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John Collins

Gatz

February 2, 2019

Director John Collins made the more than seven hour running time a breeze with his attention to detail, moving his cast of office workers/Gatsby characters with such naturalness that, as each denizen of this weird space was drawn into a speaking part, it seemed organic and smooth, as well as quite amusing, beginning with Scott Shepherd who, as the first person to pick up the book, took on the character of its narrator Nick Carraway who tells the story, which takes place in 1922, from a future vantage point.  Shepherd, who was in it from first to last, deserves the biggest kudos for keeping Gatz afloat with his calm demeanor and quietly stylized readings. [more]

Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf

June 13, 2018

“What a dump” is the immortal opening line of Edward Albee’s dramatic masterpiece, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".  In the inane spoof "Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf," it’s spoken by George instead of Martha while he is brightly lit and standing in a doorway. This instantly signifies to those who are familiar with the original work that we’re in for an irreverent ride. However, the promise of a wry send-up very quickly descends into pretentious pointlessness. [more]

Measure for Measure (Elevator Repair Service)

October 21, 2017

Director John Collins, founder of ERS, has set the play in an office or conference room with three long tables (in Jim Findlay’s design which eventually grows tiresome)  and a great many stick telephones by which the characters often call each other to relay Shakespeare’s lines as if they are working from their offices. The walls of the set become screens for the text to scroll upwards through most of the play; at time we even see it five ways including the ceiling and with four panels in the back as well as on the back wall. Whether this is to remind us that this is a play of language, it is usually distracting and not very revealing. Often the actors speak so fast that it impossible to follow them and then in a brilliant coup de theatre one scene (that between brother and sister Claudio and Isabella) is spoken so slowly that it seems to reveal hidden meanings not noticeable before. [more]