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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MRS. SORKEN & THE DUCK VARIATIONS • Mustard Seed Theatre

Christopher Durang's brief play, Mrs. Sorken, was plucked from a collection of one-act parodies featured in his self-titled,  Durang/Durang, and it kicks off the show, serving as a nice introduction to the second play, David Mamet's, The Duck Variations.

After the pre-show announcements, Mrs. Sorken (Peggy Billo) is asked onstage to address the audience about theatre, its Greek roots and what attracts theatergoers to drama.  Once she realizes that she's lost her notes, she has to wing it, rambling in a free-association kind of way.  She begins with the etymology of the word drama, linking it to its Greek roots, and just about anything else that pops into her head.  She also talks about her own personal theatre preferences, announcing that she doesn't like the "f" word, plays that are over 4 hours, and Shakespeare -- if it's too hot and she has to pay.  Ha!  Little peeks into her own slightly unfulfilled life with Mr. Sorken work their way in as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? • St. Louis Actors' Studio

Edward Albee is considered one of this country's most influential playwrights, winning three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama.  Who doesn't love Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, right?  He's also the author of A Delicate Balance, Three Tall Women, and over roughly 25 other plays.  The Goat, debuting in 2002, is the story of a middle-aged married man who falls in love with another woman, but in this case, the other woman is a goat.  Sylvia the goat.  So, there's that.  Now, many plays about infidelity involve couples who aren't happy to begin with, but Martin (John Pierson), an accomplished architect, and his wife Stevie (Nancy Bell) truly love each other, have both been faithful (until recently) and are completely happy, physically and emotionally, in their relationship.  That is until Martin's carryings-on with Sylvia come to light, shattering his wife and their teenage son, Billy (Scott Anthony Joy).  Buckle up, right?

With a seemingly absurd premise, the play is about more than what initially meets the eye.  Although it's spiked with humor and Albee's razor-sharp wit and dialogue, this play, in the end, shows itself to be about tolerance, trying to examine exactly what the nature of love is, and who gets to decide that, and how it is decided.  The play's sub-title happens to be "(Notes toward a definition of tragedy)".

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Inaugural St. Louis Theater Circle Award Nominations

*****UPDATE*****

02.13.13

*St. Louis Theater Circle Awards:  New date, new location!


Many of you folks know that the Kevin Kline Awards, part of the Professional Theatre Council of St. Louis (PTC), a local organization formed with the intention of honoring excellence in St. Louis professional theater, announced their hiatus from the scene last year, and as a result, no Kevin Kline Awards will be presented for 2012.  But, Mark Bretz (Ladue News) and Judith Newmark (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) hatched an idea to let the reviewers in town come up with their own awards.  Truth is, this town is soaked with too many quality productions offered by quality companies to let a year go by with no recognition.  So, the St. Louis Theater Circle was born -- made up of critics who cover theater here.  And personally, I'm honored to have been included.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

GOOD PEOPLE • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep. continues its season with David Lindsay-Abaire's sincere and timely look at the underclass.  It centers on Margaret (Denise Cormier), who's a little down on her luck.  Not that she seems to have had much of that to begin with.  But is it luck, circumstances of fate, or a willingness to work hard for what you want?  

Margaret's a "Southie" -- residing in a working class south Boston neighborhood and known as Margie with a hard "g" to her friends.  When the play begins, she has been called out into the alley behind the Family Dollar store where she works by her younger boss, Stevie (Aaron Orion Baker), to be fired.  Margie's been repeatedly late, and Stevie is starting to catch some heat from his boss.  She tries to explain to him that along with the unreliability of public transport, her adult and developmentally disabled daughter, Joyce, requires a sitter when she's away, and her caretaker isn't always on time.

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