Sunday, January 30, 2011


The Philadelphia Theatre Company is proud to present the Philadelphia premiere of David Mamet’s Race, running through February 13, 2011 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 280 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Although peppering his work with another four letter word, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Tony Award nominee David Mamet tackles the biggest four-letter word of all…..race! Two lawyers, one black, one white, are offered the chance to defend a wealthy white executive who is charged with a shameful crime against a young black woman. Not eager to take on the case but somewhat tempted by the money it will bring into the practice; the partners discuss the pros and cons in Mamet’s signature short, clipped dialog. It’s not until a series of “mistakes” are made by their young black female associate that the partners realize they no longer have a choice in taking on the case. Although one partner is convinced that the client is innocent and the other is unsure, the matter of innocence or guilt is less important than the building of a case to divert the jurors’ attention. When the young assistant becomes involved, raw emotions bubble to the surface. The dialog is gripping; the acting is first rate. The set, reminiscent of an office in a well established law firm, is stream-lined but efficient in its simplicity. Don’t miss a chance to see this explosive production.  The ending might knock you off your seat.  For tickets or further information, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at  


Rhiannon, yelling at mother, Alice and Bashir

Interact Theatre Company, located at 2030 Sansom Streets, Philadelphia, is producing a provocative new drama which will be produced in both the UK and Scotland later this year and will be published by the Yale University Press as well. Kittson O’Neill, as Alice, has the unenviable task of portraying both a soldier who tortures prisoners in Guantanamo and a contented housewife who has forgotten all the horrific details of her wartime experiences. Sarah Van Auken portrays her curious teenage daughter whose emotions get the best of her when her demands are not immediately met. J. Paul Nicholas appears as Bashir, the soldier who was tortured by Alice during the war and demands a portion of her liver as repayment to save him from a certain death from the hepatitis he contracted during the war. By play’s end, he has lost his prisoner’s angst. Only Alice’s husband Lucas, played by Ed Swidley, and Riva, portrayed by Gamze Ceylan, remain constants. The set is simplistic, thus enabling the audience to concentrate upon the characters. Lidless questions the authenticity of forgiveness from many characters’ points of view. With some surprising twists comes the revelation that singular acts can have long term consequences that can’t be anticipated. During Lidless  InterAct will host a series of post-performance talk-backs to encourage discussions on the issues it raises. Sunday, January 30 features Charles Doerrer, Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco , Firearms and Explosives. Sunday, February 6 will feature Dr. Salman Akhtar, Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson University and Sunday February 13 will feature David McColgin, Supervisory Assistant Federal Defender, Appeals Unit, Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For more information or tickets, call 215-568-80079 or visit online at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Skull in Connemara

Mick, digging grave as Mairitn looks on
Lantern Theater Company, located in St. Stephen's Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, is producing the Philadelphia Premiere of A Skull in Connemara through February 13. Written by acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, this show is being offered as part of the Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival. Six Philadelphia-area theatre companies are presenting works by Irish playwrights between now and May 2011. With the Irish Mix-Tix, available only on, you can order tickets to two or more plays and save 20% off the ticket prices. The festival is featuring 3 works by McDonagh, and if A Skull in Connemara is representative of his work, you’ll want to avail yourself of the discount so that you can see this play as well as others. Stephen Novelli, as Mick, the widower who is hired each fall to disinter old bones from the small local cemetery, is excellent in the  portrayal of his complex character. (You can easily be fooled by his initial laid-back charm.) While wondering if anyone can actually be so backward, you’ll marvel at Jake Blouch’s portrayal of the young Mairtin. Unlike the persona of Mick, Mairtin’s character is simple throughout, and Blouch never deviates from this simplicity. Despite this, or perhaps enhanced by it, there are several plot twists along the way. Set designer Dirk Durosette won a 2008 Barrymore nomination for Skylight at the Lantern, and he deserves another for A Skull in Connemara.  It can’t be easy to design a set which includes two locations when there is not curtain on the stage, but to say that Durosette was successful would be an understatement. The audience is privy not only to a cozy fireplace enhanced living room, but to a very credible cemetery as well. Come prepared laugh as you enjoy this somewhat macabre creation. Enjoy post-show Artists in Conversation if you attend the Sunday, Jan 23 matinee at 2:00PM.  A Directors: In Conversation will be held at 700: PM, prior to the performance on Friday January 21. You will have an opportunity to speak with the Artistic Director at 7:00 PM on Friday, February 4. For tickets call 215-829-0395 or visit online at

Monday, January 17, 2011

Moon For the Misbegotten

If anyone ever doubted that plays are meant to be seen, rather than be read, go immediately to the Arden Theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City, Philadelphia. A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill is being produced on their Arcadia Stage through February 27, 2011. I have always found Eugene O’Neill’s works a little tedious to read, but this production is anything but. The set is rustic, comprised of a wooden shack with a large porch that is home to the Hogans.  There is also a working water pump upstage. Grace Gonglewski, as Josie Hogan, portrays a self deprecating, tough-as-nails, “bad girl” with a mind of her own and an attitude to back it up. Her first words are spoken in a heavy brogue as are the words H. Michael Walls, playing Phil Hogan. Every word is succinct and easy to understand, despite the heavy accent.  We immediately are introduced to a father whose three sons left town to escape him and his daughter who can “handle him” (and does so with a menacing stick in her hands). The brogue falls off as the play progresses.  Whether this is by design or not doesn’t seem to matter. The stage has been set and the audience is well entrenched in Josie’s story. Along comes James Tyrone, Jr., played by Eric Hissom. A marked distinction of class separates him from the Hogans; he owns their land and comes with a story of his own. How very much like Phil Hogan he is, we learn from escapades at the local inn. He is very convincing as a drunkard. Can he truly love Josie as he claims? His haunted past threatens to destroy his future .What can one night in the moonlight do for a couple?  Will it enhance their relationship or serve as a mask to hide a devious plot? One sign of a good production is how well it flows.  Moon for the Misbegotten runs 2 ½ hours including the intermission. It is riveting. The audience was spellbound when not laughing at the occasional bits of humor thrown into the mix. Don’t miss an opportunity to see this very well-acted classic. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at