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The Arties draw nigh, Shakespeare at New Phoenix, and a Pulitzer winning drama at Road Less Traveled

Sara Kow-Falcone, Rosa Fernandez, Anthony Alcocer, David Hayes, and Victoria Perez
Lovin' Spoonful
The Arties draw nigh, Shakespeare at New Phoenix, and a Pulitzer winning drama at Road Less Traveled


All the eligible shows have opened and the voting is underway for the 25th Annual Artie Awards to be held at 710 Main on Monday, June 1st. Get your wardrobe ready....


Kelli Bocock-Natale lends the playful invention that is her signature to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the New Phoenix Theatre making for a fun evening. She has populated the world of the play with superior talent with the performances of Eric Rawski as Bottom, Maria Droz as Puck, and Jamie Lama and Eliza Vann as Hermia and Helena shining especially brightly.

While Bocock-Natale’s two and a quarter hour romp through the woods with a group of mixed up young lovers is undeniably enjoyable, the material proves to be more elusive than in the case of her rather more satisfying Macbeth and Peter Pan in the same space. From her inserted prologue, a riff from literature and pop culture on the word “dream,” we sense that her vision of the concept, as it relates to Shakespeare’s story, lacks specificity and focus. The script, in fact, is quite pointed, beginning with the threat of death or confinement faced by Hermia if she fails to marry according to her father’s wishes; she flees into the woods with her lover, Lysander, pursued by her suitor Demetrius and the spurned Helena. Here in the woods, these young people fall under the cross fire of Oberon, the king of the fairies, who instructs his servant Puck to reassign the affections of various lovers, including his own queen, Titania. In this dream landscape (beautifully placed among wire and foil trees designed by Paul L. Bostaph) we see the motivations of passion and control collide into hilarious misadventures.

The arbitrary nature of love is a favorite theme of Shakespeare, who takes pains to remind us that the affections of the lovers can wander wildly, and that love itself is a kind of mental trickery. (Remember, too, at the start of R&J, Romeo is obsessed with Rosaline).

This lack of focus and purpose of this production does not diminish the irrepressible pleasure of the play, and is masked by the merriment spread generously all round and a cast that goes full out to deliver the goods. When all is done, we have been bewitched ourselves, and barely notice the gaps. The play runs through May 23.


Descriptions of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful make the play sound like a movie of the week about damaged veterans and drug addiction. It would be as accurate to say that A Streetcar Named Desire is a documentary about domestic abuse. This is a rich and marvelously affecting play that has, under the direction of Scott Behrend, been rendered exquisitely at Road Less Traveled. Uniformly strong performances by Anthony Alcocer, Monish Bhattacharyya, Rosa Fernandez, Jonathan Foreman, David Hayes, Sara Kow-Falcone, and Victoria Pérez relate a compelling story about how our attachments to other people can either rescue or destroy them. It is a mesmerizing work, beautifully designed by Dyan Burlingame (set), John Rickus (light), Katie Menke (sound), and Maura Simmonds-Price (costumes), with an expressionistic waterfall under a vividly lit tree canopy, and can be seen through May 24.