[image-1]. Sarah Ruhls lovely poem of a play, a meditation on death and memory, featured the stunning Dahlia Legault in the title role, and new face Dayton Sinkia as an Orpheus ready to search Hell for his lost beloved. Beautifully directed by Karla Hartley, this Stageworks production was as lyrical and elusive as a Chopin ballade. And who needs realism when you can have a doorway that rains?
Shipwrecked! With only three actors and a slew of unlikely props to work with, Gorilla Theatre director Bridget Bean convinced us that we were watching a crowd of news-hungry Londoners, a loving sheepdog, a herd of jellyfish, violent aborigines, the Royal Geographical Society, and a beautiful, submerged paradise. Donald Margulies play makes a thousand demands, and La Bean solved every one. Is there anything she cant do?
[image-2]. Utilizing theater, mime and dance, a Jobsite Theater troupe of five women and four men brought us Albert Einsteins dreamworld wherein time moved backwards, became sticky, became visible, turned in circles, came to an end and split into three alternatives. Staged lovingly by Kari Goetz, this adaptation of Alan Lightmans work was impressionistic and hypnotic, fantastical and graceful.
As Bees in Honey Drown. At its core, Douglas Carter Beanes play is about the American fixation on groundless celebrity. When record producer Alexa offers to turn novelist Eric into a tabloid superstar, he cant dismiss the opportunity. But as played by Heather Krueger, Alexa wasnt what she appeared; and as played by Nick Horan, Eric was surprisingly resilient. Ubiquitous director Karla Hartley put together this Stageworks production. Hard realities rise and fall, but weightless bubbles are forever.
Agnes of God. What can you say about a naïve young nun who secretly has a baby, murders it, and then claims to remember nothing? That she was stunningly impersonated by Dahlia Legault? That she provided an opportunity for Hersha Parady and Eileen Koteles, as a Mother Superior and a court-appointed psychiatrist, to swing at each other like two battered but unbowed prizefighters? Stageworks version of John Pielmeiers play was elemental and shattering. There were better productions, but few as powerful.
[image-3]Forbidden Broadway. The Straz Centers Greatest Hits edition of this perennial New York favorite was a hilarious reminder of whats up, whats down and whats probably immortal in the land of the $200 ticket. Utilizing only four gifted actors Lauren Gemilli, Heather Krueger, Derek Baxter and Justin Lore Gerard Alessandrinis revue showed us everything ridiculous on Broadway from West Side Story to The Lion King: Can you feel the strain tonight/As your deltoids throb? Love it or sue it.
Opus. On Michael Newton Browns elegant set a raised mahogany platform shaped to resemble a violin five classical musicians showed us how chamber music can be created in the midst of willfulness, petulance, sexual feeling, personal ordeals, perfection and mental debility. Michael Hollingers play was consistently surprising and the American Stage production was tiptop.
Mindgame. Hooray for the return of Brian Shea! And Hooray to Jobsite Theater for bringing us this brain-twisting puzzler of a psychological thriller! David M. Jenkins directed Anthony Horowitzs unusually intelligent comedy with abandon. And nothing was as it seemed.
And thats it. Have a great 2011. And may all your dramas be romantic comedies.