Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight

In direct-address to the audience, Emilie introduces the notable figures in her life, narrates some events, and introduces other events as scenes in which she and the others act out the “drama.” “Drama” gets scare-quotes here because what drama there is often gets choked by the narrative framing. Apart from a few surprising scenes of real emotional vehemence, the scenes of drama that pop up mostly come across as simple banter or conversations between characters who feel more like ideas of historical figures than real humans: in other words, they have no psychological depth.

Read more

Native Gardens

While much of the general arguments and insults sure make the older Butley’s look (and act immature), the young liberals come off as semi-heros as the battle over the yard emerges. It is well known that many neighborhood land disputes end up in ugly violence, Native Gardens has an unsatisfying ‘happy ending.’ This play is quite funny mostly, the coceit is plausible yet quickly moves from funny, problemic to silly farce. The undertow here is that the older folks are cliches and the young liberals should rule making an uneven age bias obvious.

Read more

Her Majesty’s Will

The press release describes this production as “An irreverent comedy that imagines Shakespeare’s ‘lost years’”—the years for which we lack historical record of his life and activities—“as a rousing romp through the streets and across the stages of Elizabethan London.” To that, I chuckle. “Romp” is fitting, but surely “irreverent” is a misnomer: something so inane and infantile cannot possibly bear the prestige of “the irreverent.” We must hold to some standards.

Read more

Bright Half Life

This memory play starts out in time order as we see how and when Erica and Vicky meet, become an item, move in together, adopt children and eventually marriage. This multilevel play is told in flashbacks, flashforwards, dreams and fantasies. This play grabs us and makes us follow the disjointed memories because we like and care about both characters. We learn about their foibles, wants and desires as, in most relationships, one or the other holds the power, as the stakes shift as the power shifts. Early on Erica is tha aggresive one yet once thwy are committed, Vicky becomes incharge of most events.

Read more

The Night Season by Strawdog Theatre

The Night Season. An ensemble play I would describe as more about loneliness than love, The Night Season is an experiential success insofar as it offers the same disappointment of loneliness by not only conveying loneliness’s disappointment through its characters but also by leaving its audience disappointed at its end—all this despite its sentimental conclusion in which many characters actually find love.

Read more

Relativity

At she bonds with Einstein, Harding segways from Einstein’s work to his personal life. She speaks about a child he had in 1902 who was never spoken again after 1904. Here playwright St. Germain fictionalizes about what happened to the baby and what Harding’s connection is to that happening. Einstein’s reaction to that baby, now a grown women, and to that women’s child, a genius savant makes for a compelling story.

Read more