Theater in this town is like water simmering: there it is, whispering and bubbling, until you turn away and it comes to a vigorous boil. Here is what a city's theater looks like when it's over a hot flame:
This Sunday, at 2:00PM, Perishable Theatre hosts LaVoce: Theatre That Speaks, a new company "that gives voice to works that promote social change by creating dialogue." Their first show in Providence is Madeleine George's The Most Massive Woman Wins. (This video is particularly engaging, in part for the sensitive interpretation of the lines, in part for the eerily numinous glow of the actresses in the scene's background, in part for the obvious efforts of the cinematographer not to cry.) George's biography reads like a bildungsroman in progress; it should embolden even the most reluctant theatre-goer or--better still--the most trepidant would-be writer.
On Monday the 12th, at 7:00PM, Megan Sandberg-Zakian directs a reading of Christina Anderson's new play Blacktop Sky, at the Black Rep. This is exciting for several reasons. First, it's a reading of a new play by a young artist who seems primed (not destined, but fully prepared) for something great. Second, tickets are just 5 freakin bucks--though, if you're feeling flush, you can always donate more. And third, it's a sign of the Black Rep theater's resilience. Reports of its demise were, we hope, greatly exaggerated.
Next week both 2nd Story Theatre and the Gamm Theatre begin previews for their first shows of 2009. 2nd Story is showing Ben Hecht's screwball comedy The Front Page, a scheduling change after recent events sort of took all the irreverent fun out of Death of a Salesman. (It's an artistic decision that provokes the question, When is relevant too relevant?) Previews are next Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00, and the show runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through February 15th.
Gamm is going ahead with Clifford Odets's depression-era classic, Awake and Sing! Odets is known as a strident voice for the underdog, but his work is also idiosyncratic and humane. Gamm previews the show next weekend (January 15th, 16th, and 17th at 8:00; Sunday, January 18th at 7:00.) and opens it officially on Thursday the 22nd. Here's the calendar of performances.