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|A CurtainUp Review
By Jenny Sandman
The show, based on character improvisations derived from audience suggestions, is different every night. The evening begins with four ideas of characters that the four main actors (Mike Durkin, Shaundra Noll, Laura Livingston, and Alison Blanche Mayer) have developed on their own. The narrator (really, a facilitator of sorts), Dan Mahoney, "interviews" these characters and goads the audience into providing ideas and direction. The actors develop their new characters on the spot, which leads to further character exploration. Eventually, each actor plays two distinctly different characters.
At intermission, Mahoney solicits a location from the audience. The "sceneographers" (William Cefalo and Natalie Ellis) set up the stage using a bank of random props. The second half of the play pulls all eight of the characters together into a story, based on their relationships. Mahoney provides the story's structure. He also leads the character monologues and interactions.
With a responsive audience, it's a great show. It might be even better without the narrator, at least in the second half. The actors are obviously talented enough to just run wild.
Exercises in improvisation are always fun to watch, especially if the actors are comfortable doing it. This being the case here, this is an entertaining way to spend a Sunday evening -- and at $12 a ticket not one to take a big bite out of your wallet. Mahoney is a personable guy, able to coax answers out of reluctant audiences.
A caveat: Bring your most outgoing friends, for, ultimately, the personality of the audience will determine the personality of the play.
For a review of a previous of the company's productions go here.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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