two hours, has a kind of antique formality, it is filled with human moments, with lovers’ spats and the like.
We feel the pain of the terrorized residents of the little village of Fuente Ovejuna, which roughly translates as “the watering place for sheep.” And we all know who the sheep are after watching Sullivan’s brutal Commander Gomez rip a young bride from her wedding party and pass her among his men like a party favor.
Read the full review by Channing Gray from the Providence Journal here.
“Relativity,” Mark St. Germain’s new play about a largely opaque chapter in the life of the thought-altering physicist Albert Einstein, is an exercise in dramatic speculation. And before going any further two things must be noted.
First, the principal reason to see this Northlight Theatre production is to watch Mike Nussbaum, the 93-year-old actor who might easily be dubbed the eighth wonder of the modern world, work his magic as the complicated, ornery, sardonic and all too human genius whose celebrity surely became something of a curse in his later years. Second, this review must come with an immedate spoiler alert, for to explain the premise behind St. Germain’s play is to reveal the secret that is its animating force. So read on if you wish, or simply take this as an inducement to catch a remarkable actor (of any age) working at the height of his powers.
When: Through June 25
Where: Northlight Theatre,
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
Tickets: $30 – $81
Info: (847) 673-6300;
Run time: 80 minutes
with no intermission
Read the full review by Hedy Weiss from the Chicago Sun Times here.