Artists Repertory Theatre
April 30, 2005
"Four women escape gray drizzle of English spring (and creeping indignities of ordinary lives) for Tuscan villa that promises romantic vistas and touch of adventure.” If I recall movie correctly, this’ll be sweet introduction to new season, but wish ‘twere in January as a retreat from our own gray drizzle.
“Under flickering neon lights in sleazy hotel room … a waitress and a drifter fight their way through bad trips, bad relationships, bad blood to find love that blooms despite infestation of most unlikely intruders.” Sounds like an over-familiar setup, but in a new setting: ART’s newly constructed Second Stage.
Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant
“Dwarfish, perpetually picked-on Owen and his fight to avoid being baby Jesus in local Christmas pageant. What starts as casting quarrel becomes all-out brawl over significance of shepherds, turtledoves and Christmas spirit itself.” OK, I’m game, but then I liked last year’s Mrs. Cratchitt. Anything that will make me jolly.
“Through eyes of Russian actress, her son, her lover and his muse, Seagull explores complications of love, fractiousness of desire and fragility of the human soul.” World premiere adaptation by Portland playwright Joseph Fisher and, I hear, start of a multi-year exploration of Chekhov’s classics. Maybe I’ll finally come around.
“Gripping mystery connects lives of three strangers through disappearance of a child and search for answers from disturbing serial killer.” This is the 50/50 bet of the season. Psychological thrillers are difficult to stage, to build tension, to pull off shock. But that’s not to say it can’t be done.
“Carnival sideshow of American Dream gone awry, Assassins takes crack at every loser, loner, crackpot and political mastermind that ever took a shot at an American president.” Talk about giving the people what they want. Furthermore, Sondheim is a master. Above all, an intimate ART approach to musicals. All good.
“Being 16 is hard enough for Wesley, but when he chooses to live with his father and his father’s boyfriend, everyone quickly learns how much family dynamics have changed.” A “gentle comedy” particularly timely, relevant to Portland and well suited for this focused, pragmatic and well-balanced company. Here’s to ART!