Friday, May 16, 2008

Boston Theatre - Weekend Openings


Way Theatre Artists who just picked up an Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production for The Kentucky Cycle, co-produced with Zeitgeist Stage, present The Memory of Water with a great cast: Michael Steven Costello, Marc Harpin, Liz Brunette, Lyralen Kaye, Shauna O'Brien, Elizabeth Brunette, and Amanda Good Hennessey, (Full Disclosure: One of these people lives in my house.)

Local playwright Jack Neary opens at the Stoneham Theater with his North Shore based comedy The Porch.

For the bard obsessed, you can check out Will Shakespeare's King John at the Actor's Shakespeare Project, they are doing the play downtown this time. The play has had a resurgence over the last few years, but will probably disappear from the standard repertory again soon, so you may want to catch it while you can. It has some great actor moments and a few tense scenes. Don't expect too much of the Bard's top-flight poetry, although there are some brief verses that have endured. Seeing or reading King John is kind of like watching early Hitchcock, the themes and the craftsmanship that will be developed over the course of the artist's life are illustrated very clearly.


Thomas Garvey said...

Hey, don't knock King John. It was composed at roughly the same time as Henry IV, Part I - 1595-1596, at the same time Shakespeare was whipping out Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, so it's not all that "early." And although I've only seen it three times, I've never seen it fail - unlike R&J, which I've never seen succeed. The language is not memorable, true, but until its rather unsatisfactory ending, it's quite theatrical, with an intriguing undercurrent of sinister melodrama.

Lis Riba said...

Re:King John, did you happen to catch Shakespeare & Co's production a few years back?

Art said...

I did miss Shakespeare and Company a few years back.

I am anxious to see ASP's production.

Thom: You bring up an interesting point. The play works in production better than even Romeo and Juliet? What do you mean by succeeding or failing?

Succeeding in production still doesn't make the play better, right?

One of the things you have stressed in writing about recent productions is how great productions have masked failed plays.(History Boys, etc.)

The text of the History Boys will always have the issues you bring up, but will never probably suffer in a staging.

I guess what I am saying is, are you then, picking on Romeo and Juliet? Which is, of course, fair enough.

Thomas Garvey said...

Whoa, whoa - I didn't say it was a better play than Romeo and Juliet; I simply said for three-quarters of its length it's quite theatrical. Why Romeo and Juliet, like Macbeth, almost always seems to fail in performance is an interesting problem, however. Hamlet, which everyone seems to think is ever so much knottier, nevertheless succeeds far more often, in my experience. Perhaps because of its poetry, we bring higher expectations to R&J than young actors can possibly bring off? Perhaps. But the real problems start with Juliet's feigned death - my advice to any director is to simply cut the arrival of the musicians completely, and then edit the final scenes heavily. All the lamentation, and then the absurd double suicide, is pretty difficult to save from bathos. The only trickier sequence in the canon may be the last act of Antony and Cleopatra.