In Praise of Community Theater (and Halloween)
by Donna Johns
BOLLI recently hosted Celia Couture for a noontime talk. Celia is an esteemed regional theater director, and she gave an interesting talk on the pleasures and risks of presenting edgy, thought-provoking plays to community theater audiences. That got me thinking about which local groups were tackling challenging material this fall. Here’s a short list of plays you might want to check out this fall.
Hovey Players in Waltham is presenting Ideation by Aaron Loeb. A group of consultants are pulled together for a top secret assignment. At first, it looks like just another day at the office. Ground rules like “no powerpoint” are scribbled on a white board. But as their instructions come in from the boss, it becomes obvious that they are being tasked with finding a way to dispose of a million or more dead bodies. Are they being sucked in to planning a holocaust? And do they care? Performances-November 23, 24, 30, December 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8PM and December 2 at 2pm Click the Hovey link above for more information.
The Arlington Friends of the Drama takes an off kilter look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard is a Tony Award winning play described as an absurdist tale of fate and free will. The language is luscious as the audience is treated to a retelling of Hamlet from two minor characters’ points of view. This clip with Benedict Cumberbatch will give you a sense of Stoppard’s special brand of lunacy. Performances November 30 – December 9, 2018. Click the Arlington Friends link above for ticket information.
Tcan Center for Arts in Natick tackles that age old question: what is my purpose in life? Princeton, a new college graduate, moves to Avenue Q and learns a lot about life from his neighbors. In case you didn’t know, this entire tale is told by puppets. Called “Sesame Street for adults,” Avenue Q is a Tony award winning musical which has a lot to think about. Check out this clip of “Everyone’s a Little Racist” for a taste of the fun. Performances are November 9,10,11,15,16,17,18 2018. Click on tcan above for more information.
For all you scientists out there…check out the Concord Players production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Thomasina, a precocious thirteen year-old, asks her tutor why jam mixed into rice pudding can never be unstirred? The play unfolds from that not so simple question as Stoppard weaves tales past and present together with dollops of physics, mathematics, sex and romantic poetry. Here’s a sampler from Yale Repertory Theater. Performances are November 2-17. Click on Concord Players above for more information.
And here’s the best part: all four of these fascinating plays can be seen for as little as $80. Before you order tickets, check out Goldstar. They frequently offer community theater tickets at half price. For example, right now, the Arlington Friends of the Drama tickets for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are being offered for $10. Just type “community theater” in the Goldstar search box to see all the choices.
If theater is not your thing, Goldstar can be a great resource for fun Halloween activities. Among their offerings are discounted tickets for a HalloWeekend Pub Crawl at the Hard Rock Cafe, a Ghost Tour in Harvard Square, and a Haunted Speakeasy at Bull Mansion New American Bistro in Worcester.
Autumn is, indeed, a wonderful season for BOLLI After Dark!
Donna Johns is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater and new BOLLI member. She now has two fantastic faux knees…which set off the metal detectors at Fenway Park.