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Showing posts from September, 2014

Rococo Rouge

Rococo Rouge
produced by Company XIV
directed by Austin McCormick
with:
Laura Careless
Katrina Cunningham
Courtney Giannone
Lea Helle
Rob Mastrianni
Cailan Orn
Davon Rainey
Steven Trumon Gray
Allison Ulrich
Brett Umlauf
Shelly Watson
Company XIV’s (off-off-Broadway) cabaret show, Rococo Rouge, gives us a hoop dancer, ballet dancers, a sort of balloon dancer… can-can girls, a pole dancer, hermaphroditic dancers (pasties and a codpiece)… singers, a guitarist, bustiers…
In short, it’s a sort of burlesque. It succeeds in being sexy but never vulgar – great! From the suggestive pas de deux to the acrobatics, it’s delightful. Its young, versatile cast of 10 sing, dance, titillate as needed. Most of the music is recorded, including opera orchestration, but there’s a guitarist accompanying the solo singing. The hostess, full-bodied and sensual, mingles with the audience and offers us vapid, wonderful lines like “To be kissed by a fool is stupid; to be fooled by a kiss is worse.”
No one’s far f…

Culture Shock 1911-1922

Horizon Theatre Rep (off-off-Broadway) is presenting Culture Shock 1911-1922, an evening of plays from the World War I period. The bill includes: Sancta Susanna (1911) by August Stramm; The Guardian of the Tomb (1916) by Franz Kafka (Kafka's only play); Ithaka (1914) by Gottfried Benn; Crucifixion (1920) by Lothar Schreyer; a section of The Transfiguration (1919) by Ernst Toller. These are plays of the Expressionist school. It’s a vein of drama that’s neglected on our stages, and Horizon Theatre Rep is to be applauded for producing them.
Director Rafael DeMussa has populated his stage with five soldiers; they read the scripts from books. Actually, sometimes they’re reading and sometimes they’re not. What’s clever is the blurring of distinction between reading and acting. In the show’s most interesting moment, an actor rips pages from the book when he’s finished with them. This imbeds the script into the very fabric of the stage.
DeMussa has included videos on the upstage wall. They’…

Muse

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Muse
by Kris Lundberg
produced by Shakespeare’s Sister Company
directed by Jay Michaels
with Kris Lundberg and Greg Pragel
Elizabeth Siddal was a model for the Pre-Raphaelites. While posing as Ophelia forJohn Everett Millais, she lay in a bathtub for hours on end. This led to pneumonia and then to an illness for which she was prescribed the opiate laudanum.
She later married another member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, for whom she had come to model exclusively. Addicted to laudanum, she overdosed in a fit of jealously while her husband spent the evening (quite innocently) at an event.
Kris Lundberg has taken this intriguing story and penned it into a marvelous one-act two-hander, Muse. From the moment Greg Pragel enters as Rosetti, we know this’ll be good work. The playwright herself plays Miss Siddal, and the two actors show us their relationship with abandon and subtlety, as suits the moment, and with surety. Such is their skill that we forget we’re watch…