For most Brown students, Shakespeare existed only in high school English classes; while his importance as a founding father of modern drama and comedy are drilled into our brains, his texts often remain inert to the modern reader.
To those who haven’t seen high-quality Shakespeare productions, welcome to a whole new world. To those who have and love it, welcome to your dream.
Twelfth Night, directed by Jane Nichols, is a well-oiled machine. Despite running two and a half hours, the show doesn’t ever lag. The actors are like frenetic puppets, weaving on and off stage with timed precision. The set, too, is moving; the stage, initially all but bare upon entering the theater, changes subtly but effectively to denote change of setting.
Nichols, an esteemed professor of at the Yale School of Drama and currently a visiting artist at Brown, is an obvious professional and the true star of the show, despite never appearing on stage. Her blocking is as tight as can be, and her knowledge of the text is clear from the start. Unlike many student productions of Shakespeare, it’s clear the actors know the exact meaning of the lines they’re delivering. When the actors know the meaning of their words, it’s much easier for the audience to wade through Shakespeare’s, at times, opaque text–and the jokes certainly land with surer footing. The actors are just as comfortable in group scenes as they are expertly delivering soliloquies that sometimes border on… lengthy.
After 32 years of performing, Fusion Dance Company knows how to entertain. With 16 dances, five interludes, and countless shouts of “Fu Fu?… Fusion!”, the Fusion Dance Company Spring Show is a must-see. At times intimate, at times high-energy, and always artistic and creative, each dance attempts to capture the essence of Fusion Dance Company, and the diversity within the group and the members. No words can really do this show justice, so instead…
If you’re not sure what’s going on in Charles Mee‘s Bobrauschenbergamerica, you’re probably not alone. The play, whose title references Neo-Dadaist American painter and sculptor Robert Rauschenberg, is directed by Thom Finley ’14 and opens tonight in the PW Downspace. It is whimsical, wacky, and at times, bordering on nonsensical. Which is precisely the point.
The show’s eccentric nature is clear before actors even take the stage. The set, designed by Sam Keamy-Minor ’16, resembles an explosion of an all-American house. Symbols of domestic, small-town American life are strung from the ceiling, creating a web of dust pans, dollhouses, badminton racquets, toy cars, and rolling pins. Slides projected onto hanging white boards give the space a museum-like feel.
Bobrauschenbergamerica is held up by a committed and ceaselessly energetic ensemble cast. Much of the time the members of the show appear onstage all at once, feeling less like a group of individuals and more like a well-oiled machine. The nontraditional narrative structure, which consists of a series of loosely connected vignettes, synchronized dance numbers, audio clips, monologues and wordless sequences, is deliberately vague, demanding audience members’ active intellectual engagement. The dance numbers are just riotously funny, although there is something frightening in the moments of synchronization, something abnormally homogenous.
“I don’t really have a worldview. Well, actually, my worldview is that the world is a pile of shit.”
That’s definitely the idea you get as you walk into the Upspace for The Pillowman, which opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs through Monday. With a dark, minimalist set and eerie dolls hanging on the wall, averting their gaze from the audience, this dystopian world director Andrew Ganem ’16 has created is unsettling before the actors even take the stage.
Yet, it is the cast, as they vacillate abruptly between riotous dark comedy and engrossing drama, that truly brings the text of Martin McDonagh’s terrifyingly brilliant three-act play from 2003 about a writer, Katurian Katurian (Alex Ostroff ’14), accused of carrying out the murders of three children exactly like they take place in his short stories, to life.
First, there’s Tupolski and Ariel, played by Sam Rubinek ’17 and Keston McMillan ’17, the abusive and deliciously sadistic policemen. As they nonsensically question Katurian about murders he did not commit, McDonagh’s biting satire is in its purest form, thanks to Rubinek and McMillan’s mastery of the comic tone and timing. Rubinek, with a drawl reminiscent of a 1950s Chicago mobster, is the good cop (although in this hopeless totalitarian dictatorship, there is no such thing) . McMillan is certainly the bad cop, his speech menacingly quiet and his body language hinting at the imminent doom each of these characters is hurtling towards. The first act belongs to this freshman duo.
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, which opens tonight at 8:00 p.m. and runs through Monday, October 21st, is on the surface a rollicking comedy—a story of sex and deceit with a good dose of physical and slapstick humor and witty retorts. However, around fifteen minutes in, you begin to realize In the Next Room is not merely a wildly entertaining, 21st-century Oscar Wilde-esque play, but a modern feminist manifesto.
Directed masterfully by Karin Nilo ’14 and written by Sarah Ruhl ’97 MFA ’01, In the Next Room is set in Victorian-era New York and follows Mrs. Givings, a woman whose husband treats female (and later male) patients for hysteria using the vibrator, and Mrs. Daldry, one of Dr. Givings patients, as they discover their sexuality and slowly take control of their bodies. Continue Reading
Columbus Fall Weekend is upon us. While many flee our beloved “creative capital” for brighter city lights or the comfort of a home-cooked meal, those who are staying on campus can indulge in many seasonal activities and other cool happenings in Providence. BlogDH has conveniently listed a few things to knock off your fall to-do list.
Boiler House Yoga Student Art Show and One Year Anniversary Celebration
Where: Boiler House Yoga (166 Valley Street, Providence)
When: All weekend
What: Boiler House Yoga is hosting a weekend of free and reduced rate classes! This is the perfect pre-Halloween detox.
Fright Night in the Park
Where: Slater Memorial Park (Pawtucket)
When: Friday and Saturday
What: Prepare yourself for the haunted tunnel. Continue Reading