News & Press

Love among the ruins in the Chekhov-inspired ‘Uncle Jack’

February 17th, 2015 in News & Press.

Review from the Boston Globe

When you step into the Lane-Comley Studio 210 for “Uncle Jack,” Courtney Nelson’s lush set is so enchanting it transports you instantly into the world of the play: in this case, a theater company on an old estate in the Berkshires.

Rooting the audience so deeply in the action allows playwright and director Michael Hammond to focus on the emotional heart of his characters and craft an extraordinarily moving adaptation.

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‘Chosen Child’ haunted by family memories

November 7th, 2014 in News & Press.

Review from BroadwayWorld.com

Playwright Monica Bauer had intended to write a memoir, but “popped out” a play instead. Lucky for us, because her drama Chosen Child is among the best plays I’ve seen at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the professional and persistently positive incubator for the production of new works by alumni of its M.F.A. Playwriting Program. Under the astute, watchful eye of Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass, and with the directorial expertise of Megan Schy Gleeson, Bauer has reworked and rewritten her very personal story into a compelling memory play which resonates (as she says) with anybody who ever had a mother.

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Celeste Oliva makes it worth ‘Reconsidering Hanna(h)’

October 4th, 2014 in News & Press.

Review from BroadwayWorld.com

IRNE Award-winning actress Celeste Oliva gives two riveting performances in Deirdre Girard’s Reconsidering Hanna(h) to open the 2014-2015 season at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Oliva takes on the dual roles of Hanna, an international journalist struggling to reclaim her life after her husband’s violent death, and the subject of her investigative reporting assignment, the infamous Hannah Duston, a Puritan woman kidnapped by Native Americans in 1697. Oliva distinctively inhabits these two women, separated by two centuries, yet sharing an internal fortitude and dark trait that links them across time and circumstances.

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Peter M. Floyd’s new play tracks dementia

February 23rd, 2014 in News & Press.

Review from TheaterMania.com

Helen Bastion’s mind may be going, but she is not going to follow it gentle into that good night. The protagonist of Peter M. Floyd’s play, Absence, seen in a lovely world premiere by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, is a tough cookie missing a few chips as she heads past 75. She has been forgetting things; she has found herself lost in her own neighborhood. But she does not want to talk about it with meek husband David or disappointing daughter Barb, both of whom she has spent decades cowing. Clearly Helen is in the early stage of dementia, not to mention the earliest stage of grief as charted by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial. Floyd’s play, which moves from family interworking through interior whimsy toward something almost magisterial, finds touching, interesting ways through which to dramatize Helen’s inevitable shedding of self. With its proud, sour heroine and end-of-life trajectory, the piece is reminiscent of Margaret Edson’s Wit with a brain rather than a body coming apart and Mr. Marmalade (in the form of an antic imaginary doctor) standing in for John Donne.

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Steven Barkhimer’s ‘Windowmen’ is a very tasty fish stew

November 7th, 2013 in News & Press.

Review from WBUR’s the ARTery

If you’re like me, you often find yourself shouting at the television while watching the situational dramas and comedies in the evenings, clapping gleefully when the characters succeed or warning them of impending danger. If you’re like me, you’ll have a hard time stifling that impulse while enjoying the latest offering at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, “Windowmen,” by local playwright-actor Steven Barkhimer.

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‘Burning’ to unleash the silences that repress us

October 1st, 2013 in News & Press.

Review from the Boston Globe

“Lesbian Cyrano” — high concepts don’t come much more concise. In expanding on this theme in “Burning,” a production by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Ginger Lazarus delves into much more serious matters than courtship by proxy. The playwright’s central character, Cy Burns (the gruff and appealing Mal Malme), is an ex-Army sergeant who got herself booted from the service for insisting on “telling” when the official policy was don’t — and don’t ask, either (only recently repealed). Exactly why Cy chose to come out, torpedoing her career, is a semi-mystery skillfully teased out in the course of this timely, thought-provoking play directed by Steven Bogart.

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Dan Hunter’s ‘Legally Dead’ is alive and well

February 19th, 2013 in News & Press.

Review from the Boston Globe

‘Where there’s a will, there’s way,” as the saying goes. So the Lincoln family just needs to find the will. In Dan Hunter’s new play, now up at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, it’s Christmas Eve, and the Lincolns — mom Marsha and adult children Rebecca, Annie, and Tommy — are home for the holidays at mom’s place on the Gulf Coast of Florida. What’s more, some of the kids are looking to give themselves a Christmas present by selling the family’s Cadillac dealership back in their native Peoria, Ill. The hitch is, they can’t unload it without the OK from their dear departed dad, who’s not dead, just departed — he’s been missing for five years. They need to have him declared legally dead so they can inherit. But . . . where is that will?

Hunter, a former managing director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, hails from Iowa, and his previous efforts include the book “Let’s Keep Des Moines a Private Joke” and the song “Please Don’t Burn Perry Como,” so he has a sense of humor. But “Legally Dead” is more of a black comedy.

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A tempest on home front in ‘Sussman Variations’

November 6th, 2012 in News & Press.

Review from the Boston Globe

In the world according to Charlie Sussman, it’s always about him.

Or so it seems to Charlie’s two adult children, who have brought plenty of emotional baggage to the Connecticut home their father shares with his second wife as they prepare to celebrate, or at least observe, Dad’s 75th birthday.

Family conflict is a much-charted piece of dramatic territory, and it can’t be said that Richard Schotter breaks a whole lot of new ground with The Sussman Variations, now at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre under the direction of Jeff Zinn.

Nonetheless, Variations is a generally admirable addition to a crowded category. While the play is overly schematic and its themes are too baldly stated, Schotter is very perceptive about the push and pull of relationships within families, that complex minuet in which power struggles surface out of nowhere and patterns of behavior are replicated from generation to generation.

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From family stories of the Armenian genocide, a play emerges

March 3rd, 2012 in News & Press.

Preview from the Boston Globe

Nearly a century ago, on the other side of the world, two women were each other’s strength through horror: the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. Next week, the story of their survival comes to the stage, thanks in part to one man’s struggle to keep history alive.

“My mother, who went through all of this, died when I was not even 7 years of age,’’ says H. Martin Deranian, an 89-year-old Shrewsbury dentist, “so what I’ve done for the rest of my life . . . is tried to devote myself to seeking the truth as to what happened to her and all these heroic women who went through this horrific genocide.’’

Deported / a dream play, by Elliot Norton Award-winning Newton playwright Joyce Van Dyke, is based on the friendship between her maternal grandmother, Elmas Sarajian, and Deranian’s mother, Varter Nazarian. The women came to America and started a new life after losing everything, including their husbands and children. More than 1 million Armenians were slaughtered in the genocide, beginning in 1915. Many others were expelled from the Ottoman Empire – deported – in forced marches.

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Scores to settle across decades in Fancher’s ‘River’

November 3rd, 2011 in News & Press.

Review from the Boston Globe

A hard rain, of both the literal and figurative kind, falls throughout The River Was Whiskey, a drama about race and long-delayed justice by local playwright Will Fancher.

Now at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre under the direction of Jim Petosa, River is a decidedly mixed bag: compelling and freshly imagined at times, overly murky and portentous at others. The dialogue is clipped, elliptical, and barbed with vague menace in the Sam Shepard manner, but instead of Shepard’s West, River primarily unfolds in 1946 in a Mississippi Delta town called Moonlight. However, there are flashbacks to the events of 1927 – specifically, what happened at a levee during the great flood that year – that prove central to the play.

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