The Lantern Theater Company is streaming Bruce’s Graham’s play The Craftsman through March 28. Anthony Lawton is a craftsman in the truest sense. In Act I, he aptly portrays the wealthy, smug, brash art dealer accused of selling Vermeer’s, considered national treasures, to the Nazis. In Act II he demonstrates that he is also an artist with considerable talent, defying noted art critic Abraham Bredius, portrayed by Paul L. Nolan. Ian Merril Peakes portrays a Dutch leader of the resistance who hates the opulent Han van Meegeren for becoming rich while dealing with the Nazis. Graham does not portray one dimensional characters. The Craftsman is a fascinating group of character studies that reflect the after-effects of World War II in Amsterdam and the six-member ensemble cast does an excellent job of fleshing out each individual. Bruce Graham’s work is a brilliant portrayal of the damage that hate can do to the psyche, the high value that we place on art in our culture, and the lengths a person might go to fulfill an innate craving for recognition. For more information or tickets for this thought-provoking work, visit www.lanterntheater.org.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Jennifer Byrne & Timothy C. Goodwin
Bristol Riverside Theatre is live-streaming Singles in Agriculture, a play by Abby Rosebrock, for four nights only. Set on the last night of a yearly convention of single farmers, this production takes place in the bedroom of one of the males who has invited one of the females to his room. It is filmed in the couples' real-life bedroom. Priscilla, ( Jennifer Byrne ) has come equipped with a bottle of alcohol and a paper cup and is perky, outgoing, and vivacious. Joel ( Timothy C. Goodwin) is quiet, withdrawn, and a fundamentalist Christian. As is discovered two thirds into the play, he is also a virgin. The play is captivating, particularly for its camera angles. Priscilla and Joel move quite a bit both on and off the bed and the camera frequently changes the view. As Priscilla and Joel reveal more and more about their lives to each other, the play becomes increasingly compelling. The production will be live-streamed through January 30, 2021. Tickets are $30-$35. The tickets are available at www.brtstage.org or by calling 215-785-0100.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Genevieve Perriere as Molly Sweeney
Brian Friel, sometimes referred to as the Irish Chekhov, was one of Ireland’s most beloved playwrights. Molly Sweeney is one of the last plays set in his fictitious small town near Donegal, Ireland. It is being presented on demand by the Lantern Theater Company and will stream through February 14, 2021. The outstanding ensemble cast of Ian Merrill Peakes (Frank Sweeney), Geneviève Perriere (Molly Sweeney), and Anthony Lawton (Mr. Rice) was filmed live in Lantern Theater’s home- St. Stephen’s Church theatre in Olde City Philadelphia. Thanks to actor and playwright Michael P. Toner, who specializes in Irish theatre, the cast had an excellent dialogue coach.
What does it take to produce a play from an award-winning playwright in this age of COVID-19? According to Molly Sweeney’s director Peter De Laurier, “…3 weeks on Zoom, 2 weeks with double masks, distancing, transparent barriers, a constant flow of cold outside air and Testing! Testing! Testing!"
Although blind since infancy, Molly’s life at 41 was a meaningful one. She had learned as a young girl how to navigate the world of the blind through touch and she was very adept. Her new husband was a bit of a drifter, unemployed, and eager to have Molly undergo surgery as his pet project and a way to give meaning to his life. The doctor, Mr. Rice, a washed up alcoholic, saw the surgery as a chance to revive his once formidable career. Molly Sweeney is in effect many monologues. At the end of each a fade out occurs before a new character’s monologue begins. The lighting on each character - Molly, Mr. Rice and. Frank- is unique, causing the set behind to change color. The colors are matched to the characters’ clothes; the clothes are matched to their moods. Additional darker clothing is added near the finish. This is a stunning cooperative effort of Scenic Designer Nick Embree, Lighting Designer Janet Embree, and the Costume Designer Leigh Ivory Clark Paradise. Tickets for this supremely well-acted and thought-provoking production are only $20 per household and are available at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling 215-829-0395. Ticket buyers will receive an email with a private access link.
Friday, January 22, 2021
Villanova Theatre is presenting its first filmed musical, Songs for a New World, with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by alumna Kara Scaramazza. It will stream on demand January 28 – February 7 on Music International’s new platform,ShowTx4U. Rentals are available for 48 hours for $10.The actors have performed in isolation for all but the final number. Each of the songs in the revue-style Songs for a New World tells a self-contained story. Each one explores the central themes of freedom, change and adaptation in the face of fear. The musical speaks ultimately of resilience and how people can do the hard things working together. Villanova University is located on the Villanova University campus in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts (Lancaster and Ithan Ave.) The performance will be seen on-line only. To purchase tickets, visit www.villanovatheatre.org or https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/4328. Questions about ticketing can be answered by Margo Raube , Performing Arts Coordinator at email@example.com or 610-518-5006.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
On January 12, 2021, The Paper Doll Ensemble’s business page on Facebook was wrongfully disabled without any prospect of appeal. Paper Doll Ensemble, a local feminist theatre collective, suspects this misunderstanding was fueled by the topic of their most recent Clubhouse discussion dealing with racism, The Cult of Trump, and how to combat the mindset of Qanon supporters. They believe Facebook’s algorithm thought they were in support of these things when in fact they were in a dialogue to dismantle them. Their discussion group was created as part of their anti-racism plan. PDE External Relational Manager, Grace Hoffman says, “Theatre is our way to enact social change, but if we are censored in this way, we face a MAJOR hurdle in continuing to do so.”
Co-Founder Amanda Jensen comments, “If our content is deemed as breaking their code of conduct, we would be happy to remove it, but we are simply asking for that chance.”
The Paper Doll Ensemble was established in 2017 and redefines traditional stories of the female experience combining dance and visual art. For more visit https://paperdollensemble.com/
Thursday, December 31, 2020
The Lantern Theater Company is continuing its 2020/21 season with a filmed production of Molly Sweeney by playwright Brian Friel, directed by Peter deLaurier and featuring Anthony Lawton, Ian Merrill Peakes and Genevieve Perrier. This fully designed production was filmed at Lantern’s home at St. St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets in Center City Philadelphia. Molly Sweeney will stream on demand from Friday, January 22, through Sunday, February 14, 2021. Molly is a 41-year-old Irish woman who has been blind since she was 10 months old. Raised at home, she was taught by her father to appreciate the tactile world around her and has become a self-assured and independent woman... until her husband Frank and her ophthalmologist Mr. Rice persuade her to undergo risky surgery to restore her vision. The play examines how the characters make assumptions about the lived experiences of others. Lantern Theater Company will explore the themes of Molly Sweeney on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Tickets for the productions are $20 per household and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling (215) 829-0395. Ticket buyers will receive an email with full instructions and a private access link.