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New Haven Theater Company Sings A Love Song

by Brian Slattery | Nov 9, 2018 7:16 am

Early in John Kolvenbach’s Love Song — running at the New Haven Theater Company on Chapel Street through Nov. 17 — Beane (Christian Shaboo) is subjected to a personality test by Harry (George Kulp). It’s the type of test that Joan (Susan Kulp), Beane’s sister and Harry’s wife, thinks is silly. The sort of thing, she says, that a bored intern writes to fill space in a magazine, and that everyone else takes too seriously. First question: Someone gives you a wrapped present for your birthday. It’s a box. What do you want to be inside of it — a puppy, a songbird, a bunny, or a baby?

That’s where things go horribly, hilariously wrong.

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Take This “A Train”

by Brian Slattery | Oct 24, 2018 6:41 am

Brian Slattery PhotosAngel Cruz is on his knees, trying to get through an Our Father. He’s in a prison cell and it looks like it might be his first night. He’s shaky. He’s scared.

“Our Father,” he starts, “who art in Heaven.”

That’s when the obscenities start, telling him to quiet down as he tried to stammer through the rest of the prayer. It’s funny and tense, all the same time — setting the stage, thematically and tonally, for everything that is to come in Collective Consciousness Theater‘s fleet, entertaining, and excoriating production of Jesus Hopped the A Train, running Oct. 25 to Nov. 11.

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Shakespeare As They Like It

by Donald Brown | Oct 22, 2018 6:42 am

In Shakespeare’s celebrated comedy As You Like It, the forest of Arden is often conceived as a utopian space, a place where the rigors of the court are set aside for a more freewheeling style of life, and where erotic love flourishes. In exile there you can really figure things out and find that certain someone. And what if the court is cisgendered, while Arden is not bound by old-fashioned gender binaries?

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Long Wharf Finds A Good “Roommate”

by Donald Brown | Oct 19, 2018 6:41 am

T. Charles Erickson PhotosA spacious kitchen and dining area with an attached living-room/porch, Dane Laffrey’s set stretches across the Long Wharf thrust space on a diagonal. We see a facsimile of a settled domestic space that looks realistic, though also entirely theatrical. That both-at-once quality is key to Jen Silverman’s The Roommate, a play about making new connections in middle age that uses unexpected turns and a subversive edge to unsettle its theme of the fraught path to friendship. We might feel we’re on comfortable, homey ground, but that might just be a façade.

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“El Huracán” Unleashes A Storm Of Memory

by Brian Slattery | Oct 5, 2018 10:52 am

T. Charles Erickson PhotosAbout midway through El Huracán by Charise Castro Smith, the play’s two central characters, Miranda (Irene Sofia Lucio) and Ximena (Maria-Christina Oliveras), undergo a radical transformation even as they lay themselves bare.

As they both shed their costumes, Miranda takes us through almost three decades of guilt for a single hasty decision, and Ximena through the anger she can’t let go of. As they excoriate themselves, a small crew helps them change, first putting on pads that fill out their bodies, then clothes over those pads. What we might have thought was natural hair were wigs all along, that are changed.

At the end of their monologues, both Miranda and Ximena have aged, 27 years in the span of a few minutes, and we understand why.

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Long Wharf Makes Room

by Brian Slattery | Oct 1, 2018 10:59 am

There’s a moment in Jen Silverman’s The Roommate when Sharon, a woman in her fifties putting her life together after a divorce, and Robyn, her new housemate, have already gotten to know each other a bit. They know about each others’ kids. Robyn knows about Sharon’s dissatisfaction with her marriage. Sharon knows Robyn knows how to grow weed. They’ve even shared a joint together. But then Sharon discovers that she doesn’t know the half of what’s going on with Robyn, and she’s scared by what she finds. She’s not sure she even knows Robyn’s real name anymore.

“But what were you born as?” Sharon asks her. And Robyn answers: “I was born as a malleable, changeable template.”

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