October 23, 2008

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Busy theaters
Do playwrights hate wives?
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

• Tito, one of the best opera singers in the world, gives a voice lesson to a Cleveland opera company assistant in a scene in Lend Me a Tenor. The two end up singing what should probably be a brilliant duet. But this is a fun farce by Ken Ludwig being performed by a community theater group. Mark Morrison, as Max, and Craig Ciampa, as Tito, lip-synched in the Nashua Theatre Guild production. (However, members of Operateurs, a group that sings opera together for fun, sang a short duet before the play, which was quite good.)

Morrison was particularly natural as Max, a put-upon assistant dating the boss’s daughter in 1934. Ciampa dove into the part of Tito, a comic caricature of a skinny Italian tenor. Tito’s wife Maria (Nancy Warner) has no patience for her husband’s antics. Jeff Richardson provided lots of laughs as the star-struck bellhop. Rich Alcott did well as the blustery, scheming father/boss, although he looked a little young for the part.

At the end, we didn’t know whether or not to clap. The stage went dark. The crew moved props around. Lights came back up, and the cast did a wordless, fast-forward reprise of the story with plenty of door-slamming on the hotel-suite set, to an Italian pop/opera recording. They must have burned lots of calories rehearsing. It was an overall entertaining evening, Thursday, Oct. 16, but Lend Me a Tenor ran only one weekend.

• Two other community groups, both staging dramas, continue runs for a second. Bedford Off Broadway has tackled Edward Albee’s Seascape. Tom Lianza, president of BOB, mentioned before the show Oct. 17 that Albee noted that all theater is absurd, not just Albee’s. Good point. Perhaps there isn’t such a stretch between sitting in a dark room watching people perform a story, and sitting in a dark room watching a story that involves talking lizards.

Seascape also had a wife who frequently seemed to lose it, but not always for entertainment. Nancy’s outbursts in part seem meant to provoke deep thought about life and relationships over time.

The other Albee show I’ve seen was A Delicate Balance, produced by the professional Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Both plays seemed to start slow, with a retired couple talking. More specifically, a wife talking, and husband trying not to.

Nancy, played by Judi Mitchell, repeatedly nags Charlie (Daniel Barth) to do “something,” as he settles into his beach chair. After years of work and raising children, he’s looking forward to doing “nothing.” Albee’s dialogue sends Nancy pondering about how doing nothing can turn a person to mush. She wonders if we are meant to end life as we began it.

Nancy goes from a nagging, buoyant wife to a sullen, philosophical one, to a show-off. The actors have to show quite a range of emotions in just the first act, including love, jealousy, anger, compassion, frustration and irritation. Fear, curiosity, brutality and rage are added to the second one.

Their initial meeting with the underwater lizard couple, Sarah (Cheri Birch) and Leslie (Scott Katrycz), makes possible some entertaining physical comedy, as Nancy and Charlie try assuming the submission pose and the lizards try to determine if the humans are friendly.

Discussions between the underwater creatures and humans lead to attempts to explain certain words. When they get to love, Charlie and Nancy have a tough time with a concrete definition. Albee has an interesting point there. Seascape runs Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. at Bedford Old Town Hall, 70 Bedford Center Road (www.bedfordoffbroadway.com, 488-5497).

• Arthur Miller’s All My Sons presented by Milford Area Players involved yet another wife frequently getting upset. This one, Kate Keller, played by Mari Keegan, really looks like she is on her way to being committed. She has good reason. One of her sons was declared missing in World War II in this story, set in a 1947 Midwestern backyard. 

Her other son, Chris Keller, played by Ryan Hagen, wants to forget about Larry and move on, which seems blasphemous. In fact, Chris wants to marry “Larry’s girl,” Ann Deever, (Kristin McGregor).

All My Sons doesn’t lack strong women. Ann is prepared for Kate’s resistance. Kate is set against the match, believing that Kate waiting for Larry is a sign that Larry is not dead. Even that doesn’t explain why Kate gets so wildly irrational. She has a worse fear than her son not coming home, it turns out. 

MAP did a nice job of creating the right atmosphere for All My Sons and its 1940s lingo, using a great pre-show soundtrack, and even wrote their announcements as if it were 1947, when the play first ran. All My Sons closes with shows Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m., at the Amato Center 56 Mont Vernon St., in Milford (www.milfordareaplayers.org, 673-2258). 


 

10/16/2008 All in one weekend

10/9/2008 Merrimack Rep at 20
10/2/2008 Curtain calls
9/25/2008 Curtain calls
9/18/2008 Stage sports
9/11/2008 Second Life to the rescue
9/4/2008 Curtain calls
8/28/2008 Tennessee Williams at Weirs
8/21/2008 Change for the moment
8/14/2008 Curtain calls
8/7/2008 Wicked experience
7/31/2008 Merry tales
7/24/2008 Review: the great outdoors
7/17/2008 Curtain calls
7/10/2008 Musical monsters
7/3/2008 Curtain calls
6/26/2008 Curtain calls
6/19/2008 Summer stock
6/12/2008 Curtain calls
6/5/2008 This one time, at drama camp...
5/29/2008 Curtain calls
5/22/2008 Making it big
5/15/2008 Curtain calls
5/8/2008 Curtain calls
5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
4/17/2008 'Balance' in Bedford
4/10/2008 Curtain calls
4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
1/17/2008 Curtain Calls
1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
12/20/2007 If all they want for Christmas is two good seats ...
12/13/2007 Summer stock vs. southern NH
12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
11/29/2007 Curtain Calls
11/22/2007 Broadway composer and actress hit Granite State
11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
11/8/2007 Curtain calls
11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
10/04/2007 Active in the community
9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
9/6/2007 Curtain Calls
8/30/2007 Curtain Calls
8/23/2007 Curtain Calls
8/16/2007 Curtain Calls
8/9/2007 Curtain Calls
8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
7/19/2007 Ease on down the road
7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
7/5/2007 If it's free, it's for me
6/28/2007 Transformations
6/21/2007 Curtain calls
6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
5/31/2007 Curtain calls
5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
5/17/2007 Curtain Calls
5/10/2007 Curtain Calls
5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
2/15/2007 Curtain calls
2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
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08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
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08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An†actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palaceís Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad itís over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
Itís cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesnít lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxiís driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Playersí Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid
Plaid (II)
Playing with manís best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The†Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace
Tosca

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to Ďnight Mother