Monday, July 1, 2013

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson - Portland Playhouse

Book by Alex Timbers Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Brian Weaver
Storyteller - Lorraine Bahr
Andrew Jackson - Logan Benedict
Adams/Ensemble - Sean McGrath
Tour Guide/Ensemble -Cristi Miles
Black Fox/Ensemble - Jared Miller
Clay-Ensemble - Chris Murray
Rachel - Melissa Murray
Monroe/Ensemble - Darius Pierce
Ensemble - Danielle Purdy; Alexandra Ramirez
Van Buren/Ensemble - Jason Rouse
Announcer/Ensemble - Jennifer Rowe
Cheerleader/Ensemble - Beth Thompson
Naomi/Ensemble - Sara Catherine Wheatley
Calhoun/Ensemble - John San Nicolas
Lyncoya - Ethan Reed Mckay
Lyncoya - Maeve O'Connor

The story of Andrew Jackson's rise from Indian fighter to President with attendant historical figures.  A great production music and scenes.

And So It Goes - Artists Repertory Theatre

Written by Aaron Posner and directed by Aaron Posner
Tom Newton - Tim True
Kate Newton - Valerie Stevens
Newt, Stage Manager, John - Andy Lee-Hillstrom
Catherine, Helene, Paula - Kayla Lian
Harry, Roy - Alex Hurt
Verne, George - Leif Norby
Doris, Gloria - Sarah Lucht

The Mask and Wig Club puts on a play every year in a small town.  A shy new woman in town is invited to join the cast which includes a shy hardware store stock boy who only comes alive when he is in character in one of the plays.  Fun production.

The Gin Game - Artists Repertory Theatre

Written by  D. L. Coburn and directed by JoAnn Johnson
Weller Martin - Allen Nause
Fonsia Dorsey - Vana O'Brien

Man and woman in a nursing home face the reality of aging and the end days of life across a card table on the back patio playing gin.

Mother Teresa Is Dead - Portland Playhouse

Written by Helen Edmundson  and Directed by Isaac Lamb
Jane - Nikki Weaver
Frances - Gretchen Corbett
Mark - Chris Harder
Srinivas - Luke Bartholomew

Personal responsibility in the face of the gulf between the developing world and the industrialized world. Explores what it means to try to address the problems both from a political and personal basis.  Woman leaves husband to go to India to do good leaving behind a child in order to save other children.

Ten Chimneys - Artists Repertory Theatre

Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Damaso Rodriquez

Alfred Lunt - Michael Mendelson
Lynn Fontanne - Linda Alper
Uta Hagen - Abby Wilde
Hattie Sederholm - JoAnn Johnson
Sydney Greenstreet - Todd Van Voris
Carl Sederholm - Chris Harder
Louise Green - Sarah Lucht

A ham-handed take off of  The Seagull the play is a comedy/drama with a bit of wit and a very slender narrative thread.  Not brilliant but perfectly acceptable performances.

My Children! My Africa! - Profile Theater

Written by Athol Fugard; directed by Adriana Baer
Mr. M - Bobby Mermea
Isbel Dyson - Chelsie Kinney
Thami Mbikwana - Gilbert Feliciano

Setting:  Camdeboo, South Africa, 1985

Thami, a black student in an apartheid school is in a debate contest with a white girl from a privileged white school under the direction of Mr. M.  Mr. M believes his student Thami is outstanding and has a chance to go far within the limits of blacks in apartheid South Africa--Thami turns to revolution, to break the boundaries that Mr. M sees no way to escape in the short run and turns in the revolutionaries and is subsequently killed by them.

Well acted, another excellent play from the incomparable Mr. Fugard.

Ithaka Artists Repertory Theatre

written by Andrea Stolowitz
Director - Gemma Whelan
Odysseus/Jacob - Victor Mack
Captain Elaine Edwards - Dana Millican
Lance Corporal Eve Richardson - Danielle Purdy
Bill Edwards - Paul Angelo
E.M. Richardson - Valerie Stevens

mc: Good storytelling, good acting, got me into the emotions and struggles of the context.
sz:  Story about PTSS woman returns from war tortured by guilt and questions of her role in an incident in which her friend dies:  should she have shot the child instead?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Lost Boy - Artists Repertory Theater

Written by Susan Mach and Directed Allan Nause
Cast:  Christian Ross - Michael Fischer-Welsh
          Sarah Ross - Dana Millican
          Detective Heins - Doren Ellias
          Bill Mosher - Duffy Epstein
          Joseph Douglas - Sean Doran
          PT Barnum - Todd Van Voris
          Zalumma Agra - Louisa Sermol
          Tom Thumb/Zahaer - Sam Dinkowitz
          Charlie Ross - Logan Martin
          Walter Ross - Harper Lea
          Cynthia - Elizabeth Houghton
          Ian McKean - Geoff Kanick

Child kidnapping reveals fractures in family that struggles to come to find a way to reclaim their child while dealing with the public fascination and scrutiny.  Wheeling and dealing family and showmen all want a piece of the profits that can be made from a tragedy.  We weren't impressed with how it all played out.

Seven Guitars - Artists Repertory Theater

Written by August Wilson and Directed by Kevin Jones
Cast:  Canewell - Victor Mack
          Red Carter - Michael J Asberry
          Vera Dotsun - Ramona Lisa Alexander
          Louise - Gayle Samuels
          Hedley - Mujahid Abdul-Rashid
          Floyd Barton - Lance McQueen
          Ruby - Ashley Williams

August Wilson is one of our favorite playwrights and we love to see any of his plays especially when they are well done as this was.  This is 1940s Pittsburgh Cycle play begins and ends with the funeral of the main character.  Floyd Barton recently released from jail has an opportunity to go to Chicago and record his music and possible set his life on a different path, but while he might think is done with the past, the past isn't done with him, nor is breaking the codes and patterns around easily accomplished.

Circle Mirror Transformation - Artists Repertory Theater

Written by Annie Baker and Directed by Allen Nause
Cast:  Marty - Beth Harper
          James - Richard Elmore
          Schultz - Jason Glick
          Theresa - Val Landrum
          Lauren - Danielle Purdy

Various individuals from a small town meet and participate in a creative drama class.  Their real lives have complexities that are demonstrated and ameliorated in the drama class. Kind of new "agey"

I am Still the Duchess of Malfi - Artists Repertory Theater

Written by Joseph Fisher and Directed by John Karetzu
Cast:  The Cardinal - Todd Van Voris
          Delio - Nicholas Hongola
          Bosola - Chris Murray
          Ferdinand - Jack Street
          Antonio - Vin Shambry
          Cariola - Camille Cettina
          The Duchess - Sara Catherine Wheatley

Well done reconfigured tale of revenge with laughs and serious content.

Race - Artists Repertory Theater

Written by David Mamet and Directed by Tamara Fisch
Cast:  Jack - Todd Van Voris
          Henry - Reginald Andre Jackson
          Susan - Ayanna Berkshire
          Charles - Jim Iorio

Legal issues demonstrate social and cultural attitudes, prejudices, assumptions, complications of our society when it comes to race and gender - did he didn't he rape the black woman, and who should or could bes defend him.  Not sure what all we learned from watching this.