Dan Kern and Jered McLenigan star in THE WOMAN IN BLACK at Act II Playhouse. Photo by Mark Garvin.

THE WOMAN IN BLACK: A GHOST PLAY (Act II): 60-second review

THE WOMAN IN BLACK: A GHOST PLAY is a cleverly constructed stage production by Stephen Mallatratt based on a novel by Susan Hill. It is a story within a story with Arthur Kipps (Dan Kern) seeking the assistance of an actor (Jered McLenigan) to tell his terrifying and sorrowful tale he’s compiled into a five hour manuscript. The actor encourages Kipps to tell the story through acting; the actor playing the role of Kipps and Kipps playing the roles of the people he encountered during his experiences.

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MAKESHIFT (Murmuration Theater): 60-second review

Strange games are afoot upstairs at Plays and Players. Not light or fun games, either—we’re talking full-on Don’t-talk-about-our-son-Martha! games here. Murmuration Theater’s new play MAKESHIFT throws us right into the middle of two different stories, and figures we’re smart enough to figure out what’s going on. The show doesn’t dole out much information, and when it does, it’s timed for maximum effect. Once you get enough to realize the show’s central conceit (which is quite nice, and unfolds so organically that I’d hate to spoil it), the earlier scenes come into better focus and make more sense.

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Photo by Yi Zhao

THE GARDEN (Nichole Canuso Dance Company): Offer your hand…

Six audience members isn’t an empty house; that’s the full load for Nichole Canuso Dance Company’s THE GARDEN. The basement below us is an expansive concrete stretch, a network of small rooms and squared pillars, and we’re sent down into a smallish room scattered with chairs. We’re invited to sit wherever we like.

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RFK (New City Stage): An American tragedy

Director Ginger Dayle and sound and video designer Ren Manley intersperse audio and visuals from the 1960s in New City Stage Company’s RFK, complementing Widdall’s powerful performance with a great soundtrack and contextualizing video clips. Following pre-show newsreels from JFK’s assassination, the play begins in 1964—eight months after the fateful day in Dallas.

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U.R. as Flip LeVay and Julianna Zinkel as Kimber in Arden Theatre Company’s production of Stick Fly. Photo by Mark Garvin.

STICK FLY (Arden): An inventive, relentlessly funny look at race and class

The immaculate Martha’s Vineyard home of the African American LeVay family is the set for Lydia R. Diamond’s STICK FLY at Arden Theatre Company. Plush sofas and pristine white cabinetry are the trappings around which the evening’s drama unfolds. The audience has a window into the kitchen, living room and porch where at times multiples scenes take place at complementary intervals; sometimes echoing their counterparts in the next room. The characters in the play are a complex set, all with different but overlapping backgrounds—some more than they realize.

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Kevin Meehan.Photo credit: Kathryn Raines

WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT (InterAct): Are You Black Enough?

Drury’s funny, traumatic, inventive and timely play will stab at you, personally, at least once. She asks whether it is important that a story be told, or if it is more important that it be told in a certain way. She uses the events in Namibia to illustrate the cracks in our own culture, the divides caused by racial issues even among a group of people who would probably all vote for the same candidate..

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The “Droogs” at the Milkbar (l to r: Katie Gould, Shamus Hunter McCarty, Kevin Rodden, and Alan Holmes as Alex) in Luna Theater Company’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Photo credit: Aaron J. Oster)

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Luna): Commedia dell’arte meets post-modern morality play

Luna Theater Company’s interpretation of Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel is a unique marriage of the British author’s futuristic stylizations with disturbing a cappella songs with the historic conventions of masking and stock movement inspired by Italian commedia dell’arte. It’s a perfect match to tell the cutting-edge morality tale of teen ultra-violence and reform.

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pictured: Cait O'Driscoll, photo credit: Erin Pitts

SLASHER (Figment): An improv horror

SLASHER is a one hour improv play in the vein of a B-movie horror. There’s an unnecessarily precautious “splash area” where the audience may be stained with stray stage blood. An audience member’s spin of a wheel dictates the setting and holiday (a school on Easter weekend, on opening night). If this sounds like a description of the kind of show you like to see, you’ll probably like SLASHER.

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