Stagestruck: Woman on the Edge
Feb20

Stagestruck: Woman on the Edge

For a 19th-century male, Henrik Ibsen was quite the feminist. His best-known play, A Doll’s House, ends with one of the theater’s most famous sound effects as his protagonist, Nora Helmer, leaves her stifling marriage with the finality of a slamming door. An equally definitive offstage bang concludes Ibsen’s other great marital drama, Hedda Gabler. While his title character is not at all like Nora, and her final action an even more...

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Thursday to Saturday: Student Voices on Stage at UMass
Feb20

Thursday to Saturday: Student Voices on Stage at UMass

Our Voices Our new president has committed to limiting access to legal abortions, and explicitly said on the campaign trail that there “has to be some form of punishment” for woman who seek them illegally. Vice President Mike Pence, who signed a bill in his home state of Indiana that would require aborted fetuses be given funerals through burial or cremation, has promised to send Roe v. Wade “to the ash heap of history.” And they...

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Stagestruck: Sitting Targets
Feb17

Stagestruck: Sitting Targets

Years ago, when I was living in England, one day the doorbell rang and there stood two painfully clean-cut young men in white dress shirts, narrow ties and pearly smiles. “Hello!” one of them grinned, holding up a serious-looking volume. “My name is Elder Smith, this is Elder Jones, and we would like to share with you this most amazing book.” They were, of course, Mormons, posted to London for their two-year missionary tour of duty....

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Thursday: Hawaiian Dance Celebration at UMass Amherst
Feb06

Thursday: Hawaiian Dance Celebration at UMass Amherst

Mortal Heroes Michael Pili Pang and the Halau Hula Ka No’eau dance studio returns to the Northeast to showcase traditional Hula. The company commemorates its 30th year producing traditional Hawaiian dance, chants, and art. Audiences can expect to be captivated by “exquisitely artistic” and “culturally authentic” Hawaiian dance. The company’s founder Michael Pili Pang, a cultural historian and teacher at the University of Hawai’i at...

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Out of Their Comfort Zones
Feb03

Out of Their Comfort Zones

Two shows this week find performers venturing beyond the usual parameters of their craft. At UMass, students in the music department’s Opera Workshop take on Gilbert and Sullivan, and in Northampton, stage actors meet improvisers in a mashup of scripts and ad libs. On Sunday at the Academy of Music, the Happier Valley Comedy troupe teams up with New Century Theatre actors in Making Up Love, putting a new spin on Happier Valley’s...

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Stagestruck: Identity Crises
Jan31

Stagestruck: Identity Crises

The two shows now playing at Hartford’s rep theaters couldn’t be more different, but they still share some core themes. They are Shakespeare’s rambunctious, large-cast Comedy of Errors, at Hartford Stage, and Dominique Morisseau’s small, intense contemporary drama Sunset Baby, at TheaterWorks. Both run through February 19. What they share, expressed in diametric ways, are a focus on lost or estranged parents and their children, and...

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