Tag Archives: Peter Haig
If Dickens’ opening line in A Tale of Two Cities has become a trite cliché through overuse it has become a painfully accurate truism about theater over the past two years, especially South Florida theater. Crippling loss and inspiring resurrection. Surrender and perseverance. And , now, the Covid threat has reasserted. But looking back on those two years delivers a testament worth celebrating and learning from.
GableStage’s Joseph Adler died shortly after his direction of The Price was cut short by the pandemic. His successor, Bari Newport, took his notes, cast, creative team and infuses it with her own sensibilities. The production would make Joe proud. Theater to make you think about your own lives. Newport’s insightful direction of superb actors navigates the dense story of past sibling strife that has crippled their present.
A central facet of his premiere Watson at GableStage is depicting what may be the world’s first personal information disaster, a horrifying tragedy as American-licensed technology is sold to the Nazis who later use it to identify Jews for extermination. But what resonates in these times are capitalism’s responsibility to humanity, and the intentional blindness styling itself as innocent ignorance.
Noises Off is one of the funniest farces written in the English language and a solid match for Actors Playouse talents. The laughs are plentiful, but this production didn’t wring everything out of this piece that you’ve seen done elsewhere.
Although the Actors’ Playhouse folks are working very hard to master this Everest of a play, All The Way, about Lyndon Johnson’s campaign to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this time they have barely fought the work to a standstill.
The miracle of the Carousel when it’s done well, as it is in this Actors Playhouse production, is that although it’s 72 years old and its protagonists are a wife-beating ne’er-do-well and the woman who stubbornly loves him despite the domestic violence, the bloody thing works in the 21st Century.
A gay teenager leading a religious choir at a regimented prep school for African-Americans is a perfect theatrical metaphor for an individualist struggling to square his uncompromising self into a society built upon conformity. Elevated by thrilling music performed in five-part harmony, a depiction of this difficult dance is the premise of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy in GableStage’s intriguing production.
Put Actors’ Playhouse production of Making God Laugh pretty much in the insightful column. Playwright Sean Grennan uses our recognition of the laughter and pain common to most familial relationships and uses it as a building block in his farcical comedy that transmutes into poignant drama.
The miracle of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s streamlined Hamlet at GableStage is that even after surgically slicing two-thirds of the script, the result remains not only effective theater but pure if distilled Shakespeare. It honors the music of the Bard’s language, but places an equal premium on actors communicating a line’s meaning rather than being mindlessly captive to the poetry.
It’s not encouraging when all through New Theatre’s production of Educating Rita you keep thinking what a great script Willy Russell wrote. This edition sloughs listlessly in the opening 45 minutes or so and really only begins to be mildly engaging near the end of the first act.