Ah, yes, ahh, “The Iliad.” By Homer. We all know that. Helen of Troy. Achilles Agamemnon. Lots of battles, murders and . . . Well, you know truth is that a lot of folks, myself certainly included, pretty much slept through any course we ever took on “The Iliad.” We ended up with not a whole lot more than the ability to say, “Oh, yes, the Iliad. By Homer.” Haven’t looked at that in years.”
In an interview concerning the New York production of “The Big Meal” the 33- year-old author, Dan LeFranc, makes a point of saying that his own growing up saw, quote, “lots of support but also a ton of friction and fear.” And that was “critical in making me the kind of writer and person I am today,” he added.
Well, that would be a guy who has sharp instincts both for the jugular and the heart. “The Big Meal” checks out those eight folks in all kinds of ways.
Ah, yes. Good old Chris Durang. What’s he gotten into now? Over the years he’s been known for such ideosyncratic shows as “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and, of course, “The Idiots Kasamazov.”
But Durang’s nicely into his 60’s now. Perhaps he’s calmed down a bit?
Well, no. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” concerns Bucks County, PA., Snow White, licking postage stamps, movie stars, the theatuh, voodoo, pricks, getting old and the significance of the blue heron. Among many other things.
Ah yes, the late Vince Lombardi. I can see him now, back in the black and white TV era of the 1960s. He’s standing like a statue on the sidelines on the tundra that is a Green Bay football field. Legs apart, polo coat covering his broad shoulders, absurd fedora on his head. And most of all there’s his shouting, bellowing, at anyone nearby. The refs, his own players, his assistant coaches, were all fair game, targets of his single minded drive.
He was the Bill Belichick of his time, the best-known coach in all of football. Only louder, tougher, harder to deal with.
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm TheatreCasey Seymour Kim and Alexander Platt in "Far Away" by Caryl Churchill, directed by Tony Estrella.Edit | Remove
For decades, English playwright Caryl Churchill has been accorded Goddess stature in the upper reaches of play writing circles. Fiercely political, strongly on the left, Churchill made her mark with plays of attitude and insight.
Okay, full disclosure. I have a major soft spot for “La Cage.” Ever since I was one of the many who stood and cheered at the end of the 1983 pre-Broadway tryout at Boston’s Colonial Theatre I’ve wanted “La Cage” to succeed wherever it plays.
And it’s not just the crisp score by Jerry Herman or the pungent humor of Harvey Fierstein’s lyrics. It is truly the message of becoming a decent human being and knowing who you are, and why, that’s allowed me to love “La Cage” over the years.
Financial pressures have forced the temporary closure of the Courthouse Center Stage in West Kingston. The popular theater will be mothballed for six months as it mounts a $100K capital drive, according to board member Anna Prager. "Yes, I am extremely disappointed but at the same time I am hopeful that if we suspend programming and concentrate on fundraising we can start in new and better shape."
Prager says they cut back staff so much they realized it was impossible to mount productions, raise money and tend to an aging, historic building all at the same time.
With their very fine new performing space (excellent sight lines, comfortable seats, good facilities) it seems a shame that Ocean State has picked a weak-at-the-knees Neil Simon play to officially open Rhode Island’s newest theater.