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New This Week:
|The Age of Bees|
My take: "Tesseract Theatre continues to demonstrate a commitment to finding not simply new plays," writes Tina Farmer in her review for KDHX, "but new plays that tackle contemporary issues with inventive and imaginative plots and well-informed, yet natural, dialogue...Playwright Palmquist takes a dark look into the future with this environmentally conscious, sweetly romantic play. These themes resonate deeply throughout and feel fully realized and genuinely formed." Tesseract is once again taking chances with a disturbing but important subject, and that kind of daring warrants a shout-out here.
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Playwright Reza seems to specialize in scripts about Men Behaving Badly. Art is probably her best known and most popular play, and it looks like STLAS is doing well by it. The Snoop's Theatre Thoughts blog says that "the cast here is uniformly excellent, working together well and portraying a convincing combative friendship," while over at KDHX Tina Farmer says "[the] dialogue is crisp and artfully crafted, with lots of interesting turns but no real surprises. It's delightful to listen to the conversations of the three characters, Marc, Serge and Yvan, even though none of them are particularly sympathetic or more than marginally likable. John Pierson, Drew Battles and Larry Dell comfortably inhabit their characters and skillfully glide through dialogue that is at times complex and tongue twisting."
|An Invitation Out|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Mustard Seed specializes in plays that deal with difficult ethical issues. In this case, they've chosen to take on the question of identity in a virtual world where a screen name might mean everything or nothing, and they're doing it in a way that pays homage to Oscar Wilde. In his review for KDHX, Robert Nickles says the plays characters "must make choices about identity within the confines of complex social expectations. Like any comedy of manners, the script hides profound truths behind the silliness and superficiality of human conventions. This visually stunning production combines fun and philosophy to produce a thoroughly entertaining social critique." At stltoday.com, Judy Newmark says the show is "is big in every way: the size of its cast, the characters’ outlandish costumes, the generous imagination that playwright Shualee Cook poured into her vision of a neo-Victorian future."
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis presents Shake 38, a city wide performance festival in which all 38 of Shakespeare's plays are performed by 38 different groups in a variety of neighborhoods and locations. Performances take place Wednesday through Sunday, April 22-26. For a complete schedule: sfstl.com.
My take: For sheer variety, it's hard to beat Shake 38, the Shakespeare Festival's annual city-wide celebration of The Bard on the week of his birthday. Events include Macbeth at Clayton Community Theatre, a concert version of Verdi's Falstaff at Tavern of Fine Arts, Miss Crump of the Loo (A Modern Adaptation of Timon of Athens) at the Centene Center, Goin' Ham-Lit in the Hood, An Adaptation of Hamlet at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, Student2Student: Measure4Measure at St. Louis University, and Henry VIII: Lose Your Head: A SHAKE 38 Signature Event, St. Lou Fringe Shindig, and Gateway Burners Recompression Party Extravaganza! at the Cherokee Arts Center. For a complete list (because, trust me, there's a lot more): www.sfstl.com/in-the-streets/shake-38.