Friday, February 11, 2011

File Under - Did They See The Same Show?

Terminus, Mark O'Rowe's interlocking monologues presented by the Abbey Theatre of Dublin, is on at ArtsEmerson. Two critics in town are suggesting you might not want to miss the show, but for very different reasons...

Don Acouin of The Boston Globe writes:

If Hieronymus Bosch were alive today and decided to turn his hand to playwriting rather than painting, he might concoct a nightmarish vision akin to that of Mark O’Rowe’s “Terminus.’’

In a mesmerizing Abbey Theatre production that will be at the Paramount Mainstage through Sunday, O’Rowe takes us on an allegorical odyssey through the evil that men (and a couple of women) do. “Terminus’’ is extraordinarily bleak yet streaked with redemptive moments, and even some flashes of humor.


It was a century ago, in September 1911, that the Abbey Theatre, cofounded by William Butler Yeats, launched its first American tour with a performance in the Hub of John Millington Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World.’’

I’m not saying “Terminus’’ is destined for classic status. But now, as then, Boston theatergoers would be ill-advised to miss a provocative offering by a talented Irish dramatist.

Tom Garvey writes the following at The Hub Review:

You keep thinking it has to be a joke.

You think that when the heroine pops out the eyeballs of the crazed lesbian abortionist who's brandishing a sharpened spear. And you think it when she wakes up (after having been knocked out cold with a folding chair) to find a guy masturbating over her, ready to shoot. You think it when the other leading lady reaches orgasm with a flying demon made of worms. And you really, really think it when the serial killer is strung up by his intestines (which have been pulled out through his arsehole), and swings face-down from a construction crane, singing (I'm not kidding) "The Wind Beneath My Wings."

But it seems it's not a joke. Indeed, it's deadly serious (even though the audience every now and then breaks out into guffaws).


You keep waiting for some slightly arch phrasing, some flicker of an eyebrow, to nudge the whole thing into the hilarious parody of current pop culture it's screaming out to be. But no such luck; the stark lighting, the smashed set, the grim, downer line readings - they're taking this thing (and themselves) very, very seriously. And so I just don't want to acknowledge the director or designers or even the actors - they may be taking themselves seriously, but that doesn't mean I have to.

And you don't have to, either. Of course it would be rude to actually throw rubber eyeballs at the stage, but you can still do that mentally. And to be honest, theatre geeks may not want to miss this show; it has the aura of legend about it, as Carrie and Moose Murders did. People may be bragging that they saw it for years to come.

For the record, I literally was in the same theater as both men. However, I must have missed the show that Mr. Acouin saw - as I was seeing almost exactly the show Tom describes.

Doing a search on my tags, I found that I actually kind of reviewed the Abbey's production of Playboy of the Western World at the Wilbur back in 2004. Yikes, I didn't even remember writing that. Have I really been blogging that long?

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