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Stacey Derosier

Tender Napalm

July 26, 2019

The power and majesty of the theater are affirmed by this ravishing production of the acclaimed English playwright Philip Ridley’s two-character play, "Tender Napalm." For 75 enchanting minutes on a bare stage we follow the fantastical exploits of a young man and a young woman apparently shipwrecked on a jungle island. They engage with monkeys, aliens and serpents and time passes through a gloriously written cascade of memories, erotic verbal exchanges and biographical details. There’s mention of “A dildo shaped like a dolphin from the lost city of Atlantis.” [more]

Six Years Old

July 18, 2019

"Six Years Old" is a gem of a play, its facets polished by the director Helen Handelman.  Every emotional revelation, no matter how subtle is illuminated by the acting of its four-member cast:  Julia Weldon as the willful six-year-old Adelaide, just beginning to find her gender identity; Conor William Wright as her precocious four-year-old brother Dewey; Diane Chen as their put-upon, not very professional babysitter Kim; and Meghan E. Jones as their seemingly calm mother Rachel. [more]

No One Is Forgotten

July 14, 2019

Playwright Winter Miller offers a shakily hollow mélange of Genet, Beckett and Pinter with her two women in a prison cell scenario taking place in an unnamed foreign country. Ms. Miller’s dialogue is well-shaped and achieves sporadic humor and emotional resonance but to no real purpose as her effort comes across as an artificial exercise rather than a realized play. Without explanation sometimes only one character appears, and we’re left to conclude, “Maybe it’s a flashback or one was taken away and returned. Did one of them die?” [more]

Mies Julie

February 12, 2019

Yaël Farber’s adaptation of Strindberg’s classic "Miss Julie," "Mies Julie" shifts the scene and setting from 1880’s Sweden to the Karoo in South Africa on Freedom Day in 2012--or the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s election in 1994--which is long after apartheid was outlawed. Such changes shift Strindberg’s focus on the class system to matters of racism and apartheid today, when, despite any suggestions that we’ve transcended such problems, racist incidents continue to be in the news every day. They also make the play far more relevant than the antique penned by Strindberg, although ironically, it was far ahead of its time when it was written. [more]

Lewiston/Clarkston

November 28, 2018

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is presenting a theatrical event by Idaho theater poet Samuel D. Hunter ("The Whale," "A Bright New Boise," "The Few," "Pocatello," "The Healing," "The Harvest"): a long one-act masterpiece (Clarkston), a 40-minute communal dinner served on picnic tables of what the characters would be eating and a curtain raiser, "Lewiston," which has the same themes and symbols as the later play. Taken as a whole this is a remarkable achievement, probably the best Hunter has created so far. Director David McCallum must be given some of the credit for this magnificent evening, and in particular actor Edmund Donovan who isn’t so much performing as living his character of Chris in "Clarkston." [more]

1969: The Second Man

August 30, 2018

The mellow sound of Brandt’s score proves to be easy listening, but the individual musical numbers do not build to any dramatic climaxes so that the show seems tamer than material concerning depression and alcoholism suggests it should be. However, the ballad forms and guitar/violin instrumentation are pleasant to the ear. Some of Giles’ dialogue which is not part of Aldrin’s story seems extraneous and the show takes a while to get started. "1969: The Second Man" is entertaining enough in this concert form, but needs some work before going to the next level. Jacob Brandt, however, proves to be a talented new musical voice. [more]