Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cool Nights; Drying Leaves; Theater Resumes...'s Fall in Providence.

I didn't see much theater this summer--just Hugging the Shoulder (presented by Theater of Thought) and Noises Off (present by Contemporary Theater Company). As I wrote in Motif, Hugging the Shoulder is a crude show, both vulgar and unsophisticated, though not, by extension, unenjoyable. The performance by ToT, in a crumbling parking lot behind Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, treated the subject of infection and decay with a violent current, a sort of moral cautery. But the show, and our reaction to it, was all reflex and no reflection. Theater of Thought should be commended for bringing contemporary and unsettling theater to Providence and for keeping audiences on their toes through strident staging. They have great energy (which is not meant to be euphemistic: energy matters); now they need great scripts.

Striving for a completely different breed of theater experience, the Contemporary Theater Company brought Nosies Off, the riotous farce about theater, to URI's Kingston campus in late July. The show is not particularly contemporary (certainly not compared with Hugging the Shoulder, which was first produced at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2006) but the performance was immediate and gratifying.

This weekend brings previews to both Trinity Rep and Gamm Theatre. Trinity is showing Cabaret; Gamm is starting its season with Much Ado About Nothing, which they will perform in repertory with another play you may have heard of, Romeo and Juliet (opening September 22). Second Story begins its season later this month with the one-man show I Am My Own Wife. And Elemental Theatre Collective opens Amadeus on November 5.

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