Richard Wilbur’s translation of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope” is a swift and witty expose of both society’s falseness and the alienation of reactionary bitterness. Reading it while imagining it set in its period of 17th century France, I delight in discovering such great similarities between people of that age and of our own. Washington University’s production strips away that potential delight with its modern setting and naturalistic performances. For the excitement of Moliere and Wilbur’s wit, it substitutes distracting karaoke numbers and hip-hop dancing. It is as though director Pannill Camp doesn’t trust Moliere to be entertaining enough to modern audiences without these silly additions.
Washington University's Performing Arts Department recently staged a new theatrical work called, "Sky Sky Sky," by playwright Elizabeth Birkenmeier, a former WU Drama student. While intriguing and thought-provoking, I'm sorry to say I came away with so many questions about what I was seeing in the play, that I never saw the work as a satisfying whole.
Naomi Iizuka wrote “Anon(ymous)” for a children's theatre. She tells the story of a young man who was separated from his mother as they were escaping the violence in their native land.
I just had a very exciting couple of days attending the staged readings of this year's Hotchner winners: "Ekphasia, or The Shadow Girl," by Cary Simowitz; "Kairos," by Kristen Oneal; and "Telegraph," by Will Jacob. The experience gave me great hope for the future of the American theatre.
Growing up is hard to do. It is rare that the transition from youth to young adult occurs without some pain. It is, in fact, all too common that the pain is almost unbearable. The Washington University Performing Arts Department delves deeply into this subject and delivers a moving, bittersweet production.
"In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)" follows the structure of a farce and, as such, multiple characters' lives become crisscrossed, and star-crossed, in order to bring to light the primary themes of the play. Interestingly, these themes are relevant not only to Victorian times, but, in many ways, the present.
There’s nothing I love more than seeing young people participate in live theater, and I have a real soft spot for the works of Shakespeare. So I looked forward to experiencing Washington University’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
If you don’t live under a rock, you probably know the name “Tracy Turnblad,” or at least recognize Hairspray as more than a product to set your coiffure. Born in the twisted mind of John Waters with the divine Divine as Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s zaftig mama, the 1988 movie became a cult film. In 1998, work began to re-imagine it as a big, splashy Broadway musical. Speaking as a fan of the original, I wish that hadn’t been done, but the result is surprisingly fun. The show’s finale is a big, bold number called “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” and apparently no one can. Since 2002, Hairspray has played around the world. The current production at Washington University’s Edison Theatre is highly entertaining and mostly capably rendered.
At Washington University's Performing Arts Department, Director Henry Schvey, his designers, and his cast have mounted a very clear, well-spoken and attractive production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a comedy and fantasy that is one of Shakespeare's perennially most popular plays.