“It’s so cool picking apart a play and trying to understand it. And then you go and see you’re all wrong, but it’s OK to be wrong. I learned that."
—Suffolk Student Lindsay Belair
BOSTON – Opera comes in many sizes. On one end, there are the grand-stage, orchestra-in-the-pit, audience-in-Sunday-best operas. On the other, a few singers in a room, with a piano.
In between there’s chamber opera – a modest amount of instruments, a small cast of singers, simple sets. This version can be the most accessible, and the most rewarding. “The Rosenbergs (An Opera),” onstage now at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, proves it.
Russian conspiracies, once again, keep us awake at night as they did during the Cold War era. Sharp political divisions, media hysteria, fears about national security, paranoid theories, and a climate of free-floating anxiety all make for a perfect moment to revisit the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. How does the story of the Rosenbergs resonate with the current moment?
Early in the opera, defending social justice, equality, and a society without bigotry, Julius and Ethel sound like today’s progressive Millennials. The youthful left-wing couple bonds over their shared dream of escaping the poverty of the Lower East Side tenements and of building “a world that doesn’t thrive on hate.” Friendship, transparency, and cooperation between nations seem like an achievable goal. While sympathizing with the values of international Communism, Julius and Ethel, espouse an all American creed of optimism, hope, and the pursuit of self-fulfillment. “We’ll change the world… find something of our own,” sings Julius. Apparently Marxism and the American dream are not dissimilar in their utopian implications. More
Happy (second) opening to Walt, Bevin, Greg, Anthony, Gigi, Marc, and the rest of the Brawler team at Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca!
Ancient Greece is not the obvious starting point for a play about ice hockey, but that’s where Brawler began, because sometimes playwriting is weird. I read Sophocles’ Ajax in graduate school at BU, in a translation by Bryan Dorries which was specifically geared towards soldiers returning from the Middle East. Dorries’ reasons for such a translation were clear: Sophocles, though most remembered as a dramatist, was a general as well, and because military service was compulsory in Grecian society, his plays were originally performed to audiences full of soldiers. With that in mind, it’s clear that Ajax is not a story about gods and destiny, but about a soldier struggling to survive after a war is over, and feeling abandoned by his commanders once he is no longer useful.
While that interesting bit of trivia rattled around in my brain, I also read something else: a New York Times article about Derek Boogaard, the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers player who, in 2011, died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, and became one of a number of hockey “enforcers” to suffer similar fates in a short timeframe. Here was another story about a warrior cast aside, which caught my interest. Boogaard’s story collided with Ajax’s in my brain, and just like that, a play was born. More
Walt McGough’s new play “Brawler” — playing through March 18 at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre — works too hard at first to keep its story moving, but scores in the end.
Pro hockey player Adam (Greg Maraio) — known affectionately to his teammates as Moose — goes berserk in a hockey arena locker room one night after a romantic evening of skating around on the ice with his girlfriend Trisha (Gigi Watson). He’s a powerful guy, and the havoc he wreaks is extensive. (Props to scenic designer Cristina Todesco, whose sets are always beautiful to behold. In this case, even wreckage seems eloquent.) The damage Adam does to the locker room is the least of the problems his outburst creates; his pal Jerry (Marc Pierre), the arena’s security guard, is on the hot seat for having let Adam and Trisha into the place for their private pleasure.
Richard Chambers's freshman seminar at Suffolk University offers students the opportunity to read, analyze, and experience local live theatrical performances, including two at BPT last fall—Lost Tempo and Elemeno Pea. Read the full story
—Suffolk Student Lindsay Belair
Sing along: a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h-i-j-k-elemenopea. Takes you back, doesn't it? How many of us thought that was one long name for a letter in the middle of the alphabet? Well, one of the two sisters in Molly Smith Metzler's charming, funny play Elemeno Pea was convinced of it, and it became a lifelong source of embarrassment that had a powerful impact on her life choices. Boston Playwrights' Theatre presents the Boston premiere of Metzler's own revision of her 2011 play, set at the end of the summer on Martha's Vineyard, where a couple of blue collar siblings from Buffalo are the proverbial sore thumbs amongst the glad-handers with their pink pants and new money.