The Lesson of The Scarlet Letter

As you walk into the Studio Theater at the Rose Wagner Center for the Performing Arts, as with any play done in a studio space, you expect to see the set subtly lit with the stage lights, but you expect it to be vacant with the actors hiding backstage or in the wings waiting for the show to start. That’s not the case with Plan-B’s THE SCARLET LETTER, by Jenifer Nii (Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne). Yes, you see the set, subtly lit by the stage lights, but it’s not empty. Hester Prynne, played by Lauren Noll, stands defiantly at the top of the scaffold holding her baby bundled in a black cloth. Occasionally the baby cried or otherwise fussed, and she would attend to it. I heard one audience member say, “oh! She’s real” when Hester moved. Continue reading

Held in Arthur Miller’s Crucible

Through numerous revivals and television adaptations, Arthur Miller’s allegorical play The Crucible has taken on new and important meaning, traveling through sixty years of American history and serving as a bastion of American theater. Though the story of the play is concerned with the Salem Witch Trials, its original intent was to hold a mirror up to the McCarthy-era fear of Communism, and the work has remained relevant through its portrayal of intolerance, prejudice and suspicion. Continue reading

An Education in Quality Theatre

This past Friday night (February 10, 2012) reminded me why I love live theatre. It reminded me of the importance of great writing and experienced acting. Pinnacle Acting Company’s current production of Educating Rita by English playwright Willy Russell has both of those important qualities in spades. It is a play that I will no doubt still be thinking about for a long time to come. Continue reading

Plan-B Theatre Company: Amerigo

Plan-B’s latest production is a fascinating argument between Christopher Columbus (played by Mark Fossen) and Amerigo Vespucci (played by Matthew Ivan Bennett), about who deserves to be called the true “discoverer of America”. An argument that is causing an uproar in Purgatory, and forces the issue to be moderated by Niccolo Machiavelli (played by Kirt Bateman), and judged by Mexican poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (played by Deena Marie Manzanares). The argument, funny at times, poignant in its modern relevancy at others, is both thought provoking and engaging, and well worth experiencing for yourself. Continue reading

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