Thursday, March 15, 2012

Show reviews for the week of March 12, 2012 - (Part 1)

When finished, don't forget to check out Part 2 of this weeks review round-up.

The Promethean Theatre Company presents its final production, The Unseen by Craig Wright's until . Directed by Margaret M. Ledford and features Antonio Amadeo, Andrew Wind, and Alex Alvarez.

Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage

The cruel irony is that The Unseen, the last show before The Promethean Theatre closes its doors forever, is one of the finest productions that the company has mounted in its eight-year history.

Be warned: The Unseen is definitely not for everyone. It is designed for audience members who prize theater as a crucible of challenging ideas and unsettling emotions. This often bleak, deeply intellectual, highly metaphorical work will horrify some people, even bore audiences unwilling to invest their own analytical skills in decoding an evening of drama. It occasionally dances on the precipice of losing the audience in the lengthy Byzantine tunnels of its characters’ insane musings. But the faithful can be assured: You’re in good hands.

And Christine Dolen reviewed the show for the Miami Herald

Wright’s play, first seen at the 2007 Humana Festival of New American plays, takes place in a prison where the inmates are isolated and regularly tortured. The specifics of time and place aren’t spelled out, so this particular hell on earth could be anywhere. Or today, everywhere.

But what really sells The Unseen is the haunting performances by Wind as a man on the verge of finally breaking, the sweet presence of Amadeo as an optimistic soul who can pluck a world of hope from a tiny sound, and the explosive fury of Alvarez as a psychopath with one of the most horrifying descriptions of violence ever devised by a playwright.

Thinking Cap Theatre presents Cleansed by Sarah Kane until March 31.  Directed by Nicoel Stodard and features: Daniel Nieves, Christina Jolie Breza, John Robert Warren, Andy Herrmann, Robert Alter, Desiree Mora, and Jim Gibbons.

J. W. Arnold reviewed the show for the South Florida Gay News

Kane left behind a small body of work—only five plays, a short film and a couple of newspaper articles—all intense and brutal. Two years ago, Joseph Adler’s GableStage mounted a Carbonell-winning production of Kane’s inaugural play, Blasted, a frightening, metaphoric view of sexual assault and the war in Bosnia that left the South Florida theater community buzzing.

Now, Thinking Cap Theatre, under the direction of founding artistic director Nicole Stodard, has taken on Cleansed, Kane’s third play, at Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage in a spare, yet thought-provoking production that will leave audiences shocked, perhaps mortified, and forced to challenge every conventional assumption of love.

George Kun’s minimalist set effectively transforms Empire Stage’s tiny space into the cold, hopeless institution with just a metal examination table, bench and school desk, but it’s the creative lighting from Jeffrey D. Holmes and Nate Sykes and extensive sound effects from David Hart and the Thinking Cap team that complete the nightmarish scene.

The Mosaic Theatre presents Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman on until April 1.  Directed by Avi Hoffman and features: Stephen G. Anthony, Laura Turnbull, and Oscar Cheda.

Mary Damiano has reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage

Torture, vengeance and morality take center stage in Death and the Maiden, a suspenseful thriller now receiving a riveting production at Mosaic Theatre in Plantation.

Death and the Maiden, by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, is set in an unnamed country, probably Chile, after a dictator-run government has been overthrown and democracy is taking flight. But Dorfman’s underlying message, by not specifically naming the country, is that such a story can take place, under certain circumstances, anywhere.

Death and the Maiden, which takes its title from a string quartet piece by Schubert that Paulina’s rapist played during her torture, is a taut psychological thriller, and Mosaic Theatre’s production is impressive.

And Christine Dolen reviewed the show for the Miami Herald

The sense of danger in the world, of evil walking among us, has only increased since Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden made its debut in 1990. The intensity and uncertainty built into the script feel very much of the moment. Despite the passage of more than 20 years, Dorfman’s examination of torture and retribution hasn’t aged a bit.

Newly revived at Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre, Death and the Maiden offers its three actors the chance to deliver psychologically rich performances designed to keep the audience off balance. Under Avi Hoffman’s direction, Mosaic’s cast – Laura Turnbull as a forever-traumatized torture victim, Stephen G. Anthony as her lawyer husband and Oscar Cheda as the doctor who may or may not have been the woman’s tormentor – make good on the script’s potential.


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