Posts Tagged ‘Minerva Arts Center’

LIVE: Night of the Living Dead @ Minerva Arts Center, North Adams [GailSez]

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I don’t ask much of the dead, other than that they stay that way and refrain from eating me. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the deceased refuse to do in Night of the Living Dead, the 1968 cult film directed by George A. Romero (1940 – ) and written by Romero and John A. Russo (1939 – ). They rise up and stagger about and doggedly pursue and devour the living. No one knows why, not even Romero, and therein lies the tragic flaw of this property.

The film was independently produced on a miniscule budget and has gone on to become the top grossing independent film of all time. The critics hated it but in 1999 the Library of Congress deemed it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Go figure!

Ironically, because it was so cheaply and hastily produced just to make a quick buck, the distributor failed to renew the copyright when the title was changed from Night of the Flesh-Eaters to Night of the Living Dead and so the film is in the public domain and has made far less cash for its creators than it could have. This also means that the film is available to watch for free on the Web – be my guest.

I am not a horror fan and so I have never seen the film, but I certainly know the thrill of latching on to a kitschy cult flick and yearning to have the fun of recreating it live on stage. For years I wanted to do that with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, until some British fop named Eric Idle beat me to the punch, and the millions. But well before Monty Python’s Spamalot took Broadway by storm, I knew that copyright laws prevented me from fulfilling my dream.

Click to read the rest of this story at GailSez.

Advertisement

LIVE: “Tiger” @ Minerva Arts Center, North Adams [GailSez]

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

“We cannot read or hear if we are bored and hostile and confused.”

– Mary Caroline Richards

“Theatre is meant to be transformative, therefore if we are not changed by it we have been deceived, tricked, cheated. Forgive me if I am less interested in pleasing than in affecting you – through seduction, fright, surprise, it matters not. I want your ‘money’s worth’ to last a while.”

– Alva Hascall, director’s program note for “Tiger

Well, Hascall’s production of Lisa Westkaemper’s Tiger succeeded in affecting me through discomfort and boredom, which resulted in the aforementioned hostility, and it transformed me by giving me a new definition of “the worst piece of theatre I have ever seen.” I officially apologize to every playwright, director and producer whose productions I have disparaged in the past. I knew not of what I spoke. I never knew what really, truly AWFUL meant until last night.

Tiger is the kind of angst-ridden “serious theatre” I was writing when I was about 20 years old and too young to know that the reason it appeared that this kind of thing “had never been done before in the theatre” was because it had and it didn’t work and everyone hated it. Dr. Westkaemper is ever so much more than 20 and I am embarrassed for her.

Click to read the rest of this story at GailSez.

LIVE: “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” @ The Minerva Arts Center, North Adams [GailSez]

Monday, August 8th, 2011
Don Quixote (Melissa Quirk) does battle with Sanson Carasco (Keith Weil) as Michael J. Brames looks on in Eric. K. Auld's adaptation of Cervantes' classic at Minerva Stage

Don Quixote (Melissa Quirk) does battle with Sanson Carasco (Keith Weil) as Michael J. Brames looks on in Eric. K. Auld's adaptation of Cervantes' classic at Minerva Stage

Beyond a couple of tunes from “Man of a Mancha” most Americans are woefully ignorant of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha) by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616). Even though it is considered one of the greatest books ever written, it is generally not taught below the college level here, and often then only in the original, early 17th century Spanish in which it was written. This is a great pity because it really IS a terrific book!

I fell squarely into the ignorant American category until I finally got around to reading the whole book (it was published in two volumes a decade apart in 1605 and 1615) last year, and so I was excited to see if this new knowledge enhanced my enjoyment of the stage version being offered by Minerva in a new adaptation from various English translations* by Eric. K. Auld.

In a way, I might have been a better judge of the success of this adaptation in speaking to the average audience member if I hadn’t read the novel. Auld has adhered very closely to his source material and so I think I “got” far more than most people will out of this production, which is a very interesting first attempt at bringing what Cervantes’s actually wrote to the stage.

Click to read the rest of this story at GailSez.

LIVE: “Hamlet” @ Minerva Arts Center, North Adams [GailSez]

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Hamlet (Chelsea LeSage) and Laertes (Jesse lee Egan Poirier) first come to blows over Ophelia's grave, as Claudius (Curtis Elfenbein Asch) looks on (photo: Jess Pillmore)

Hamlet (Chelsea LeSage) and Laertes (Jesse lee Egan Poirier) first come to blows over Ophelia's grave, as Claudius (Curtis Elfenbein Asch) looks on (photo: Jess Pillmore)

An amateur production of Hamlet which reimagines Shakespeare’s melancholy Dane as a lesbian. This could be scary. But, under the clearheaded direction of Christopher Beaulieu and his wife Jess Pillmore, who together run the Virginia-based physical theatre company Creatively Independent, it could be really cool. Since I saw this production on the hottest night of the year, I am very glad that “cool” was the operative word.

However, I must begin this review by focusing on the major problem with the production as I saw it on the official opening night because it is one that is easily fixed. The actors all need to speak up. Beaulieu and Pillmore clearly state that they run a physical theatre, and physically this is a concise and powerful production, but this is Shakespeare and you cannot sacrifice the text.

Click to read the rest at GailSez.

The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Leave Regular Radio BehindArtist Charles HaymesThe LindaHudson SoundsAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageG.C. Haymes