Break a Plate!

alcestis_stillWow. I’ve just returned from a most marvellous evening, and feel compelled to recommend what I saw to those in the area who can get to see it. You’ve possibly heard/read me talk about Nancy Keystone’s wonderful work in collaboration with her Critical Mass Performance Group before (e.g. see here and here). I probably used a lot of superlatives while doing so. Well here I go again. Nancy and the CMPG are doing a remarkably lively, clever, poignant (and downright funny in all the right places) production of their treatment of the Euripedes play Alcestis at the Boston Court Theater in Pasadena. I strongly recommend it for a thought-provoking and very moving evening out. It is a meditation on life and death that is powerfully done, and it is one of the best evenings of theatre I’ve had for a while. It’s one of the classic Greek plays we’re talking about here, but it is not a bunch of people standing around in togas (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) fretting. It is contemporary, on the face of it, timeless in another sense. (Photo is from the Boston Court Theater site.)

It is always impossible to describe Nancy’s work, because it is such a powerfully original combination of evocative motion, spoken word, and other sights and sounds. It is theatre at its best in the sense that you sort of just have to go and experience it in the moment – it mostly defies description. On the line that denotes the spectrum from what you might think of as traditional theater on one extreme, and a dance performance on the other, one of Nancy’s (plus CMPG) full length pieces will be anywhere in between, probably moving between the extremes fluidly and creatively throughout the performance, so you are always in for a treat in terms of creativity and freshness of approach. This is unlike any classical Greek play you’ll have ever seen!

Now do be aware that the last week of the show’s run is next week (last day the 28th July), so make sure not to miss it! (Video preview here on vimeo – I recommend skipping it if you already know you are going so that you can have everything wash over your afresh. See also the Theater’s blog post on the excellent audience participation piece in the lobby on the subject of “Before I die, I want to…”.)

Remember – last day is on July 28th. Go!

-cvj

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