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Mary Louise Geiger

X: Or, Betty Shabazz V. the Nation

February 20, 2018

Marcus Gardley’s "X: Or, Betty Shabazz V. The Nation" is a powerful indictment of forces within a movement which help to destroy it. Performed by The Acting Company under the direction of Ian Belknap, their artistic director, the play is riveting throughout while it follows its investigation where it may. It also requires a good deal of knowledge of the events of the 1960’s which many contemporary theatergoers may not come equipped to follow it. [more]

Draw the Circle

February 3, 2018

... in Deen’s mad dash to portray Shireern’s elderly Indian father and mother--who live in Connectictut--her girlfriend, Molly, and so many other figures, including even a housecleaner at a Motel 8, where Shireen attempted suicide--he seems to have a different voice and demeanor for every one of them. He even--on his knees and with a little girl’s voice--plays Shireen’s five-year-old niece, Rabia. [more]

Until the Flood

January 19, 2018

Ms. Orlandersmith skillfully organizes the material into short monologues that are revelatory, insightful and often tinged with humor.  Visually striking with her animated facial features and flowing dreadlocks, Orlandersmith subtly yet forcefully offers a series of rich characterizations.  Varying her vocal inflections and altering her physiognomy she conveys the essence of each individual.  It’s a riveting performance of range and depth. [more]

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

October 4, 2016

The playwright sets the action in Turner’s jail cell where he’s chained up, visited by Gray, and overseen by a guard, the night before his execution. Mr. Davis states that this situation is a fabrication inspired by the book. A possibly unreliable account is the source material for this even more fanciful dramatization. Davis even expresses through the mercenary Gray the possibility that his chronicle will be sensationally tailored in order to sell more books. [more]

Dear Elizabeth

December 1, 2015

The great mid-20th century American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell were friends from 1947 until his sudden death 30 years later. As they were usually in different cities and countries (Bishop lived in Brazil for many years while Lowell lived in New York City and Boston), they wrote each other over 450 letters which were published in 2008 as "Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell." Sarah Ruhl, an adventurous playwright whose plays tend to be very different from each other, has adapted the letters for the stage in a homage to writing and friendship called Dear Elizabeth in which all of the words are that of the poets. Kate Whorskey’s fascinating production for WP Theater (formerly The Women’s Project) has staged the play much in the manner of last year’s revival of A.R. Gurney’s "Love Letters" and also with revolving casts. [more]

Forever

May 13, 2015

The press performance under review left audiences hanging on her every word, as Orlandersmith painted a picture of the challenging and draining relationship she had with her mother, including the arguments, the name-calling, the shame and her mother’s constant need for security and attention. Well-spoken and tuned into her emotions, Orlandersmith has a true ability to connect with a large room, making them feel every emotion and sensation that she was feeling. She didn’t sugarcoat one detail and her authenticity aided in processing each thought and feeling, and ultimately allowed Orlandersmith to rise above her past. [more]