Several area theatre companies are staging works by acclaimed playwrights to illuminate the turbulence of today's political climate. While some author's reference current events to push an agenda or present alternate points of view; others, such as Argentina's Lucia Laragione, weave political overtones within more fanciful contexts to raise awareness of historical events and social injustices.
Gods are all-seeing. Gods can condemn. Would you blind your god if you could? This presentation of Peter Shaffer's play is quite simply the finest evening of theatre that I've been privileged to see in a number of years.
If the opening night crowd for Come Rain or Come Shine was not quite as large as Cabaret St. Louis would have liked, it might have been due to some lukewarm reviews the show got earlier this year in New York. If so, local audiences should have no concern. Come Rain or Come Shine may not be a flawless show, but it's a polished and entertaining one with solid musical and theatrical values that gets the fall Cabaret St. Louis season off to a fine start.
Are you a virgin? If you have not yet seen the Immediacy Theater Project's (ITP) evening of shenanigans that is Drawn & Quartered, then the answer is "yes" - in the same way that those naive to the world of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are virgins to midnight movies. It is unlike any theater, or sketch work for that matter, that St. Louis is currently offering - and sweetheart, you don't know what you're missing.
To perform an Oscar Wilde play and do it justice is no easy task; but to do a Readers Theater production of an Oscar Wilde play is a far greater challenge, and one in which Soundstage Productions most notably attempts with their latest production of Wilde's An Ideal Husband. For those unfamiliar with Readers Theater, or as Soundstage calls it, "Theater of the Mind," it is a shift in focus from the traditional, more visually stimulating staging of a play to a more auditory and text-driven version. This format of theater requires actors to rely heavily on the voice as their expressive instrument, taking away their ability to employ costumes, sets, blocking, etc. as a way of establishing tone, time or place.
Scott Schoonover's Union Avenue Opera continues to offer quite sterling productions in its uniquely intimate venue. The collection of voices in Pikovaya Dama is among the very best I've heard in the many years I've been enjoying this company's fine work. They are uniformly beautiful; vocally there is truly no weak point in this cast.
In 1972, actor/playwright Jason Miller opened his off-Broadway production of That Championship Season. Heralded as one of the year's best, Miller's play went on to receive a Tony Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1973. What made That Champion Season so widely celebrated was the raw humor and emotion expressed by the play's middle-aged male characters, all lacking a sense of self and direction. Former teammates, the men gather at their former coaches home to celebrate the 20thanniversary of their victory as state basketball champions. As the evening progresses, the occasion becomes less about reliving their victorious past and more about fearing their uncertain future.
“Let there be Light!” And there was no light. (Repeat.) It will be a delight for any reviewer, pro or con, to write about St. Louis playwright Joshua Thomas' new work that premiered Friday at the Marble Stage—it's so full of parti-colored thought and wit and perception and irony. In an era where most plays seem obsessed with the problems of dysfunctional individuals, this one dwells on far deeper questions. It's an intellectually refreshing flash-back to the Existentialists and Absurdists of the fifties and sixties. For all this I thank Thomas profusely.
Callaway and Graae, whose careers are bespangled with Broadway credits, gave a bang-up opening Thursday to a series of evenings produced by the St. Louis Cabaret Conference—a training program which is largely responsible for the recent rapid rise in visibility of cabaret in St. Louis. Founder/producer Tim Schall can be justly proud of the conference and its products.
Arthur (Tom Lehmann) and Howard (Stephen Peirick) are friends, though on the surface they have little in common. Arthur shambles around in sloppy, mismatched clothes and red Converse sneakers. He's a “starving artist.” Howard wears an ascot, a navy blazer and gray slacks with polished tassel loafers to hang around his house oozing success. He has a British accent but it's a bit hard to tell if he's English or just “affected.” Despite his pompous streak, he seems like a pretty good guy, and when Arthur asks a favor, Howard complies, however unwillingly.