Posted in dance

Celebrate and dance with a Paul Taylor Dance Company "star"

Our friends at Paul Taylor Dance Company are offering adult classes beginning this weekend.

The 15-week session begins September 24, and will be held on Saturdays from noon – 1:30 p.m.

The class is being taught by former Taylor dancer Raegan Wood and is designed for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Come kick up your heels at the festivities.

Visit www.ptdc.org to learn more about participating.

Posted in drama, estranged father, fathers and sons, infedility, memory play, narration, photography, stepmother

Careful what you wish for….

Alan (Keith Nobbs) should have heeded the old warning about being careful what you wish for….

Keith Nobbs as Alan with Kevin Kilner as Doug in a photo by Richard Termine 

What if your dad turned out to be just the sort of creep who abandoned his family as Doug (Kevin Kilner) had when Alan was five?

There is nothing Alan wants more, in Lanford Wilson’s “Lemon Sky,” playing at Theatre Row in a Keen Company production through October 22nd, than to live with the father he never had.

Doug says he has dreamed of having him out to California to be with him, but that Alan’s mother would never let Alan come. Doug also tells him that his mother hounded him and spied on him, but that his current wife, Ronnie (Kellie Overbey), lets him breathe.

Now that Alan wants to go to college, he can be with Doug and his family, 12-year old Jerry (Logan Riley Bruner) and 5-year old Jack (Zachary Mackiewicz), and the two foster children, Carol (Alyssa May Gold) and Penny (Amie Tedesco)who live with them, and maybe with Doug’s help get a part time job.

Alyssa May Gold as Carol with Keith Nobbs as Alan and Amie Tedesco as Penny in a photo by Richard Termine 

The idyllic quickly turns ugly, but expecting the dire outcome in “Lemon Sky” should not be a deterrent to enjoying the play’s unravelling. “Lemon Sky” spools out the story, using narration as a dramatic technique, and promising drama as the narrative unfolds.

Alyssa May Gold’s Carol is a sad teenage femme fatale whose fate, like much of the plot, is perhaps predictible. Kellie Overbey’s Ronnie is strong, understanding, and protective of the life she has chosen for herself.

Kellie Overbey as Ronnie with Keith Nobbs as Alan and Kevin Kilner as Doug in a photo by Richard Termine 

Lanford Wilson’s “Lemon Sky” was written in 1970 and is autobiographical. He is best known as the author of “Talley’s Folly” and
“The Fifth of July.”

“Lemon Sky” is a small play, that is nonetheless engrossing, and all the actors do their best to let it breathe.

For schedule, tickets and information, visit http://keencompany.org/

Posted in drama, found money, friendship, homelessness, husbands and wives, Irish drama, mothers, poverty

Powerful "Temporal Powers" Is Part 2 For Mint’s Deevy Project

It has been nearly 80 years since Teresa Deevy’s play won the Abbey Theatre’s New Play competition, but “Temporal Powers” still packs a wallop. Set in a small impoverished Irish town in the 1920s,”Temporal Powers,” currently in a production by The Mint Theater Company under the direction of Jonathan Bank, closing 25 Sept., extended to October 2nd 9th was deemed ”strikingly original and of fine literary quality” by the Abbey judges.

Money and the lack of it are powerful tests of any marriage, but the Donovans have such a completely different sense of right and wrong that it is not just their homelessness that can tear them apart. Michael (Aidan Redmond) is a fiercely moral man, so madly in love with Min (Rosie Benton), his wife of ten years, that she can bend his senses in any number of ways.

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan (Photo Credit: Richard Termine) 

Michael is content to toil without enriching himself, for the pride of accomplishment. But unlike Michael, Min feels entitled to a better life. And she is not sure that she will get it just being his wife.

(See video at http://vimeo.com/channels/minttheater.)

The plot of “Temporal Powers” subtly twists, asking questions about fairness, and loyalty, as it makes its way around the rich cast of nine characters. The troupe all handle this intelligent material ably. Eli James, along with the leads, gives a particularly admirable performance as Michael’s true friend, Moses Barron. Thanks to the workings of the dialect coach, Amy Stoller, everyone’s speech is convincingly country Irish, yet easy to follow.

Please visit http://www.minttheater.org/ to find out more about “Temporal Powers” and The Mint’s Deevy Project.

“Temporal Powers” is part of the 1st Irish Festival 2011.

Photo Credits: Richard Termine

Eli James as Moses Barron, Wrenn Schmidt as Lizzie Brennan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Paul Carlin as Jim Slattery, Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Aidan Redmond as Michael Donovan, Rosie Benton as Min Donovan in a scene from Temporal Powers, written by Teresa Deevy and directed by Jonathan Bank presented by The Mint Theater Company 

Posted in Cuchulain, drama, Emer, Irish drama, Irish renaissance, masks, The Abbey Theatre, Yeats

"Dublin By Lamplight" Shines Brightly

William (Willy) Hayes (Jered McLenigan), a playwright spoofing William Butler Yeats and perhaps William Fay, is on the verge of the debut of his great Irish play, “The Wooing of Emer,” at The Irish National Theatre of Ireland. He also hopes to give his Theatre a permanent home through his benefactress, Eva St. John (Megan Bellwoar).

.Jered McLenigan as Willy Hayes in a photo by Katie Reing.  

“Dublin By Lamplight,” at 59E59 Theaters through October 2nd is art of the 1st Irish Festival, a four week theatrical celebration of Ireland, and “The Wooing of Emer” is the play within the play.

“Act for Ireland,” Willy tells his brother Frank (Jared Michael Delaney), who takes this exhortation as a cry for revolution. Willy intends it in a less political and more artistic way; his spectacle (“The Wooing of Emer”) honors Ireland’s legendary hero Cuchulain.

All will fall apart for Willy and his dreams for a National Theatre on the eve of the King’s visit in Dublin in 1904. Eva, the Emer in his play is arrested for her part in protesting against the English King and with the Daughters of Erin.

Jered McLenigan as Willy with Megan Bellwoar as Eva and Sarah Van Auken as Maggie in a photo by Katie Reing.  

“Dublin By Lamplight” is a commedia dell’arte piece in which each of the characters, made up with mask-like faces, explains himself in the third person as he goes about on this fateful day. Michael West, the playwright of “Dublin By Lamplight” aptly describes the play as a “silent movie with dialogue.” Adding to this silent film effect, it is set to piano music composed and performed by John Lionarons.

Ireland would realize a National Theatre (The Abbey Theatre) long before it would achieve nationhood. In “Dublin By Lamplight,” the Irish struggle is both comic and poignant.

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_Theatre for background.)

Megan Bellwoar as Eva and Mike Dees as Martyn Wallace in a photo by Katie Reing.  

Please go to www.59E59.org for a schedule of performances and to 1stIrish.org to learn more about the 1st Irish Festival.

Also part of the 1st Irish Festival and at 59E59 Theaters: “Cirque De Legume.” See review at http://tbontheaisleatheaterdiary.blogspot.com/2011/09/actors-revenge-and-other-clowning.html

Posted in beets, carrots, clowning, clowns, comedy, Eugene O'Neil, juggling, mime, offbeat work, onions, playing with food, skits, stage directions, vegetables

Actors’ Revenge and Other Clowning

Eugene O’Neill (“The Iceman Cometh,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “Mourning Becomes Electra” etc.)is not known for inspiring chuckles but the New York Neo-Futurists (Neos) know how to get guffaws out of tough material.

In fact, you might think of “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” at The Kraine Theatre through extended to October 1st, 8th as the actor’s revenge on a playwright loath to allow anyone to mess with his vision. It is said that O’Neill would have preferred to have his plays just read, not acted, and his elaborate stage directions suggest an obsessive desire to micro-manage all aspects in the performance of his work.

With “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” the Neos continue the tradition they started in the mid ’90s of “embracing chance, change and chaos.”

The cast, six enactors, — Danny Burman, Brendan Donaldson, Cara Francis, Connor Kalista (not pictured,) Erica Livingston, and Lauren Sharpe, –and
a narrator, Jacquelyn Landgraf (also not pictured), are inventive and lively.

Photo © Anton Nickel  

“The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” adapted and directed by Christopher Loar, compiled from seven early O’Neill works, features narrated stage directions which lead the ensemble to scramble, reassemble props, strike poses, fall onto seats, and make their exits.

There is no O’Neill script for the Neos to follow, but they elicit hysterical laughter while depicting O’Neill’s descriptions of action, character (in both senses of the word.)

The cast entertain by making nuanced adjustments to capture expressions, gestures, even sighs. “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays” is exhilirating and giddy.

For more on “The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Volume One: Early Plays/Lost Plays,” and the Neos work, please visit http://www.nyneofuturists.org/
_____________________________________________________________
The Other Clowning: Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry, under the direction of Pablo Ibarluzea are “Cirque De Legume

It’s the leeks, carrots, beets, onions, artichoke, lettuce and hot peppers that give these circus artists, Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry, their name. They are “Cirque De Legume!”

Cirque De Legume,” at 59E59 Theaters, as part of the citywide 1st Irish Festival, through October 2nd, hail from London by way of Paris’ respected “clown school”–Ecole Jacques Lecoq. Jaime Carswell and Nancy Trotter Landry enter to rollicking big tent music and great fanfare.

Photo © Mark Fearon  

After their big entrance, they seem ill-at-ease, and the rest of the performance is dedicated to challenging the audience. “How about that?” is their refrain after every trick. “Cirque De Legume” ise delicious slight-of-hand, and acrobatics in their successful effort to please the crowd.
They add a sports metaphor to their routine when she spells out C-I-R-Q-U-E… and they bump chests.

Training a barking lettuce named “Dusty” to jump for a carrot is just the opening number in this manic and charming show.

Visit www.59E59.org
for a schedule of performances. Also see what else is taking place during the 1st Irish Festival at http://www.1stirish.org/

Posted in air force, army airmen, ballooning, balloons, carpet bombing, drama, historical drama, war, warfare, WWI

Lessons in Fight: "Captain Ferguson’s School for Balloon Warfare"

Obsessed with flight, possessing navigational skills and knowledge of the skies, and mathematical proficiency, Captain Ferguson devises a plan, on the eve of battle against the Germans in WWI, for a great dirigible attack.

“Captain Ferguson’s School for Balloon Warfare,” an Oracle Theatre production at 59E59 Theaters through September 4, is about zealous patriotism, heroics, and the single-minded futility of war.

David Nelson as Captain Ferguson gets ready to hoist his balloon. Photo © Alisha Spielmann  

In Isaac Rathbone’s “Captain Ferguson’s School for Balloon Warfare,” based on actual events, it is 1917 and U.S. Army Captain Thomas Ferguson has been asked to turn aerial balloons into a weapon against Kaiser Wilhelm. The character of Captain Ferguson is inspired by Captain Charles deForest Chandler, the first head of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps –later to become the United States Air Force.

The play is a one-man show with Captain Ferguson’s monologue enlivened by
video projections and radio communications that add other voices to his story. These voices include his right hand man, Lieutenant Archibald Prentice, and three skeptical Generals.

“Have you realized,” a General asks, “that these men are helpless, Ferguson?” However, having proven their usefulness in reconnaissance, Captain Ferguson also proposes to use the large canvas balloons to bombard the enemy line, and stubbornly ignores the challenge of his superiors.

David Nelson as Captain Ferguson answers the call. Photo © Alisha Spielmann  

David Nelson acquits himself well as the dedicated and sincere Ferguson, but the play is merely an exploration of a moment that ended in failure and not a full-blown theatrical creation.

Please go to 59 E 59 Theaters for more information on this and other offerings: www.59E59.org