With ACT’s new production of Edward Albee’s Seascape we have a fairly obscure work by a major playwright, despite the fact that it won the Pulitzer in 1974. The play’s mood is gentle and comic with few hints of the acid-in-the-face histrionics of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance, and his late-career, screech-fest, The Goat. And so we should ask, or at least wonder, what’s in this for new Artistic Director Pam McKinnon in her first directorial outing for her first year on the job.Read More
Men in Boats is as an incredible failure of imagination. The actual story of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 trip down the Colorado River is stirring and complex, a moment in history worthy of investigation, critique, celebration, whatever your game. Yet you can’t get to any of that without a real vision or philosophy of history. And a real vision would never reduce these complex people to stick figure goofballs.
What we get from Men on Boats is an illusion of real engagement and experimentation. It’s selling radical critique, revisionist history, feminist ideals, and theatrical invention, but it’s all packaging without soul or sense or care, just idle gestures to make us feel that something has happened.Read More
Almost everything in Sweat is a product of subject matter and situation. Only at the edges of the drama do we get anything close to human imagination. You see glimpses of life in some of the minor characters: the drunk Jessie who just wants a kiss on her birthday; Evan, a parole officer with a surprisingly humane and realistic view of the world; and Brucie, Cynthia’s drug addled ex, who may be the most interesting character on stage and certainly the freest.
Thrust to the side of the primary story, these bit players have some room to breathe. And because of that they’re kind of fascinating. Or put another way: the further the play gets away from the central drama, the more it roils with actual life.Read More
Pinter was the revolution that mid-century audiences wanted — and for almost 60 years he, along with Samuel Beckett, has stood for an ongoing theatrical revolt against conventional meaning.Read More