Year in Review 2010
Productions of 2010
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Williamstown
Jessica Stone’s direction, A Funny Thing Happened on the
Way to the Forum at WTF was a constellation, and the cast
its stars, each with his own brilliance (an all-male cast
that did, amazingly, put the focus on the comedy, not the
flesh). Stone’s show achieved that hoped-for theatrical rarity:
actual people on stage honestly sharing their humanity in
all its quirks and glory.
The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare and Company
magnificent concluding scene under Coleman’s deft direction
showed that this difficult late work wasn’t two separate plays
joined together only by program notes, but a subtle work of
art and nature harmonized into a melding of laughter and tears.
No acting troupe works as well and fully with an audience
as Shakespeare and Company does, and the audience heartily
applauded even as members wiped away a few tears.
Play by Play: Blue Moons, Stageworks/Hudson
plays plus four actors times 16 characters equaled 90 minutes
of excellent theater. Always one of the bravest and best theatrical
events of the year, the addition this year of virtuoso actors
Jonathan Epstein and Tod Randolph made Blue Moons not
just a rarity but a wonder.
The Life and Death of King Richard III, Shakespeare
a bravura turn, the famous opening monologue, “Now is the
winter of our discontent,” was done with the peerless John
Douglas Thompson flat on his back, the top of his head facing
the audience. We heard the words ring out in their honeyed
menace, in their declaration of intent. Filled with more excellent
performances and scenes than could fit into a single review,
Shakespeare and Company’s The Life and Death of King Richard
III was a must-see.
The Crucible, Barrington Stage Company
final act of this excellent production showed how far the
honest and God-loving can fall to the demagogues and God-fearing.
This Elizabeth and John were the first Proctor couple I’ve
seen on stage who knew what lips were for, and as Proctor,
Innvar’s struggle to find words, to remember how to speak,
especially the lies Judge Danforth demanded, was one of the
finest acting moments I’ve seen this extraordinary talent
create. This was a Crucible worth the visit both for
the timeliness of the play and the excellence of the performances.
The Guardsman, Berkshire Theatre Festival
Actress” (Jayne Atkinson) and “The Actor” (Michel Gill) argued
when the curtain opened for director John Rando’s briskly
paced production of this seldom-seen 1910 comic gem. That
the curtain closed on almost an identical moment underscored
how tight and grandly affected The Guardsman is. This
was a comedy in a grand style, an exercise in manners, gestures,
accents, and affection that created frequent laughter from
the audience and also hinted at the theme weaving more gently
through this genial farce: Is there anything you can’t believe,
and Company’s Mengleberg and Mahler.
Mengleberg and Mahler, Shakespeare and Company
Klein used the Bernstein Theatre well, with huge black-and-white
historic photos and movies of the principal settings and people
of Mengleberg and Mahler. That Mengleberg’s banishment
came from his declaration to the Nazis justifying playing
Mahler’s music—“not Jewish music or German music, there’s
only good music and bad music”—made his punishment, a six-year
ban from conducting in his homeland, all the more poignant
given that Mengleberg dies in 1951 just as the ban ends. This
one-actor play made for remarkable entertainment, especially
being so close to Tanglewood, and to contemporary dilemmas.
Freud’s Last Session, Barrington Stage Company
with previous Mark St. Germain debut productions over the
years at Barrington Stage Company, Freud’s Last Session
posited polemics that sought to make the audience think and
feel. Grounding his plays in some historical fact, St. Germain
introduced a possible chance occurrence, and the clash of
ideas were off and running all the way to an off-Broadway
run. The invented metaphysical visit between atheist Freud
and devout Catholic C.S. Lewis stayed with you both intellectually
and emotionally long after the stage lights darkened, making
the possible plausible.
A Christmas Carol, the New York State Theatre Institute
venerable classic A Christmas Carol showed the venerable
New York State Theatre Institute at its best: stripped down
to the bare bones production featuring lots of children and
focused on the story and the acting.
Annie Get Your Gun, Park Playhouse
best rebooting of a local theater institution, this thoughtful
production was one of the better ones in Park Playhouse’s
venerated 21-year history, and Annie Get Your Gun showed
the value of rebooting leadership by creating one of the best
community theater free outdoor productions in the region.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
T. Charles Erickson
Performances of 2010
Christopher Fitzgerald, Bryce Pinkham, David Turner, David
Costabile, Graham Rowat, Jeremy Shamos , Josh Griesetti, Chivas
Michael , Paul Castree, Zackary Grady, Adam Lerman, Jon Patrick
Walker, Joe Aaron Reid, and Kevin Cahoon; cast of A Funny
Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Williamstown Theatre
John Douglas Thompson, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, The
Life and Death of Richard III, Shakespeare and
3. Christopher Innvar, John Proctor, The Crucible,
Barrington Stage Company
Tod Randolph, various characters, Blue Moons, StageWorks/Hudson
5. Jonathan Epstein, various characters, Blue Moons,
Mark H. Dold, C.S. Lewis, Freud’s Last Session, Barrington
7. Rocco Sisto, Octavio in The Taster, Shakespeare
8. Angela Rauscher, Aphra Bein in Or, Stageworks/Hudson
9. Campbell Scott, Stage Manager in Our Town, Williamstown
10. Bethany Caputo, Emily Webb in Our Town, Walking
the Dog Theater