Gloucester Stage’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” Brilliantly Evokes the Bad Old Days

 

By Sheila Barth

 

Some things never change.

We say they do. Over the years, we claim, there have been sweeping, amazing, changes.
But people don’t change. Sadly, there’s a stagnancy in human nature and conditions. Such is the case with Christopher Sergel’s striking stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic 1960 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,”  with Gloucester Stage’s blended cast of outstanding professional and local actors, skillfully directed by award-winning Boston director-Boston University educator, Judy Braha.

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Ogunquit Playhouse’s ‘FROM HERE TO ETERNITY a Powerful, Dramatic Musical

By Sheila Barth

 

Okay- straight out – Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of new musical “From Here to Eternity” is so overwhelming, realistic, and gut-wrenching, it’s the hardest-hitting musical I’ve seen in a while. Some of you remember the dramatic movie that won Frank Sinatra an Academy Award and took several other Oscars. The movie was superlative, and this new musical seems slated for success.

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“Oleanna” Stirs a Disturbing Debate

 

By Michele Markarian

 

‘Oleanna’ – Written by David Mamet.  Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue. Presented by New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA through November 5

 

I feel like I need to start this review off by saying that I am – absolutely – a feminist.  Keep reading, and you’ll see why.

 

“Oleanna” takes place in the office of John (Johnny Lee Davenport), a professor at a college whose impending tenure has just been announced. The subsequent raise in pay is allowing him to purchase a new home. A series of phone calls negotiating the details of this real estate transaction is interrupted by the arrival of Carol (Obehi Janice), a student who claims to be having difficulty with his class and in particular, his textbook. The textbook, one that he has authored himself, refers to higher education as “systematic hazing”. As someone who has worked hard to get herself to college, Carol is deeply offended by this. As she despairs at being too “stupid” to understand what is going on in his classroom, John offers to give her an A, if she agrees to meet with him for tutoring sessions. This decision will ultimately be John’s downfall.

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A Daughter Forsaken in “Alligator Road”

 

by Michele Markarian

 

“Alligator Road” – Written by Camille Kimball. Directed by Weylin Symes. Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, through October 29.

 

Recently widowed Kathy (Brianne Beatrice) is stuck with a hardware store she doesn’t want to run. Her feminist daughter, the angry Candace (Sarah Bendell) has just learned that her mother is literally giving away the store to Lavinia (Victoria George), a black woman Kathy perceives to be homeless. This is in order to make what she feels are “reparations”, despite never having slave owners in her family tree. Candace wants the store, Lavinia and her husband Scott (Avery Bargar) want the store, and Kathy just wants to be free from a life and a marriage she was long bored with. The stakes are high all around, which makes for interesting drama.

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Gloucester Stage Closes Season with Poignant, Powerful “Mockingbird”

 

By Mike Hoban

 

“To Kill A Mockingbird” – From the novel by Harper Lee; Stage adaptation by Christopher Sergel; Directed by Judy Braha; Set Design by Jon Savage; Lighting Design by John Malinowski; Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl; Sound Design by David Wilson. Presented by the Gloucester Stage Company at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester, through October 28.

 

During a pre-trial scene in To Kill A Mockingbird, the stage version of Harper Lee’s semi-autobiographical novel about racial injustice and the loss of innocence, there’s this defining exchange between defense attorney Atticus Finch and Scout, his 10-year old daughter.

 

“Atticus, are we going to win it?”

“No, honey.”

“Then why –”

“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win,” says Atticus.

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Trinity Rep’s “DEATH OF A SALESMAN” is a Masterpiece

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The opening show of Trinity Repertory Company’s 54th season is “Death of a Salesman”, a 1949 play by Arthur Miller. It was the 1949 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadway in February, 1949 and ran for 742 performances, and has been revived on Broadway four times, winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th Century. It explodes with poignancy and relevance. In 1947 Brooklyn, Willy Loman desperately craves success for himself and his two sons, but stark reality cannot live up to his dreams.The wall of delusions that he has constructed quietly crumbles around him while a devastated and demoralized man searches in vain for a hidden path to greatness. Director Brian McEleney takes this masterpiece of a show and makes it relevant to contemporary audiences so they can see each person’s struggle to achieve their ambitions and dreams is universal and not confined to the 1940’s. They can apply lessons learned from the past into their own lives during these uncertain and turbulent times. Beware of the past for if you don’t learn from it, it will come back and bite you on the butt. Brian not only blocks the show brilliantly but with his keen eye and insight into these characters brings out the best in his very talented cast, too. This show is electrifying and is the must see show of this season.

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“Lost Tempo” Hits All the Right Notes

 

Review by James Wilkinson

 

‘Lost Tempo’ – Written by Cliff Odle; Directed by Diego Arciniegas; Scenic Design by Jeffrey Petersen; Costume Design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt; Lighting Design by Evey Connerty-Marin; Sound Design by J Jumbelic. Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston through October 22.

 

I’m a sucker for a truly immersive theater set. There’s something about the way it envelops you, inviting you in. You’re allowed to let everything outside of the theater fade away. Forget about where you parked the car, what you had for dinner, the work at home you’ve been putting off. The curtain hasn’t even risen and already you’ve been dropped into the world of the play. Read more ““Lost Tempo” Hits All the Right Notes”

The Ghost Sonata – Fort Point Theatre Channel

 

Reviewed by James Wilkinson

 

August Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata. Performances run October 6th through 14th. Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 8pm. Durrell Theatre at Cambridge Family YMCA, 820 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA Tickets: $20, Students, seniors and Stagesource members: $14. For tickets call 800.838.3006 or visit www.fortpointtheatrechannel.org

 

It’s best, I think, to drop any notions you may have about narrative structure before walking into August Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata. This is a play that’s going to shatter each of those notions right before your eyes. Kudos to Fort Point Theatre Channel for having the nerve to take on this twisty puzzle box of a play. It is fascinating to have all of the play’s secrets and mysteries unfold in front of you until you turn around and realize you’re enveloped. If you have the chance to catch this production, now playing at the Durell Theater at the Cambridge Family YMCA, perhaps you’ll spend the whole evening, (as I did), with one eyebrow perpetually cocked as you silently repeat the phrase, “Wait…what?”

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Rod Ferguson Brings Music, Laughs with “Some Others I’ve Seen”

 

by Mike Hoban

 

Following a successful summer run in Provincetown, Rod Ferguson is bringing his unique cabaret style to Club Café in the South End for the next two Thursdays in October. His new show, “Some Others I’ve Seen: Stumbling Towards Love” combines musical selections from the 40’s (“You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Where or When”) with a series of well-crafted (and very funny) personal anecdotes to create an evening of cabaret that allows you to check your mind at the door, sing along – and laugh like hell.

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A Bright Room Called Day – Flat Earth Theatre

 

By James Wilkinson

 

BOX INFO: Two and a half hour, two act, production of Tony Kushner’s 1985 play, appearing September 30-October 14, 2017; Thursday-Saturday 8pm; matinee Sunday at 2pm. The Black Box Theatre at The Mosesian Center for the Arts, 21 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472. www.flatearththeatre.com

 

There’s a moment early in Flat Earth Theatre’s production of A Bright Room Called Day that, intentional or not, strikes me as oddly prescient. The character of Agnes is attempting to write a skit that will mobilize the Communist party. She speaks the lines, “The world is perched on the brink of…the brink of…” She searches for the right word then gives up and sighs, “Shit.” Sitting in the audience, I wanted to yell out, “You have no idea…”

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