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Sunday, August 26, 2018

NO EXIT • SATE

French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 rendering of Hell doesn’t involve pitchforks or brimstone, but there is torment nonetheless. In a new translation by Alyssa Ward and a shrewd staging directed by Bess Moynihan, three members of the newly deceased are escorted to the infernal regions to a sparsely furnished room, where not having a toothbrush will be the least of their problems.

Inès (Sarah Morris), Estelle (Rachel Tibbetts)
and Garcin (Shane Signorino).
Photo credit: Joey Rumpell
Garcin (Shane Signorino), a journalist, is the first to arrive, ushered in by Katy Keating as a grim valet who has heard all of the initial questions from newcomers before. He’s soon joined by postal worker in life, Inès (Sarah Morris), and Estelle (Rachel Tibbetts), a conceited socialite. Garcin, practical and self-possessed, thinks staying to themselves is the best plan of action. Estelle, who needs a mirror almost as desperately as she needs a man to seduce, angles for Garcin’s attention. Inès, the sharpest and most cynical of the three, spends most of her time lusting after Estelle, and is the most upfront about the cruelty she inflicted on those in her life. After brief glimpses of the goings on among the living back on earth, their past wrongs are eventually confessed, and the characters of these three souls are laid bare to each other without the convenience or comfort of pretense. The dynamics between these deceivers, murderers and cowards will doom them to spend the rest of time craving affection that will never be returned, and redemption that will never come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA • R-S Theatrics

From 9 Circles and Adding Machine: The Musical, to The Cherry Sisters Revisited, Parade and In the Heights, R-S Theatrics has never shied away from the risk of locally debuting ambitious plays and musicals. Based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer, Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza concerns Clara (Macia Noorman), a twenty-something girl from Winston-Salem, who falls in love with a boy while traveling in Italy. Her mother, Margaret (Kay Love), is torn between her instincts to protect Clara, whose mental development was stunted as the result of a childhood accident, and her dreams of happiness and fulfillment for her daughter.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

FAUST (go down with all the re$t) • Equally Represented Arts

ERA is at it again, kicking off FAUSTival -- an artistic collaboration among Equally Represented Arts, The Midnight Company, Theatre Nuevo, SATE, and the Post-Romantics. Each company will present an adaptation of the Faust myth over five months, and ERA’s ensemble-created rock-opera plays out at Foam, a coffeehouse/bar/music venue along Cherokee Street. With music composed by Kid Scientist, ERA takes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, includes text from Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, and adds in some tv game shows to skewer capitalism and ask, “How much is a soul worth?”

Monday, August 6, 2018

THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM • Stray Dog Theatre

The stage at Tower Grove Abbey is set for some tale tellin' in Stray Dog’s season closer, Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman’s The Robber Bridegroom. The musical was based on a novel that was loosely adapted from a Brothers Grimm story of the same name. Eudora Welty’s 1942 novel took the Grimm fairy tale and set it in 18th century Mississippi along the forests of the Natchez Trace. Uhry and Waldman’s musical has its share of fanciful, dark, even lurid elements, like you might expect from any fairy tale, but the score -- an uncommon blend of traditional Broadway music and authentic bluegrass, and Stray Dog’s tireless, country-fried cast of characters, provide a curiously savory mix.

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