Friday, January 05, 2007

Make it a Small Theatre Weekend

Before the larger stages get really humming this new year, you can slip into two small theatres this weekend.

At the Devanaugh Theatre AYTB will present Still Life; A Documentary by Emily Mann. The play was an Obie Award Winner from the early 1980's about the Vietnam war and is written by the playwright who brought us Having Our Say and similar documentary-style plays about the Holocaust and the Greensboro murders.

While we wait for this current war to produce a dramatist like David Rabe, it seems we will have to be content with revivals of dramas of other wars, (The Persians, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Streamers,) documentary style collages, (Boots on the Ground, Stuff Happens,Talking to Terrorists, Nine Parts of Desire,) or protest, agit prop style theatre, (Embedded, Lysistrata.)

Meanwhile, at the Boston Center for the Arts, Alarm Clock Theatre Company presents a new play titled Bombs and Manifestoes by Somerville playwright Brian Polak. I saw a slimmed down version of the play at Whistler in the Dark's FeverFest over the summer.

In reading a recent article on the play I noticed the following:

The piece was first introduced in an abbreviated version as part of FeverFest 2006.
“In preparing ‘Bombs’ for FeverFest we had to make several cuts in the text because it was too long, which was good in a way because it forced us to find weaknesses in the script,” said Polak. “What we ended up with was a slicker, slimmed down version of the fuller piece. Now we can return to the full piece and determine which of the cuts should remain out and which can be worked back in.”

“Staging the play an audience five months in advance of the full production allowed us to fully conceptualize the piece,” said Jami Brandli, producer and Alarm Clock Theatre literary manager. “It’s one thing to read and workshop the
script, but it is eye-opening to be able to watch it performed in order for us to fully realize its potential.”

It is very encouraging to see this kind of development of a new work and I think, from my experience of watching the piece, that they seem to have made good decisions.

The production at the BCA will use film and it is always interesting to see how people use multimedia.

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