Tag Archives: broadway

Massacre (Sing to Your Children)

Massacre (Sing to Your Children) at the Rattlestick.

You won’t find a more alarming, provocative, startling start to a play, off-Broadway or on- than the assault on the audience in Massacre (Sing to Your Children.) As music blares and lights flash, six characters in outlandish masks burst through a door into a grim slaughterhouse. They are all soaked in blood. A seventh rolls in through a chute.

They’re wild, adrenaline-drunk, frenzied in the aftermath of what they’ve just done—killed a man, Joe. Or at least they hope they have killed him. Sure they hacked him with scimitars, poked him with a pitchfork, pierced him with an icepick, and they all wear gallons of his blood. Still, there’s a fear that they might not have completed the job. Why?

It seems that this character, Joe, is some sort of supernaturally evil being who has taken over their small New England town. With his arrival, crops have withered, births have ceased, children have turned against their parents, people disappear, and all live in fear. At least that’s what this crew of locals—two auto mechanics, a teacher, a housewife, a psychic, a fry cook and a drifter—believe. The info about Joe is revealed in dribs and drabs in the first act. Action is non-stop–and so is the talk, as each of the characters  reveals something about themselves. Until an ominous pounding on the door brings the first act to a close.

Massacre (Sing to Your Children) at the Rattlestick

The second act brings shocks and revelations as all comes undone. Unfortunately, by this time the action has slowed to a crawl and twists and turns become formulaic.

Massacre was written by Jose Rivera and directed by Brian Mertes. The repertory cast does an excellent job in a difficult piece. Massacre (Sing to Your Children) is at the Rattlestick until May 12

Venus in Fur Crackles

Venus in Fur Poster

Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda star

Venus i Fur Crackles on Broadway

You know what happens when you’re in a dark, cold, dry room and you rub a fat long-haired cat the wrong way? Right: sparks fly. And that’s just what happens in Venus in Fur at the Lyceum. The play opens as thunder and lightning boom and flash on a dark stage. What follows is an hour and a half of non-stop building sexual tension between Vonda (Nina Arianda) and Thomas (Hugh Dancy). Just the two of them, a bag full of costumes dragged in by Vonda, a few pieces of furniture and a witty, edgy script full of twists and turns.With it’s play-within-a-play structure and 19th century shadow story, the play is quite Tom-Stoppard-esque. The plot is convoluted, the characters exchange roles, and, in the end, a bit more clarity would have been appreciated. But, when leaving the theater everyone can be hard exclaiming the same thing: Nina Arianda! She is a force of nature. Beguiling. Sexy. Dangerous. Eccentric. Endearing. As electric as the lightning that flashes throughout the show. Hugh Dancy does a great job just to keep up with her. Don’t miss it!

Congratulations to Nina Arianda, just nominated for a Best Actress Tony! And David Ives, Best Playwright nominee for Venus in Fur.

Avi Sher & Dancers Sparkle at Ailey Center

 

With no lavish sets, no frilly costumes or tutus, and mostly contemporary music,  Avi Sher & Dancers bring ballet into the 21st century. The result is pure power of dance stripped of accessories. It’s a bold move to make the choreography and the dancers carry all the weight, but this troupe pulls it off. Sher, American born, but Isreal-raised presented a handful of sharp, crisp, finely crafted dancers at the Alvin Ailey Center in early April.  The dancers, including Herman Cornejo from American Ballet Theatre and and Misa Kuranaga from the Boston Ballet, proved up to the task and possessed the stage with their confident performances.

Avi Sher & Dancers was founded in August 2008 with a mission of building new audiences for neoclassical and contemporary ballet by presenting top quality dancers and new works in small, affordable venues, often with live music. They are succeeding in a big way.