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Joseph J. Menino

Shadow of Heroes

November 26, 2018

While Alex Roe’s minimalist production is both sharp and engrossing, the play offers viewers several problems. Aside from the three main characters, the play has 23 other speaking roles with actors doubling and tripling in multiple roles. Those unfamiliar with the Hungarian names as well as the history may have trouble following the twisty drama as the events pile up. Ardrey uses the awkward device of a narrator actually called the “Author” (played by Joel Rainwater) which helps a greatly but this also leads to a good deal of excess information. At almost three hours, "Shadow of Heroes" is an investment in time but it does pay off in the end. There are very few plays since Shakespeare which attempt as this one does to dramatize such a large chunk of history on stage. [more]

Suddenly

October 9, 2018

Mercer’s direction coordinates the outstanding design components into an aesthetically successful presentation with some neat stage pictures and tableaux. However, the deliberate quest for stylization leads to an exaggerated tone in the performances as opposed to the movie’s straightforward naturalism resulting in an overall distancing effect. There’s the sense of experiencing a stilted art project rather than being engrossed by a play. [more]

Boys of a Certain Age

February 12, 2017

This volatile quartet battle over the personal and the political during a Scotch-fueled weekend at Ira’s Fire Island house. There’s not much in the way of plot, but secrets are revealed, scores are settled and life goes on with new insights. It’s reminiscent of a Terrence McNally play but lacking in polish. [more]

The Gambler

January 27, 2016

Director Lordi-Kirkham has unaccountable staged the play as though it were a radio play or a reading, making it more talky and static than it needs to be. While the text is faithful to the Russian novella with some trimming to reduce the number of characters, the use of both a narrator and much of the narration from the novel makes this seem like an interior monologue rather than a play. Unfortunately, the actors playing the twenty somethings who are given the most stage time do not have the technique necessary to bring off this psychological drama. At two hours and 10 minutes with no intermission, this is a long evening in the theater. [more]