Friday, June 19, 2009

On the Verge of Nora Theatre Company

I applaude the Nora Theatre Company for attempting difficult, literary scripts that many small theatres their size would not touch. Examples include the rarely produced We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay by Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo. Their recent production of Eric Overmeyer's On the Verge falls under the rarely produced category, but fails to deliver a well-produced production. The major problem with the production is Director Wesley Savick's over-conceptualization of a piece that needs less concept and more attention to story-telling.

The three actresses who portray the time-traveling scientists that bridge the time/space continuum range from the mediocre to bad at any given moment in the play. Deanna Dunmyer delivers an over-the-top Lady Macbeth performance in a piece that calls for the subtlety of Chekhov. Alicia Kahn as Fanny delivers a soap operatic performance as the female explorer who sells out to the socially-predicated feminine roles of the 1960s. Only Anna Waldron, as the youngest and most liberated female explorer, displays any concept of attachment with the other actors or connection to the words. I can't help but feel that this director decided upon a concept which included constant pantomime by the performers thus neglecting the opportunity for the performers to connect with the words or character and deliver a performance that is more akinto modern dance than theatre. Likewise, Barlow Adamson's performance as the numerous males encountered by these female explorers was nothing less than uncomfortable. On the Verge as produced by the Nora Theatre Company and directed by Wesley Savick is nothing less than an extraordinary play given a less than stellar production by a company that keeps reproducing lesser-staged productions badly. I can't help but feel that the company is "on the verge" of producing something spectacular. But, as long as they stick to directors who employ bubble machines to highlight the apex of the play, the theatre company has much to learn bout producing quality work for dedicated theatre patrons. For those who are just looking for a good time in Central Square, I suggest you attend the Middle East as it is far more likely to present a well-rehearsed act rather than the shabby presentations of the Nora Theatre Company.

Here's hoping their new space at Central Square Theatre will open up new posibilities for them as seems the case for their up-coming season.

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