The Arden theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City is presenting Samuel Beckett’s Endgame on its Arcadia stage through March 12. Anyone who is familiar with Samuel Beckett knows that his work is minimalistic and open to interpretation. There are talk-backs scheduled for the end of each performance (it is a one act play and thus is not lengthy) to encourage audience members to share their interpretations about what they have seen on the stage and to have a dialogue with the assistant director and each other about the set, characters, and over-all message of Beckett’s play. The set is painted in nebulous shades of gray. Although Beckett wrote this piece over 50 years ago, the set was built to suggest a collapsed garage of the World Trade Center after 9/11 in order to give the piece a more contemporary feel and more relevancy. The underlining structure of this story delves into people's lives; how they relate to each other after tragedy and how they unwittingly need each other. Everyone has his own story yet isn’t really listening to or perhaps isn’t able to listen to the others. Scott Greer portrays Hamm, the character who is in command although he can neither see nor move on his own and James Ijames portrays Clov, the younger man that Hamm saved as boy . Nancy Boykin and Dan Kern, real- life husband and wife, portray Hamm’s parents who live in trash cans. Because Beckett’s work is frought with symbolism and so open to interpretation, it is debatable whether or not Hamm’s parents are figments of his imagination or truly exist. There are comedic moments interspersed within this bleak tale, most of them ably provided by James Ijames. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
InterAct Theatre, located at 2030 Sansom Streets, is presenting the world premiere of David Robson’s Assassin through February 10. The production is a powerful and forceful drama that imagines a meeting that might have taken place 30 years after an Oakland Raiders defensive back actually paralyzed a New England Patriots’ wide receiver. Brian Anthony Wilson, as Frank, suffering from alcoholism and diabetes is desperate to meet the player he injured face to face on national TV but is unflinching in his determination to stop short of an apology... He blusters…”The hit was legal and all part of the game. I was doin’ my job.” In a tumultuous series of interchanges between the retired footfall star and Dwayne A.Thomas, portraying Lewis, the quadriplegic’s brash attorney, it soon becomes apparent that there is more than one victim as a result of this tragic accident. The dialogue is quick and hard-hitting with first one, then the other character prevailing. The performance is only 80 minutes long but it packs quite a punch. Don’t miss this opportunity to weigh-in on the difficulties of dealing with the consequences of an action and the helplessness to right a wrong. For further information or tickets, call 215-568=8079 or visit online at www.interacttheatre.org.
Monday, January 28, 2013
|Room 306 in Lorraine Motel, Memphis|
Philadelphia Theatre Company, located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, is presenting the Philadelphia premiere of The Mountaintop through February 17. Playwright Katori Hall imagines what might have happened in the motel room in Memphis the night after Dr. King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” speech. Sekou Laidlow, portraying Dr. Martin Luther King and Amirah Vann, portraying a stranger who enters his motel room, were at a distinct disadvantage due to a stagehands walk-out on opening night. Sound cues were missing as were special effects, but this did not deter either actor. Laidlaw depicts King as human and fallible. Perhaps it is because the audience is forced to employ its imagination that Laidlaw is able to plumb to great depths to reveal his character as not only reverent, but at times playful, raw and earthy. Amirah Vann gives a well- rounded performance as well. She portrays her character as awestruck, yet defiant; saucy, yet playful; irreverent, yet compassionate. The actors performed under less than ideal circumstances but their performances could not have been any better. The acting is outstanding. Tickets will be sold at preview prices for the duration of the stagehands’ union walkout. Certainly the show will be enhanced once the stagehands come back to work, but the show is well worth-while as is. You don’t need to wait for a union settlement to see a very fine performance. For further information or tickets, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at PhiladelphiaTheaterCompany.org
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Walnut Street Theatre, located at 825 Walnut Street, is producing Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband through March 3 on its mainstage. Although the action takes place over a 36 hour period of time, the play is written in four acts. The scene change between the first and second act is done with house lights on and curtain up. Watching the modification can only be compared to seeing an additional act in itself albeit without dialogue. At its finish, on opening night, the extraordinary transformation from one room to another commanded applause from the audience. Of course WST has a wonderful stage for set design because of its depth, but Scenic Designer Robert Andrew Kovach designed a Barrymore worthy set. If the Barrymores were still to be awarded, the entire Design staff of this production would be worthy. Costume Designer Colleen Grady’s 19th century aristocratic dress sets an authentic tone as soon as the curtain rises. Lighting Designer Shelly Hicklin and Sound Designer Christopher Colucci also present award-worthy efforts to this production. The 12 member ensemble cast keeps the audience in stitches with a plot that is more serpentine than a mountain road; every time you come around the bend there is a new twist. The ideal husband is less than ideal; the ne’er-do-well does very well when least expected. Skeletons pop out of closets at inopportune moments, sometimes even when they belong in the closet of someone else. The superb set, outstanding writing and fabulous acting all combine to present a marvelous show. For tickets or further information call 215-574-3550 or 800 982-2787 or visit online at www.walnutstreettheatre.org.