Sunday, May 15, 2016

THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY • The Midnight Company

“The Two Character Play,” one of the many offerings during this year’s inaugural Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, is one of Williams’s later works, and performed in The Learning Center on Westminster Place, formerly known as the Wednesday Club. In the late 1930’s, the Wednesday Club's stage was the home of the Mummers of St. Louis theatre troupe, where a few of Tennessee’s early plays were debuted. It’s poignantly fitting that this play is performed in this creaky old house, where Williams found his beginnings.

Felice (Joe Hanrahan) and Clare (Michelle Hand) are siblings and actors, preparing to perform one of Felice’s own works to, possibly, an audience, in a run-down theatre in a nowhere town. Abandoned by their company, with no home except for the theatre, it doesn’t take long to see signs of damage between these two. Their ex-colleagues called them “insane.” After Felice goes through what seems like a long-practiced ritual of preparing his sister for a performance, the play-within-the-play begins -- about a dysfunctional brother and sister, no less. In the play’s play, the siblings are survivors of a shared childhood trauma that leaves them constantly on a precipice, where the prospect of just leaving their house brings on a burden of apprehension. In some of the humorous moments that are sprinkled throughout, their characters’ lines are forgotten and improvised, and aside from a southern dialect put on for the “performance,” the line between the characters’ plight and the actors’ realities is razor thin to the point of invisibility, with looming shadows left by a confined, stress, drug, and alcohol-addled existence.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

TRASH MACBETH • ERA

Equally Represented Arts is back with another enveloping, innovative production that places Shakespeare’s Macbeth as its spine, and includes excerpts ranging from Emily Post's Etiquette and 1950's advertisements, to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, with a little Book of Revelation thrown in for good measure. Whaaa?! And you know what else? It works. Created by an ensemble of theatre artists and accented and complemented by ERA’s trademark movement and choreography, these dissimilar texts are carefully and shrewdly woven through one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies, resulting in a surprising harmony between the Bard’s story of murderous ambition, and our modern, media-soaked, consumer-driven world of consumption. It’s also quite a blast.

Welcome to the Macbeth’s for a dinner party that you won’t soon forget.

ShareThis