Alexander Burns

QTGVanya5 Dr Astrov (Kevin Bergen) squares off with Vanya (Steven Wright) in Uncle Vanya

UNCLE VANYA (Quintessence): Tedious boring people

Good productions of Chekhov remind us of how vital his work still can be. Bad productions feed the narrative that his plays are dated, charmless, and inconsequential.

Mattie Hawkinson (as Penthea), Josh Carpenter (as Orgilus), Gregory Isaac (as Bassanes). Photo by Shawn May.

THE BROKEN HEART (Quintessence): Dark matter

Melancholy John Ford was more ‘himself’ and less ‘Shakespearean’ than other less bold Cavalier dramatists.

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Theater in Sketch: MOTHER COURAGE

Some sketches of some Brecht.

Janis Dardaris (as Mother Courage), Forrest McClendon (as The Cook). Photo by Shawn May.

MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (Quintessence): Epic theater!

Quintessence Theatre brings to life a beautifully staged, truly epic production of Bertolt Brecht’s MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, as brilliantly directed by Alexander Burns.

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DOCTOR FAUSTUS (Quintessence): If you want to know everything, go to hell

A remarkably original and gloriously entertaining version of the Marlowe play.

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SAINT JOAN (Quintessence): The Maid’s new clothes

George Bernard Shaw’s play is presented in rich tonalities of color, light, positioning, and sound. It is wide awake.

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HANSEL AND GRETEL (Quintessence): Cool contemporary spin on Grimm

You don’t have to be ten years old to thoroughly enjoy this production, you just have to retrace the breadcrumbs and remember how to pretend again.

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THE MANDRAKE (Quintessence): A Machiavellian sex satire

What could be so funny in a play written nearly 500 years ago? There is something for everyone to either laugh or balk at in this bawdy production of a play by Machiavelli.

Photo by Shawn May.

ROMEO AND JULIET (Quintessence): What fray was here?

In the eyes of director Alexander Burns this doomed romance never stood a chance.

Ken Sandberg, Connor Hammond (as d'Artagnan), Parke Fech. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Quintessence): Swordplay and horseplay combine in a breezy adaptation

As always with an Alexander Burns production, imagery is rife, props are creative, and jokes come as much from sight gags as from dialogue.

Ian Merrill Peakes as Macbeth with Ben Dibble as Banquo. Photo by Mark Garvin.

MACBETH (Arden): Rare emotion and rarer straightforwardness [critical mass review #5]

The elements which displease other writers are what makes this production a success, according to Michael Fisher in review five of the ongoing Critical Mass series.

Jahzeer Terrell as a soldier, Ian Merrill Peakes as Macbeth, Terence Macsweeny and Sean Bradley as Soldiers in MACBETH at the Arden. Photo by Mark Garvin.

MACBETH (Arden): Shakepeare as spectacle [critical mass review #4]

It’s the fourth installment of the Critical Mass review of MACBETH at the Arden, but Julius Ferraro thinks too many works have already been written about an unremarkable piece of theater.

Alexander Burns directing MACBETH at the Arden

“I was born into Shakespeare, the American Shakespeare”: Alex Burns on directing MACBETH (Arden), part 1

I will never forget the first time I saw Hamlet. My sister and I were out playing on the street in Mount Airy, Philadelphia.

Ensemble in Arden Theatre Company's production of MACBETH. Photo by Mark Garvin.

MACBETH (Arden): Numb from the neck down, well almost [critical mass review #3]

Jessica Foley gives this week’s critical mass take on MACBETH at the Arden, part of a new review series on Phindie.

Judith Lightfoot Clarke as Lady Macbeth with Ian Merrill Peakes as Macbeth. Photo by Mark Garvin.

MACBETH (Arden): Fast but not furious [critical mass review #2]

Alexander Burns’ production of MACBETH at Arden Theatre Company is energetic and visually engaging, but it lacks ferocity and substance.

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MACBETH (Arden): Bloody bold and resolute [critical mass review #1]

Burns maintains the energy and pacing of his best work for Quintessence and takes full advantage of the Arden’s high production values to create an exuberant and understandable version of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.

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ALICE’s ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (Quintessence): Mystifying appearances and disappearances, levitations and mysterious goings-on at Mount Airy’s Sedgwick Theater

For the latest installment in their tradition of performing literary family classics for the holidays, Quintessence Theatre Group brings ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND and its parade of beloved batty characters to Sedgwick Theater.

Alan Brincks (as Fitzwater), Carlo Campbell (as Northumberland), Lee Croptopassi (as Bollingbrook), James-Patrick Davis (as Richard II), Sean Close (as Aumerle). Photo by Shawn May.

Richard II (Quintessence): Let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings

RICHARD II is a richly rewarding play, full of insightful and startling verse, but you might want to read a synopsis before seeing this production.

Carlo Campbell, Ryan Walter (as Audrey), Sean Close (as Touchstone), Lee Cortopassi (as Amiens). (Photo by Shawn May)

AS YOU LIKE IT (Quintessence): Do you not know I am a woman?

Burns and his cast humanize Shakespeare’s characters and provide a smart, jolly time that is tinged with genuine sentiment.

tax-day

Is there money in theater? Where does it come from? Who gets it?

Phindie looks at tax returns for local theaters to see how much they brought in from what sources. We also look at who the best paid employee was for each “non-profit”.