Yes, there is broad humor, over-the-top characters, cartoonish sets, a fairy tale vibe and a 10-foot tall puppet, but Theatre Lab makes it clear that Rachel Teagle’s world premiere script of The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons is not children’s theater, but an adult evaluation of dreams.
Fuácata! has been tweaked by star Elena Maria Garcia and director Stuart Meltzer with references to non-binary, Uber and “draining the swamp.” But the exuberantly hilarious and moving work from 2017 already had elements echoing the subsequent rise of #MeToo, hardening of ingrained bigotry, explosion of immigration crises, renewed uproar over Cuba and other topics. This production at Actors’ Playhouse is cause for celebration.
The ghosts of O’Neill and Shepard creak the floorboards of Main Street Players’ Wolf & Badger, the latest exorcism of filial trauma from New Jersey playwright Michael John McGoldrick. Unfolding in 90 minutes of real time, MSP’s first production since the pandemic is a story of brotherly conflict as old as Cain and Abel as well as a contemporary portrait of late capitalism in decline,
Young, visionary director Giancarlo Rodaz’s winning approach in Area Stage Company’s current unorthodox, yet triumphant production of the classic musical Annie features eight adult actors playing all roles in a stripped down environment in the round.
M Ensemble’s production of Layon Gray’s Cowboy is everything audiences expect of a rousing western, but it’s also an inherent indictment. It is not of little significance that the play is presented with entirely Black actors in a genre that has only recently begun to welcome melanin in its ensembles.
Drew Droege’s Bright Colors and Bold Patterns deftly avoids common tropes of the solo show in its compulsively watchable regional premiere at Island City Stage, a fringe festival-style tour de force for actor Thomas Mark.
The line in the legal play A Class Act, ““For the right money, I’d settle with Hitler,” stands out as much as it does because the virtuous play and JCAT’s heavy-handed production are otherwise absent this moral slipperiness, favoring a reductive arc of cardboard villains earning their comeuppance.
In an exceedingly timely appearance, Island City Stage mounts a scathing production mirroring current tumult about race in America — a taut, intense, drama The Niceties.
Theatre Lab invests its growing expertise in multi-media theater performance in Vanessa Garcia’s premiere of Ich Bin Ein Berliner, a heartfelt memoir of a Cuban-American girl who grows up perceiving a growing, resonance between Berlin escaping Communism when the Wall fell in 1989 and the unrealized-as-yet dream of Cuba escaping Communism.
A superb evocation of the soul of Emily Dickinson from actress Margery Lowe and director William Hayes marks the video co-production from Palm Beach Dramaworks and Actors’ Playhouse of The Belle of Amherst, filmed from live performances.