Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'LL BE BACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT • Stray Dog Theatre

Stray Dog’s latest production, a two-act play written in 1979 by Peter Colley, has a familiar assortment of promising, hair-raising set-ups. The Sanderson couple, Greg and Jan (Jeff Kargus and Angela Bubash), have retreated to the country so Jan can get a breather from the world after a recent breakdown. Greg seems attentive enough to his wife, who is a little unnerved by the creepiness of the run-down farmhouse where they’ll be staying. A neighboring farmer, George (Mark Abels), full of folksy charm, hearty chuckles, and a supply of ominous stories about vengeful ghosts who supposedly plague the house, comes by every now and then for a spot of whiskey and conversation, but his stories don’t do anything for Jan’s state of mind. To top things off, Jan’s unease is heightened by an imminent visit from Greg’s sister Laura (Sarajane Alverson). Laura shares a tight bond with her brother, but she and Jan have never gotten along.

Friday, February 12, 2016

UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL • New Jewish Theatre

A library book that’s 113 years overdue sets the action off in Glen Berger’s 2001, one-actor play in NJT’s latest production. Our protagonist, a Dutch Librarian, is determined to hunt down whomever checked out a Baedeker's travel guide in 1873. WAY overdue. A trail of clues propels her (often portrayed as a ‘him’) out of her strait-laced job and off on an existential quest.

Against Kyra Bishop’s spare set with a blackboard, slide projector and screen, and an old suitcase, our Librarian (Glynis Bell), a resolute lover of order who wears her date stamper around her neck like a piece of jewelry, begins a presentation that she’s called, “An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences.” Within the pages of this long overdue travel guide she finds in the overnight slot, the Librarian discovers a laundry ticket from 1913 that willfully leads her to London. Taking a leave from her job, she lingers and follows hints, girded with a gut-level belief that she may have stumbled across evidence of The Wandering Jew -- a mythical figure from medieval Christian folklore. It concerns a man doomed to roam the earth until the second coming -- punishment for his reproach of Jesus on the way to his crucifixion.

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