The story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who hid in a tiny annex with her family to avoid deportation to the concentration camps during World War II, is well known. Her tragic fate has been told time and again since the discovery of her diary shortly after the war's end. And yet, in an age of history deniers, and in a world where genocide is still a threat, it is important that this story be told again, and again, in the hope that a lesson will be learned and such atrocities will never be repeated.
The classic style of the mid twentieth century murder mystery is ever-present in Stray Dog Theatre's production of "And Then There Were None," one of Agatha Christie's most popular stories. The entire show, from the mid-century modern furnishings to the gorgeous costumes, perfectly coiffed hair and well-stocked bar, references the stereotypes of the period, as do the characters.
HotCity theater brings Larry Kramer's heartbreaking "The Normal Heart" to life in a dark, somber production filled with an endless parade of the dead and dying, running through September 27, 2014 the Kranzberg Arts Center.
Do artists control the characters that live in their minds, or are they controlled by them? Does our gender inhibit us or does it free our imagination? Can we be both the creator and the creature? Can the monster have questions of its own, beyond knowing the mind of its creator? Interesting questions to ponder from the "Mary Shelley Monster Show," a very intriguing and intellectually bent production.
Max and Louie Productions' staging of Doug Wright's "Quills" is a deliciously inventive play weighing our decidedly human fascination with social and sexual mores against the lengths society will go to in the attempt to stifle the works of artists who push the envelope or in other ways make us nervous.
The St. Louis Actors' Studio once again features the works of established and emerging playwrights in its annual month-long festival of new plays, the "LaBute New Theater Festival," with four works produced for the second half of the festival. Running through August 3, 2014, the plays in part two represent the strongest productions of the festival and include Neil LaBute's "Here We Go round the Mulberry Bush," which had its world premier during part one.
St. Louis Shakespeare kicks off its thirtieth season with a passionate, emotionally layered production of "Hamlet" that remains faithful to the script while providing a few unexpected twists, most of which work to great effect.
Somewhere in Lebanon, in a dark, cold prison cell, three men wait to learn their fate. Will they be killed by their captors? Will their respective governments negotiate for their freedom? Will they lose their minds and slowly go insane as they wait in the small, cramped cell for release, or at least some news from home? "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" examines these questions in this gut-wrenching drama set in a single, dark cell.
One of Shakespeare's best loved and most well known plays, "Henry V" tells the continuing story of Hal, introduced as a young ne'er do well prince who brilliantly redeems himself and earns the throne in "Henry IV." Now crowned King Henry V, Hal has unified England and, bolstered by lineage, set his sites on claiming the French crown as well. With both his father and his barroom mentor Falstaff dead, Henry must prove his merit on the battlefield as well as politically, by securing the French princess Katherine as his queen.
Harold Pinter's tale of family dysfunction is a well-acted, sharply directed and tightly produced piece, driven by a surprisingly satisfying level of dark humor and absurdity. What it lacks are easy answers and a clear path towards resolution, though this, too, is done with careful intention.