The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings
A CurtainUp Streaming Feature
Summer Stock Streaming Festival
A triptych of plays from the Mint Theater's 2014-2016 Seasons to experience their invaluable work and for the Mint's many fans to revisit : The Fatal Weakness, The New Morality and Women Without Men
By Elyse Sommer
Since the Mint's mission has always been to pull under-produced and under-valued plays out of the theatrical dustbin with true to the original productions, that meant no trims to accommodate current preference for more streamlined theater outings. Thus the plays included in the festival added up to 7 hours of watching time (including the intermissions). Obviously, If I waited to write about this three-play festival until I completely stream through each of the plays on offer, there's not enough time for me to completely stream through all three plays before writing about them, it would be too late for all of you reading this to pop over to the the Mint's festival page to stream any or all yourself.
Fortunately during my many years as Curtainup's critic-in-chief I attended and reviewed all these plays, as well as the many other outstanding Mint productions,. Therefore I'll include links to my reviews when I saw them in 2014, 2015, and 2016 . The production notes of those reviews are the same as for the plays now streamed — except, of course, the dates of the original runs and the venues in which I saw them seated alongside many of the regulars who loved seeing these neglected plays restored to life.
As I mentioned in my review of the first of the Festival's streamed selections, A Fatal Weakness by George Kelly (yes indeed, movie star and Monaco royal was his niece), the Mint's mission of giving neglected plays their due — often courageously avoiding cherry picking from the top of a playwright's oeuvre. Fatal Weakness is a case in point, but given the as usual top drawer staging and performances, it's well worth anyone's streaming time.
Still, with lots of new and old streamed shows to watch and keeping on top of the latest pandemic news, you may want to do some cherry picking at your end. As I said in my July 4th blog, my own favorite was Women Without Men. It's also the shortest of the three. Of course, one advantage of on screen watching is that, like television, you can fast forward, though, if you want as much a sense of being in the theater, I wouldn't recommend that.
Filming a performance for archival purposes can be tricky but all three plays have been captured to make the most of the chance to see the actors really up close but also present the setting as if it were viewed from a seat in the theater. Women without Men had a particularly handsome set, as you can see from the image at the top of this feature. With its all female cast, and directed as it was by a woman it was a nod to the MeToo movement. My one quibble with the whole enterprise is that unlike the commercial streaming services, if you need to interrupt watching a show you can't just click "resume" but must enter your password again.
And so, for details about each play, here are the links to my reviews:
Faal Weakneskness by George Kelly directed by Jesse Marchese
The New Morality by Harold Chapin directed by Jonathan Bank
Women Without Men by Hazel Ellis directed by Jenn Thompson
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