Tag Archives: Irene Adjan
Do not go to Actors’ Playhouse’s Murder on the Orient Express expecting the grim locked-room mystery at the heart of the films or the novel. This 2017 edition is penned by the playwright of Lend Me A Tenor. If you can wipe the tone of those earlier efforts from your mind, you will likely find yourself chuckling much of the night at these theater veterans turn the Christie classic into a cute, often quite funny two-hour comedy sketch.
The celebration of love in many permutations – from first connections to farewells – swirls around the stage like the snow and the aurora borealis lights in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ gentle, sometimes comic, sometimes bittersweet, consistently touching Almost, Maine. The vignettes about the quirky residents creating, testing, dissolving relationships is shot through with the hope that love can be found or rescued.
There is a fifth crucial performer not mentioned in the playbill for Palm Beach Dramaworks’ upcoming production of “Almost, Maine.” High above the residents on a chilly Friday night in late January in the titular small town, a parade of lights flickers like the bottom of a multicolored curtain.
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.
It’s an obvious truism that most theater art – from dialogue to the lighting design – is partly a product of the artists’ past experience. But playwright-director Amy London’s Story of a Life, a harrowing examination of generations caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is ripped directly from the marrow of her own painful past.
Six months into the pandemic, theater artists are struggling with a profoundly damaging dimension particular to their purgatory-like limbo: The calling that gives their lives meaning requires interaction with other people in the same room. Late this summer, 33 South Florida storytellers agreed to draw back the curtain on their backstage battles that form the spine of an all too real three-act drama.
There’s something irresistibly intriguing when a whimsical fairy tale is invoked to teach life lessons to adults. Theatre Lab’s The Glass Piano may have a befuddled king, a savvy servant and a lovely princess. But Alix Sober’s delightfully fanciful and imaginative work is absolutely not a children’s play.
City Theatre’s production of The Cake, about a baker who refuses to make a cake for a lesbian couple, digs deep below stereotypes to examine the contemporary clash between sincerely held principles that threaten to cripple relationships among people who care for one another – or at least have to live in the same world.
The House of Blue Leaves gets as funny and touching a production from Palm Beach Dramaworks as anyone can ask for. Its virtues include superb direction, a flawless creative team and a wall-to-wall cast of actor-clowns willing to bury themselves inside the off-kilter and flawed characters.
GableStage’s rendering of Paula Vogel’s Indecent is freshly distinctive from Rebecca Taichman’s New York staging and from the rapturously received version that Palm Beach Dramaworks delivered last season. It’s not better or worse; it is its own. And its quality takes a back seat to no one.