Category Archives: Brava

We Feel Harry’s Pain and Depression Acutely in “Harry’s Christmas” At Tri-C East

We Feel Harry’s Pain and Depression Acutely in “Harry’s Christmas” At Tri-C East
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

The Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) Eastern Campus Theatre Arts Department production of the one-man show “Harry’s Christmas” by Steven Berkhoff, now at the Tri-C East Studio Theatre, is a study in depression and anxiety. “Harry’s Christmas” is powerfully, deeply expressed through the rantings of an alcoholic, pill-addicted man so sad and unhinged that the voice of reason in his head is being slowly drowned out.

Single, forty-year-old Harry Glebe (Allen Branstein), alone in his flat somewhere in England, is counting down the days until Christmas. Unfortunately, the tree is a little light on Christmas cards as decorations and Harry is beginning to get desperate to feel less lonely and unpopular. “Christmas is like an avalanche coming,” he moans.

In one moment he’s decrying the type of person who sends out bunches of Christmas cards as a person who prepares for “war or an obstacle course,” and the next he’s jumping up and down, running maniacally to receive a seventh Christmas card.

But with Harry, any happiness is short-lived. Even a phone conversation with his mother or a friend with whom he’s been out of touch provokes tremendous social anxiety, which provokes feelings of worthlessness, with which Harry copes by downing more and more alcohol and pills. “My whole body feels like one giant verruca,” he complains.

At first, his inner, judgmental voice – possibly his conscience, or that of a former therapist – is confident and even a bit bullying, calling him a “frightened little worm,” or telling him to “make an effort, extend a hand and be brave.” But during the five days in which the play takes place, Harry gives in to his anxiety and his growing addictions, and this inner voice falls silent as Harry seeks to eliminate his pain completely and descend into fantasy.

Branstein’s range is wide, from being giddy at the receipt of a Christmas card to being awash in sadness, holding an imaginary woman and pouting, “This space to let.” He capably shows us Harry’s brief manic periods, his many depressed periods, and his confident inner voice, switching emotions quickly and maintaining each distinct voice.

Director Brian Zoldessy has mined the script for Harry’s many changes of dynamic and voice while maintaining a core personality for Harry that is unmistakably one depressed man. Set Designers Marcus Dana and Connie Hecker have created a set that surrounds poor Harry with dozens of happy Christmas cards and good wishes, presumably from years past, while Harry’s reality reflects his living room containing a sad little Christmas tree, minimal furniture and a phone, a TV and radio, but mostly four pill bottles and five bottles of alcohol scattered around.

“Harry’s Christmas” is one most of us don’t like to think about, the Christmas endured by the sad, the lonely, the depressed. In Zoldessy and Branstein’s capable hands, the “desperately sad” man in “Harry’s Christmas” is real and we feel his pain acutely.

“Harry’s Christmas” plays through December 16, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Free parking is available in the B lot during performances, near the entrance to the Liberal Arts/ Performing Arts building. For tickets or more information, call (216) 987-2438 or visit www.tri-c.edu/easttheatre. There are mature themes and language, alcohol and drug use.

**Edited on 12/10 to include Connie Hecker as one of the scenic designers. -mp

The World Premiere of “A Carol for Cleveland” at Cleveland Play House A Touching Postcard from Cleveland

The World Premiere of “A Carol for Cleveland” at Cleveland Play House A Touching Postcard from Cleveland
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

The World Premiere Cleveland Play House production of “A Carol for Cleveland” by Eric Coble based on the novella by mystery author Les Roberts, is a touching postcard from the gritty side of 1970s Cleveland at Christmastime, with a few clever nods to Dickens. “A Carol for Cleveland” will leave a lump in your throat.

When steelworker Ed Podolak (Charles Kartali) steps off the bus from Western Pennsylvania, where he’s left his wife, Diane (Anjanette Hall) and two kids while searching for work, his journey has an inauspicious beginning as he immediately slips on black ice and ends up flat on his back. His reaction to the event, however, portends a happy ending, as the narrator, This Guy (Stephen Spencer) notes: “Ed Podolak got back up.”

Not that life will be easy for Ed Podolak – this modern-day Scrooge looks for work but tends to think he’s wasting his time living off pumpernickel and peanut butter and that he might as well keep leaving his family behind and struggle alone. Back in the 70s, among the colorful cast of characters Ed meets while staying in one of Cleveland’s seediest hotels is an old road dog friend of Ed’s named Jake Wilkins (Robert Ellis), who stops in to the seedy hotel just long enough to rob it. Through a series of 60s flashbacks, we see happier Christmases past, when Ed meets his wife, attends parties with friends, or finds out he will be a father.

When Ed, at his lowest point, is estranged from his family and desperate enough to steal from a Salvation Army kettle at Public Square, he is fortunate to meet a perceptive kid named Charlie Torbic (Elliot Lockshine) who notices his transgression. Along with Charlie’s mother, Helen (Lena Kaminsky) and father, Steve (Ellis, in a dual role), Charlie and family take Ed in for the evening, feed him and try to help him find his way back.

Kartali is perfectly cast as Ed, the working man who makes questionable financial and personal decisions. Hall is sweet and effervescent as Diane, becoming exasperated with Ed’s pride. Ellis brings humor, versatility and believability to his roles as Jake and Steve, and Kaminsky is wonderfully trusting and kind as Helen.

Director Laura Kepley takes us on the journey of a desperate man who needs to find his way home, and she does so handily, with a winning cast and heartwarming script. Set Designer Antje Ellermann’s crowning jewels are the many screens showing projected scenes of Cleveland with animated but realistic snow falling that find the beauty in the stark, cold landscape. Some set pieces are simple – a couch, a chair – and others are clever, revolving set pieces such as those used in Ed Podolak’s seedy hotel.

“A Carol for Cleveland” has all the right elements to be a holiday success: a solid, gritty, and genuinely funny script from the minds of two of Cleveland’s most talented writers and a touching, family-friendly storyline.

“A Carol for Cleveland” runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, December 13th at 1:30 p.m. and Thursday, December 20th at 7:30 p.m. through December 23rd in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. For tickets, call (216) 241-6000 or (866)546-1353 or visit www.playhousesquare.org.

“Wonder of the World” at River Street Playhouse is Lindsay-Abaire’s Signature Wacky

“Wonder of the World” at River Street Playhouse is Lindsay-Abaire’s Signature Wacky
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre’s production of “Wonder of the World” by David Lindsay-Abaire is a dark comedy with Lindsay-Abaire’s signature wackiness. The first act is more accessible than, say, his “Kimberly Akimbo,” as the characters seem like our neighbors or friends, but the second act drags.

When we meet wide-eyed Cass Harris (Kacey Shapiro), she is hurriedly packing to leave her stilted, neurotic husband Kip Harris (Jerry Schaber). She has discovered his secret sexual turn-on and, disgusted, she wants nothing more to do with him. She boards a bus for Niagara Falls, determined to cross off dozens of items on her bucket list. Cass befriends the suicidal and alcoholic Lois Coleman (Catherine Remick), who confesses she is planning to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Cass convinces Lois to be her roommate and do some sightseeing first, and they encounter widower Captain Mike (Don Knepper), who helms the famous Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat. They also encounter Karla (Kathy McPeak) and Glen (Mark DePompei) an inept pair of private investigators hired by Kip to track Cass down. Along the way, they meet a series of five sisters: a sightseer, three waitresses and a clown therapist, all played in drag by the brave David Malinowski.

Shapiro is bouncy and bubbly as Cass, crossing into manic. Schaber plays Kip as a sad, scared, secretive man. Remick’s portrayal of Lois seems jaded and tough, but turns out to be thoroughly romantic at heart. The supporting cast does a fine job, with special note of Knepper as the sweet, hopeful Captain Mike and Malinowski, who plays the tough clown therapist as believable and just scary enough to keep the cast in a hotel room to sort out their damage playing the Newlywed Game.

Director Yvonne E. Pilarczyk has in “Wonder of the World” an engaging script with clever plot twists, plus a good cast to take on the challenge of Lindsay-Abaire’s unique voice. One wonders if the second act drags due to Lindsay-Abaire’s lack of editing, or if it just needed to be prodded along a little faster. Cast and crew provided all the props for this show, with a simple design of single set pieces like a bed or barrel that came on and off. Most set changes were quick, though there was one set change in particular going into a helicopter scene that was so long that the audience wondered aloud if it was intermission.

“Wonder of the World” is wacky fun with a veneer of darkness thrown in, but as previously stated, the second act drags, perhaps because of the volume of details Lindsay-Abaire has included, or perhaps due to slow pacing.

“Wonder of the World” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through December 15th at the River Street Playhouse, 56 River Street, Chagrin Falls. For tickets, call (440) 247-8955 or visit www.cvlt.org. All tickets to the River Street Playhouse are $10. The play features adult language, adult themes and violence.

Ensemble Theatre’s “Miracle & Wonder” is a Wacky Comedy, Smartly Written

Ensemble Theatre’s “Miracle & Wonder” is a Wacky Comedy, Smartly Written
By Marjorie Preston
“Brava!”
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

Ensemble Theatre’s current production, the World Premiere of “Miracle & Wonder,” by local playwright Jonathan Wilhelm, is a wacky comedy, smartly written and expertly acted, even though some of the explanations for events come late in the game and are a bit lengthy.

“Miracle & Wonder” is a play about a lot of things: two estranged sisters, Noreen (Lissy Gulick) and Ruth (Anne McEvoy), two best friends, Bernadette (Agnes Herrmann) and Malcolm/Polly Esther (Tim Tavcar), family adopted and real, those left behind, and a mysterious stranger Ziv (John Busser), for good measure.

Bernadette, an uber-organized Kindergarten teacher raised by Jehovah’s witnesses, lives happily with her Jesus-loving mother-in-law, Noreen, as her husband travels for business, but things begin to unravel when she finds out that her husband and mother-in-law may not be who they claim to be. As Bernie visits her friend Malcolm, a cross-dressing man who cares for the dying and complains he’s always “stuck with dead people’s shit,” Noreen’s sister, Ruth, estranged for fifty years, is busy looking for Noreen.

Ruth brings in tow a sort of surrogate son, Luke (Curt Arnold), a single dad now raising a precocious teenage daughter, Sarah (Katie Wilkinson), after his partner, Tim, passed. Sarah’s more cautious friend, Aliyah (Lauryn Hobbs), bears witness to the scene that unfolds when a mysterious stranger, Ziv, begins telling parables to this group.

Gulick is perfectly cast as salt-of-the-earth Noreen, and McEvoy is a bold, yet caring Ruth. Their reunion at the end of act one is touching. It is fun to watch Hermann’s exasperation at the straits she’s in as Bernie, or to guess what Busser is up to as he plays Ziv as, well… whoever people think he is.

Director Ian Hinz tames this series of vignettes that twists and turns and eventually ties together. He has brought a very strong cast for the effort in this heady, quirky play that touches on several holiday themes. As set designer, Hinz has created a rustic cabin feel for the opening scene, with pine walls and doors, comfy sofa and Christmas tree trimmings on the floor. Set pieces and changes for the other scenes are simple and still evocative.

“Miracle & Wonder” can be a heady, abstract concept. But it can also be something right in front of us, if we choose to bear witness about the mysteries of life and those along for the journey.

“Miracle & Wonder” runs through December 2, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at 2843 Washington Boulevard, Cleveland Heights. There will not be a performance on Thanksgiving. For tickets, call (216) 321-2930 or visit www.ensemble-theatre.org. The play contains adult language and themes.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at CVLT is Bubbly Family Fare

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at CVLT is Bubbly Family Fare
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

Currently playing at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (CVLT) is the old chestnut “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This production of the musical hams it up and glams it up with innovative choices, costumes and pacing, making it a more lively choice than most “Josephs” out there.

In “Joseph,” the Narrator (Alexandria Marzullo) tells the story of Joseph (John Kolar), given a coat of many colors by his father to show his love for his special boy. When his eleven brothers hear of this, their jealousy moves them to try to kill Joseph and then eventually sell him into slavery.

However, Joseph is an enterprising, educated young man with the power to interpret dreams, and he rises literally from a jail cell to advisor to the Pharoah of Egypt (Jim Marzullo) overnight when he predicts a famine and moves to save the people of Egypt from certain death.

Kolar plays Joseph as a giddy eternal optimist, always looking past problems to a bright future he believes is right around the corner. The beaming Marzullo shows great flexibility in the role of narrator.

Highlights of the varied musical stylings include the Western-infused “One More Angel in Heaven,” the innovative staging and candlelit singing of children in “Close Every Door,” and the toe-tapping, literally go-go “Go, Go, Go Joseph” performed by the cast in psychedelic 60s mini-dresses and go-go boots. This show also incorporates tiny Elvis impersonators in “Pharaoh’s Dream Explained,” offers a sad, French-flavored song, “Those Canaan Days,” (featuring CVLT mainstay Eric Oswald as the funny Simeon) and a calypso number as well.

Director Michael Rogan keeps the show moving quickly – the audience is in and out in an hour and a half – and has chosen a strong Narrator and Joseph in Marzullo and Kolar. Set and Lighting Designer Edmond Wolff has created a vibrant orange set with Egyptian gods, pillars, sphinxes and palm fronds. Several levels allow the audience to see the large cast easily. Jen Justice has choreographed another fun show (and also capably plays Potiphar’s Wife). Harold Crawford’s varied and eye-popping costumes deserve a nod, as well.

Perhaps if “Any Dream Will Do,” you won’t be choosy about which version of “Joseph” you see. But CVLT’s version is above average – quick, bubbly family fare with flair.

“Joseph” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and 16 through Dec. 16 at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, 40 River Street, Chagrin Falls. For tickets, call (440) 247-8955 or visit www.cvlt.org. For tickets to the December 2 matinee only, a benefit for the non-profit organization WomenSafe helping victims of domestic violence, please call (440) 285-3741.

Some Capsule Reviews From 2012!

On “Akarui” at Cleveland Public Theatre:
Capsule Review found at:
http://clevelandtheaterreviews.blogspot.com/2012/05/akarui-cleveland-public-theatre-may-24.html

The World Premiere of “Akarui” is a must-see multi-faceted spectacle filled with music, dance, percussion and otherworldly characters. The spirit world plays a large part in this show, where audiences can watch a dead man search for his killer while at the same time learn about the Afro-Brazilian musical tradition of Candomoblé. This bold, thrilling show about transformation involves the audience at times à la Blue Man Group, while offering captivating character portrayals and gripping, pulsing moments.

On “Hellcab” at Blank Canvas Theatre:
Capsule Review found at:
http://clevelandtheaterreviews.blogspot.com/2012/05/hellcab-blank-canvas-theatre-may-4-20.html

“Hellcab” is a series of vignettes in the life of a beleaguered cabbie (Patrick Ciamacco) trying to be human while driving a Chicago cab at Christmastime. Kern’s fast-paced script delves into the most personal moments of Chicagoans when their guard is down. The great comic timing in “Hellcab” is a testament to both Marc Moritz’s skillful directing and the talents of a stellar cast, including Ciamacco, who learned his role in less than 48 hours. The show is poignant and funny, while it touches on all number of social issues from race, class and ethnicity to mental health and family troubles.

On “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at Beck Center for the Arts:
Capsule Review found at:
http://clevelandtheaterreviews.blogspot.com/2012/05/bloody-bloody-andrew-jackson-beck.html

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is a raunchy, fast-paced rock n’ roll retelling of the life of the seventh U.S. president Andrew Jackson. The stellar cast, in fabulous shoes, play out the story of a Tennessee orphan who went on to break treaties with countless Native American tribes and kill the Spanish settlers in the South before becoming president. Dan Folino as the cocksure rockstar plays the loner who hates “the Spanish, British, Washington aristocrats and Indians” in a musical that unfortunately gets cluttered as it tries to cover too much ground.

Ensemble Theatre’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” Acted Well but Just Scratches the Surface

Ensemble Theatre’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” Acted Well but Just Scratches the Surface
By Marjorie Preston
Correspondent
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

“Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet, the inaugural production at Ensemble Theatre’s new “Second Stage” space, ambitiously tries to cover kinky sex, lesbianism, molestation, premature ejaculation, living together, the power struggle between the sexes, pornography, bestiality, and gender stereotypes, but understandably, in just over an hour, only pursues these topics shallowly. The funny and realistic script seems to have a short attention span, jumping quickly from one subject to another in pursuit of completely covering the entire territory of sexual relations.

It’s 1976 Chicago as we meet the cast of “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” through a series of vignettes about sex. Bernie Litko (Tyler Whidden) is a Chicago lothario who loves to discuss his sexual exploits with his friend Danny Shapiro (Mitch Rose). Danny is a bit more classy and open-minded, but still seems to follow Bernie’s lead and advice about the opposite sex. Danny’s girlfriend, Deborah Soloman (Layla Schwartz) is a commercial artist looking for true love, while her roommate, Kindergarten teacher Joan Webber (Katie Nabors), trusts more in her friends than her suitors.

Joan’s character, for her part, critiques everything Deborah does and even tells her she feels Deborah’s relationship with Danny will only last two months. Despite this foreshadowing, Deborah tries her best to make it work with Danny, and when it does not, at least one person in the play has learned a lesson about the dynamic between men and women.

The actors in Ensemble’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” are quite good – Whidden’s timing in particular is very natural as he slings his bull as the overconfident Bernie. The best writing is essentially Mamet’s monologues: when Bernie spins out of control, decrying the ERA or complaining about the quality of pornography, when Danny explains how Bernie calmed Danny down at a time when he was frustrated, or when Joan addresses two students who are caught “playing doctor.”

Director Ian Hinz keeps the action of his talented cast moving with quick scene changes, absolutely essential to maintaining the momentum of the choppy script. The set is minimal as well in this new black box 39-seater, offering simple chairs, theater cubes, a bar, and a hint of a bed to handle all the scenes.

Mamet’s fast-paced scenes don’t delve far into the subjects they discuss – he hits and runs with realistic seventies lingo and lots of characteristic swearing, then breaks the tension, pushes us away, and moves on to another topic. “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” doesn’t come off as dated; it just seems to be covering too much ground.

“Sexual Perversity in Chicago” runs through November 3, Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. at 2843 Washington Boulevard, Cleveland Heights. For tickets, call (216) 321-2930 or visit www.ensemble-theatre.org. The play contains adult language and themes.

Dobama Theatre’s “A Bright New Boise” Takes on Religion with Equal Parts Comedy and Realism

Dobama Theatre’s “A Bright New Boise” Takes on Religion with Equal Parts Comedy and Realism
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

Dobama Theatre’s current production, “A Bright New Boise,” by Samuel D. Hunter, confronts religion’s effect on each of the characters working at a Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho. Religion may be a coping mechanism, but in this drama that is also heavily comic, it is an escape from the harsh realities of life.

Newcomer to Boise, Will (Tom Woodward), hopes to start a new life and leave behind a church scandal in the Coeur d’Alene area as he seeks out the son put up for adoption against his wishes over a decade ago. Will finds his son, no longer named William, but now called Alex (Andrew Deike), and working in a Hobby Lobby with the angry Leroy (Brian Devers), another teen being raised in the same home as Alex. Will also encounters his new boss, hard-working, chatty, frustrated Pauline (Kristy Kruz), and his shy bookworm coworker Anna (Kim Krane).

Samuel D. Hunter paints with a broad brush full of cliches here. Of course, the agnostic Pauline is self-absorbed and more interested in consumer culture than her soul. Of course, the Lutheran Anna is meek and unassuming. Of course the evangelical Will is convinced he’s right to the exclusion of facts from the outside world. And that leaves confused, distrustful teenage boys Alex and Leroy unclear who to turn to, sensitive Alex having panic attacks regularly and Leroy, a bright art school student working in a retail store while raging against consumerism.

But the script is also deeply funny: in act two, becoming achingly personal in its treatment of religion, as Will admits out loud the reason he clings to his faith: to keep from confronting the realizations that he has abandoned his kid and works at a Hobby Lobby.

Director Nathan Motta has a smart script the actors can sink their teeth into, and they do, from the very first scene where the ever-funny Kruz, as the hiring manager, does more talking than interviewing but still manages to note the one inconsistency in Woodward’s resume, and continuing on to stilted conversations in scenes between Woodward and Deike, who as Alex, overloads easily. Deike plays him as fevered, squirrely, and nihilistic.

Scenic Designer Connie Hecker has decorated a Hobby Lobby break room with the requisite employee information board and inspirational posters to go with the TV and soda machine. Lighting Designer Marcus Dana’s industrial fluorescent lighting, flickering between scenes, adds the perfect touch to this tidy, mundane office setting. The break room set crumbles away at its edge into a parking lot set with a light pole in a large cement block.

The cast of “A Bright New Boise” rises to the occasion and delivers a thoroughly engrossing, thought-provoking and funny evening of theater.

“A Bright New Boise” plays at Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road in the West Wing of the Cleveland Heights Main Library, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through November 18. Tickets are available at www.dobama.org or by calling (216) 932-3396. The play contains adult language and situations.

Insanity Intrigues in River Street Playhouse’s Uniquely Twisted “Veronica’s Room”

Insanity Intrigues in River Street Playhouse’s Uniquely Twisted “Veronica’s Room”
By Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/brava

The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre’s production of “Veronica’s Room” by Ira Levin, now at the River Street Playhouse, is a thriller that takes audiences on a bumpy ride through a world of insanity.

In a Massachusetts mansion in the year 1973, two elderly Irish caretakers of an estate have brought a young girl (Natalie Dolezal) on a date with a young man (Brendon Berns) to see a painting in the room of a girl said to have passed away of tuberculosis in 1935. Once the girl is in their home, the woman (Lisa Freebairn-Tarr) and man (Craig Gifford) tell the girl that she bears a striking resemblance to Veronica (the girl they say passed away). But “Don’t you worry,” says the woman, “Everything is safe.” The man adds, “It’ll be a breeze.”

They ask her help in easing the guilt of Veronica’s sister, Sissy, who they say is slipping into dementia as a result of terminal cancer. The couple tell the young girl that if she would just pretend to be Veronica and have a conversation with Sissy, she can make her last days more peaceful. However, the caretakers are not who they claim to be. Veronica is alive, and she is insanely murderous. In the meantime, the girl begins to question her own sanity.

Freebairn-Tarr is perfectly creepy as the woman, and her distant eyes bring to mind Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” when she reveals herself to be something other than an Irish caretaker. Dolezal plays sweet naif as a counterpoint and watching her question her sanity is disturbing and compelling. Berns switches easily from skeptical love interest to cold and calculating. Gifford ‘s Irish accent is a miss, but he is otherwise believable in his role.

Director/Producer Laurel Bryant has been drawn to this play for years and her passion for the piece shows. The audience may think they’re getting a quaint Massachusetts drama and instead is jolted into a dark thriller by the author of “Stepford Wives” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” Technical Director Edmond Wolff’s set is a lovely country mansion complete with antique wooden furniture and Victrola.

“Veronica’s Room” is sure to keep you guessing and may even make you squirm as you try to figure out which, if any, of the characters is sane. The play itself, and everyone in it, appear to spiral into madness – how perfect for the Halloween season.

“Veronica’s Room” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through November 10th at the River Street Playhouse, 56 River Street, Chagrin Falls. For tickets, call (440) 247-8955 or visit www.cvlt.org. All tickets to the River Street Playhouse are $10. The play features violence, adult language and content.

“Modern Terrorism” at Second Stage Theatre Funny, Touching and Slightly Disturbing

Marjorie Preston
Brava!
www.marjoriepreston.com/category/brava

“Modern Terrorism,” the current offering at Second Stage Theatre in New York, NY, is a dark comedy exploring the lives of three aspiring terrorists, Rahim (Utkarsh Ambudkar), Qala (William Jackson Harper) and Yalda (Nitya Vidyasagar) and their neighbor, Jerome (Steven Boyer).

The play shows the human foibles of the crew in a failed attempt to detonate a crotch bomb at the Empire State Building. “Modern Terrorism” is by turns laugh-out-loud funny, touching and slightly disturbing in its matter-of-fact presentation of several days in the lives of the terrorists next door.