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Sorrow At The Heart: Three Brothers Theatre’s “Spring Awakening”

Gwen was not a fan of Spring Awakening –– and she readily admitted that it was her fault, not the show. She’d burned out on the musical, ever since its 2006 Broadway production caught fire among the teen theatre set, with endless repetitions of its inanely pop-punk score dredged up at more cabarets than she could count. The lyrics were poetic enough on their surface that no one Gwen knew had needed to dig any deeper into them to find meaning. An angsty screed against uncaring parents, for a generation slowly acclimating to an uncaring world. A string of regional productions after performance rights were released in 2011, while the tide of interest was still high, had afforded her numerous opportunities to see a gaggle of Wendlas and Melchiors partake in enough hayloft intimacy to make the cast of Equus blush.

Gwen was, to put it mildly, over it.

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Living Off Kilter: Interrobang Theatre Project’s “Out Of Love”

“I’m loving this trend happening now,” Gwen said, as they walked out of the door of Rivendell’s cozy space on Ridge Avenue. Inside, the crowds were still mingling after the performance of Interrobang’s U.S. premiere of Out Of Love, a refreshingly honest and defiantly Welsh play by Elinor Cook.

“Which trend?” Eleanor asked, reading the program as they walked. “Abstract scenic design? I’m certainly loving that.”

“Wasn’t it weird?” Dania asked. She recalled Sotirios Livaditis’ stark, slanted set –– an open but textured canvas, frame included, on which the story could be painted in rich, full strokes. “I kept wondering if they were going to fall off the side of it. It can’t be easy to focus when the whole floor is tilted.”

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The World On Fire: Haven Theatre’s “The Total Bent”

Compared to the raucous live performances throughout the evening, Dania couldn’t help but feel the slightest tinge of letdown when the pre-recorded 1960s hits came through the speakers as the house lights rose. She longed for a version of the songs with the same raw power as the songs in The Total Bent had possessed –– but admitted to herself that perhaps that was impossible to capture on record.

“What a gutpunch,” Dania said, glancing up to the illuminated cross at centerstage. Around the stage, musicians were just packing up their instruments, scattered around the stage. Only the two keyboard players –– Frederick Harris and Jermaine Hill –– were listed as members of the cast, but it has been difficult to divorce the remaining quartet of band members from the narrative.

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Book By Its Cover: Broken Nose Theatre’s “Plainclothes”

“What is this new trend of plays with projected title cards?” Dania asked, pointing at the projected footage of Chicago. Moments before the bows, the words “THE END” had flashed onto the screen –– complimenting the projected “PLAINCLOTHES” that had followed the first scene in the play.

“Is it a trend?” Gwen asked. “In The Canyon did that, but I can’t think of another.”

Indecent had a title projection. So did Hir last summer.”

“I believe Indecent‘s projections are in the script.”

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