Chapel Street Players http://chapelstreetplayers.org /// Your Ticket to Great Theater Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:53:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 72764603 UseMeForHeadline http://chapelstreetplayers.org/845/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/845/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:59:05 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=845


Chapel Street’s ‘The Price:’ Cathartic coming to grips with the past
Holly Quinn, DelawareOnline

Go expecting a great evening and I think you’ll find that The Price is right.ANTHONY RENALDI,

The post UseMeForHeadline appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>

The post UseMeForHeadline appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://chapelstreetplayers.org/845/feed/ 0 845
(A. Renaldi) The Price Is Right https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2018/02/15/the-price-is-right/ https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2018/02/15/the-price-is-right/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:04:23 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2606 The Price, a drama by Arthur Miller that premiered on Broadway in 1968, was nominated for two Tony Awards, and revived four times, came to the Chapel Street Players stage Friday. Director Ray Barto (The Fantasticks) is at the helm of this latest CSP production that stars: Dan Tucker,

The post (A. Renaldi) The Price Is Right appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
The Price, a drama by Arthur Miller that premiered on Broadway in 1968, was nominated for two Tony Awards, and revived four times, came to the Chapel Street Players stage Friday. Director Ray Barto (The Fantasticks) is at the helm of this latest CSP production that stars: Dan Tucker, Cindy Starcher, Bob Barto, and Curtis King.

CSP-thePrice5
Bob Barto and Dan Tucker (photo by: Peter Kuo)

Set in the attic apartment of a Manhattan brownstone, The Price, tells the story of Victor Franz (Tucker), a disenchanted NYC cop who gave up his dream of going to college following the Great Depression to care for his ailing father. Victor finally returns to his boyhood home years after his father’s demise and just ahead of the wrecking ball to finally sell his parents’ possessions. Victor’s equally disappointed wife, Esther (Starcher), his successful brother, Walter (King), and a shrewd furniture dealer, Mr. Solomon (Bob Barto), join Victor in the apartment and all have their own agendas. Victor must deal with all of them, haggling with the dealer over a fair price for the furniture and with Esther and Walter over the price of his sacrifice years earlier.

Ray Barto remains faithful to Miller’s script and so The Price has an insufferably long fuse, but when that fuse does finally burn down—in about the middle of the second act—the play detonates with the explosive moral inquisition for which Miller is known. The audience must endure a fair amount of exposition and repetition to understand what occurred in the past to make the present so appallingly miserable for these characters. Some of that could probably have been trimmed from the play while still preserving Miller’s ideas. The fraternal argument between Victor and Walter in Act II, for example, suffers from verbosity. The scene tends toward monotony, but Tucker and King are terrific together and their delivery honest.

The actors all labor to keep the energy level up in this dialogue heavy piece and although there are times you may long for the intermission or final curtain, the cast is first-rate and when these characters finally battle one another to settle their long festering feud, the play stops its slow burn and bursts into anguished social and moral significance.

CSP//ThePrice
Dan Tucker and Curtis King(photo by: Peter Kuo)

Tucker adeptly portrays Victor as the stagnated victim, lamenting over lost opportunities and perceived injustices. Victor (who has not seen or spoken to his brother in 16 years) resents Walter for selfishly leaving home years before to pursue his dreams without so much as a backward glance, leaving Victor to hold things together and never realize his full potential. Furthermore, Victor is angry at Walter for refusing Victor’s request for financial assistance and ultimately dumbfounded by Walter’s claims that Victor had been blind all along to his father’s manipulations. Victor’s own anger is really what stymied him and he’s used that anger these years as an excuse to do nothing with his life.

Starcher is superb as Esther, the long-suffering, indignant wife, once passionate about poetry and who now drinks a little too much, pressuring Victor to get the best price he can for the furniture as she feels this is Victor’s due and his final chance to be somebody. Esther is embarrassed at being the wife of a cop. She loves her husband, but wants Victor to retire from the force and get a job that is more in keeping with his (her) aspirations. Tucker and Starcher play well off of each other and when Esther confronts Victor, it’s with the ferocity of a guard dog whose slumber has been disturbed by an intruder.

CS // The Price
Dan Tucker, Cindy Starcher & Curtis King (photo by: Peter Kuo)

King delivers a fine performance as Walter, now a successful doctor who claims to have little interest in the proceeds from the sale of the “junk” cluttering the apartment. Walter has been successful, but success has come at a heavy cost. He is divorced and recovering from a mental breakdown. Walter dismisses the belief that there was anything about their dysfunctional family home worthy of loyalty. He adopts the mantle of white knight, never revealing whether his machinations are noble or Machiavellian.

Bob Barto is sublime as Solomon, the 89-year-old furniture dealer who has witnessed his share of meshugas over his many years dealing with families and their inheritances. Barto, who stepped into the role at the last minute due to the illness of the actor previously in the role, offers much-needed comic relief, peeling a hard-boiled egg for emergency sustenance and spouting Russian-Yiddish, proving that Miller, for all of his moral earnestness, did actually have a sense of humor.

Ray Barto’s detailed set design works well for the small CSP stage and features a working harp on loan for this production from the Brandywine Harp Orchestra.

Arthur Miller wrote The Price in 1967 in response to two major events that, for him, overshadowed all other events from that decade—the surging Vietnam War and absurd avant-garde plays that were suddenly in vogue during that period. He wrote the play to “confront and confound” those events. Miller felt there was an “absence—not only in theater but everywhere—of any interest in what had surely given birth to Vietnam, namely, its roots in the past.” While the play doesn’t rank as high as Miller’s other works, it’s still a compelling family drama with trenchant observations on how we view money and success.

The name Arthur Miller raises certain expectations. Many will inevitably compare The Price to Miller’s enormously successful earlier works. The Price is none of those (nor does it pretend to be). If you go expecting to see Death of a Salesman, you may be disappointed, but go expecting a great evening in the theater and I think you’ll find that The Price is right.

The Price runs through Feb 17. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org to reserve your tickets today.

 

The post (A. Renaldi) The Price Is Right appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2018/02/15/the-price-is-right/feed/ 0 2606
(NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘The Price:’ Cathartic coming to grips with the past https://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2018/02/12/chapel-streets-price/328761002/ https://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2018/02/12/chapel-streets-price/328761002/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:59:50 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2603 “The Price,” the 1968 play by Arthur Miller and third show of the season for Chapel Street Players, is cathartic.

It’s cathartic to watch and must be cathartic to perform, with lifelong conflicts finally resolving into a peace with the past, fictional as it is.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘The Price:’ Cathartic coming to grips with the past appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
“The Price,” the 1968 play by Arthur Miller and third show of the season for Chapel Street Players, is cathartic.

It’s cathartic to watch and must be cathartic to perform, with lifelong conflicts finally resolving into a peace with the past, fictional as it is.

Directed by Ray Barto, who also designed and constructed the detailed set of an early 20th Century Manhattan brownstone that’s been gathering dust for 16 years — including a real working harp on loan from the Brandywine Harp Orchestra. On opening night, the audience was treated to a pre-show harp performance by BHO Director Janet Whitman.

With only four actors and one room, “The Price” tells its story through conversation. The action revolves around Victor Franz (Dan Tucker), a 50ish NYC beat cop looking to sell the contents of his long-deceased parents’ house and then retire. But he’s got to contend with the competing agendas of his wife, Esther Franz (Cindy Starcher); Mr. Solomon (Bob Barto), the elderly furniture dealer making a house call to appraise its contents; and Walter Franz (Curtis King), Victor’s more successful brother.

Bob Barto, brother of Ray and a member of the Kent County Theatre Guild in Dover, stepped into the role of Mr. Solomon at the last minute after the original cast member became sick. He gives a great performance that adds much-needed levity to what is a heavy play about loss.

Tucker and Starcher play off each other well; Miller’s style is realistic. As the play begins, the audience really can’t tell who Esther is to Victor (sister? wife? cousin?) until it comes up naturally.

When King’s Walter appears at the end of the first act, the play shifts, and the realities of the past begin to come to light. This play is full of dramatic monologues and characters arguing, all of which brings the pieces of the family’s story together, especially that of the long-suffering Victor.

It’s a smart, ambitious play, and you can see that the cast and crew are passionate about it.

If you enjoy Arthur Miller or dramatic, non-musical plays in general, you should check it out. While the content is suitable for all ages, the play and its themes are intended for adults, so you may want to leave children at home.

Holly Quinn is a Wilmington freelance writer.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘The Price:’ Cathartic coming to grips with the past appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
https://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2018/02/12/chapel-streets-price/328761002/feed/ 0 2603
(A. Renaldi) You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/12/04/youre-a-good-man-charlie-brown/ https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/12/04/youre-a-good-man-charlie-brown/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:56:03 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2601 Chapel Street Players continues their 83rd season with You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, a lighthearted romp based on the book by John Gordon and featuring the lovable Peanuts created by cartoonist Charles M. Shultz. After the powerfully provocative 1984, a fun musical with beloved characters is just what the doctor ordered,

The post (A. Renaldi) You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
Chapel Street Players continues their 83rd season with You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, a lighthearted romp based on the book by John Gordon and featuring the lovable Peanuts created by cartoonist Charles M. Shultz. After the powerfully provocative 1984, a fun musical with beloved characters is just what the doctor ordered, and the doctor is in–way in!

Lucy that is, and she’s joined by Linus, Schroeder, Sally, Snoopy, and, of course, good ol’ Charlie Brown. The Peanuts gang wryly ponders life and its quirks in this musical offering directed by Jeff Robleto. Like a live action Sunday comic strip, Charlie Brown and his friends make observations about life and share their childhood obsessions, often in funny, well-staged short sequences punctuated with song and dance numbers choreographed by Dona Marie Pizzo.

(L to R) William Bryant, Jason Tokarski(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)
Sitting in the theater, staring at Robleto’s brightly colored sets that looked like Shultz, himself, had drawn and painted them and seeing the Peanuts gang in action was like catching up with childhood friends that I hadn’t seen in decades (okay, that’s not quite true–I watch the holiday specials every year, but still). The old gang hasn’t changed a bit and they have the same doubts, insecurities, and fears as they always have, but then, don’t we all?

Act I plays out in a series of little scenes beginning with Charlie Brown waking to a “perfect day’ as his friends serenade him with a rousing (albeit slightly qualified) tribute with the title song, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” as he misses the bus Later, Charlie Brown eats lunch alone while staring at his secret crush, the little red-haired girl. We see Lucy try to win Schroeder’s heart (to his dismay) and learn that Linus is amazingly philosophical for a five-year-old…and very devoted to his blanket. Act II roars in like a Fokker triplane with Snoopy (AKA the intrepid World War I Flying Ace) flying atop his doghouse in search of the Red Baron. One highlight of the second act comes when Snoopy, inspired by his rapturous dinner, sings and dances about it in “Suppertime.”

(L to R) Gabrielle Rambo, Rebecca Gallatin(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)
Jason Tokarski is charming as Charlie Brown, playing the hapless, hopeless, but still loveable blockhead with heart and making the audience feel empathy for him as he struggles to get a kite in the air, suffers through a valentine-less Valentine’s Day, and pines for the little red-haired girl of his dreams. Rebecca Gallatin is wonderful as the crabby, fussbudget, Lucy and William Bryant is adorable as Lucy’s little brother, Linus. Gabrielle Rambo and Katie Brady are precocious as Schroeder and Sally, respectively. Caitlin Custer rounds out the cast as Charlie Brown’s hilarious dog, Snoopy and manages to steal many of the scenes. Musical Director, Bill Fellner’s nimble fingers make Clark Gesner’s musical score come to life.

You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown runs through December 16. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org to reserve your tickets today.

The post (A. Renaldi) You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/12/04/youre-a-good-man-charlie-brown/feed/ 0 2601
84th Season Announcement http://chapelstreetplayers.org/84th-season-announcement/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/84th-season-announcement/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 17:00:53 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2572

The post 84th Season Announcement appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>

The post 84th Season Announcement appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://chapelstreetplayers.org/84th-season-announcement/feed/ 0 2572
(NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘Charlie Brown’ is holiday delight http://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2017/12/04/chapel-streets-charlie-brown-holiday-delight/920079001/ http://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2017/12/04/chapel-streets-charlie-brown-holiday-delight/920079001/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:48:01 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2529 This holiday season in local theater has brought noticeably fewer Christmas shows than in the past.

Whether in response to the country’s political climate or by coincidence, most of the theaters in Northern Delaware are skipping the sleigh bells and carols in favor of productions that capture the feel of the season without trumpeting Christmas.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘Charlie Brown’ is holiday delight appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
This holiday season in local theater has brought noticeably fewer Christmas shows than in the past.

Whether in response to the country’s political climate or by coincidence, most of the theaters in Northern Delaware are skipping the sleigh bells and carols in favor of productions that capture the feel of the season without trumpeting Christmas.

Add Chapel Street Players to that list, with their seasonal offering, the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” directed by Jeff Robleto and based on Charles Schultz’s classic Peanuts cartoons.

“Charlie Brown” is a series of vignettes about life as played out by Schultz’s most beloved characters: Charlie (Jason Tokarski), Lucy (Rebecca Gallatin), Linus (William Bryant), Sally (Katy Brady), Schroeder (Gabrielle Rambo), and, of course, Snoopy (Caitlin Custer, delivering a charismatic performance in her CSP debut).

Most of the classic Peanuts scenarios are included, from Snoopy’s World War I Flying Ace fantasy to the Baseball Diamond to the brick wall Linus and Charlie lean on to commiserate.

Peanuts is a comic about small children who, in their own small child world, are philosophical, well-read and cultured (well, some of them, anyway). The musical casts adults into these roles, adding another layer.

As Charlie battles with depression, Lucy starts on a path to self-actualization. Schroeder plays his toy piano, which in their world sounds like a grand piano playing Beethoven. Sally realizes she herself, not her teacher, controls her life. When played by grown people, the themes are highlighted.

As she does in the drawn versions, Gallatin’s headstrong big sister Lucy steals the show, and Brady’s quirky little Sally is, well, very Sally.

Of the boys, Tokarski’s always-down-on-his-luck Charlie stands out as the least offbeat (he has no inanimate addictions like Linus’ blanket and Schroeder’s toy piano), and he’s the most grounded out of all of them. He’s also the most unhappy, something the vignettes remind the audience constantly. But he really is a good “man.”

“Charlie Brown” does reference the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” one of the more religious Christmas specials for kids, but there is no Bible reciting here. Instead, they sing a song called “Happiness Is,” as they decorate the set with the uncommon sincerity you expect from Peanuts.

Holly Quinn is a Wilmington freelance writer.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘Charlie Brown’ is holiday delight appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/entertainment/2017/12/04/chapel-streets-charlie-brown-holiday-delight/920079001/feed/ 0 2529
(NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘1984:’ funny, romantic, horrifying http://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2017/10/10/chapel-streets-1984-funny-romantic-horrifying/752326001/ http://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2017/10/10/chapel-streets-1984-funny-romantic-horrifying/752326001/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:17:13 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2491 You might have heard about Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s “1984” on Broadway this summer, a version so graphic that people reportedly vomited and passed out during shows.

Chapel Street Players aren’t doing that version, which just ended its Broadway run. They’re doing an adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian horror story by Robert Owens.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘1984:’ funny, romantic, horrifying appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
You might have heard about Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s “1984” on Broadway this summer, a version so graphic that people reportedly vomited and passed out during shows.

Chapel Street Players aren’t doing that version, which just ended its Broadway run. They’re doing an adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian horror story by Robert Owens. Wilton E. Hall Jr. and William A. Miles Jr. that doesn’t appear to be quite as intense, but is still affecting.

Owens, Hall and Miles’ adaptation is not for the faint of heart. The third act is pretty much all torture — but no version of Orwell’s “1984” is going to be sunshine and roses.

Under the direction of Judith A. David and associate director Susan Boudreaux, Chapel Street’s “1984” is, at turns, humorous, romantic and horrifying.

The protagonist, Winston Smith, is played by Patrick Cathcart. Winston is on stage in virtually every scene, including the most intense ones, and Cathcart captures his many faces.

Julia, Winston’s love interest, is played by Danielle Jackomin, a wide-eyed free-thinker who convinces Winston to escape the constantly watchful eye of Big Brother. She plays it well. It’s just a shame that in adapting the story, she and Winston seem to suddenly be in love out of nowhere.

Much of the humor comes from Brooks Black as Parsons, Winston’s loyal co-worker. Her feverish devotion to Big Brother and her love of daily hate rituals seem silly at first, but as the story grows darker and the reality of this “future” society becomes more clear, the laughs become sparse.

The one exception is Winston and Julia’s prole landlady, played by Heather McCarty, whose buoyant performance is half Cockney banter and half bittersweet singing.

Zachary Jackson gives a commanding performance as O’Brien, the party leader who is staunchly devoted to Big Brother (or is he?).

Pulling it all together is the costuming by Ann Matthews, makeup and props by Angela Shad and Scott F. Mason, and fabulous set design by Brian Touchette.

It might not make you vomit, but it’s a production that will definitely make you think, even if you’ve read or seen “1984” in the past.

Holly Quinn is a Wilmington freelance writer.

The post (NewsJournal) Chapel Street’s ‘1984:’ funny, romantic, horrifying appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2017/10/10/chapel-streets-1984-funny-romantic-horrifying/752326001/feed/ 0 2491
(A. Renaldi) 1984: More Relevant Than Ever https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/10/10/1984-more-relevant-than-ever/ https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/10/10/1984-more-relevant-than-ever/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:15:24 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2489 Chapel Street Players launch their 83rd season with 1984, the powerful and disturbingly provocative dystopian tale of a world ruthlessly controlled by a totalitarian government. Based on George Orwell’s chilling classic novel, 1984, adapted for the stage by Robert Owens,

The post (A. Renaldi) 1984: More Relevant Than Ever appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
Chapel Street Players launch their 83rd season with 1984, the powerful and disturbingly provocative dystopian tale of a world ruthlessly controlled by a totalitarian government. Based on George Orwell’s chilling classic novel, 1984, adapted for the stage by Robert Owens, Wilton E. Hall, and William A. Miles, Jr., is a horrifying view of a society completely controlled by the government where, under the watchful eye of the all-knowing, all-seeing, Big Brother, war is peace, slavery is freedom, and independent thought, especially in opposition to the government constitutes thoughtcrime and means arrest, torture, death…or perhaps something far worse.

Front: Brooks Black, Danielle Jackomin, Patrick Cathcart Back: Walt Osborne, Jason Beil(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)

Directed most ably by Judith A. David, 1984 is set in London, now part of the totalitarian

superstate of Oceania, which is perpetually at war and ruled with an iron fist by The Inner Party. The party leader (who may or may not exist), the ever-vigilant Big Brother, is a ubiquitous dictator who has history rewritten to support the ever-changing party line and who constantly spies on and manipulates Oceana’s citizens, brutally punishing anyone who dares consider political freedom or independent thought. Winston Smith (Patrick Cathcart) is a drudge at the Ministry of Truth, responsible for rewriting (erasing and reinventing) history, and becomes disillusioned. Winston is an Outer Party member who has come to loathe the oppressive regime and who falls in love with Julia, another dissident. As one might expect from a dystopian drama, there is no fairytale ending. The ill-fated couple is betrayed, arrested by the Thought Police, and hauled off to the Ministry of Love to be tortured and brainwashed.

Winston Smith (Patrick Cathcart)(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)

Cathcart portrays Winston as a serious, passionate, rebel, but shines most brightly in the second act, when Winston is tortured by O’Brien (Zachary Jackson), a sadistic member of the Inner Party. Cathcart and Jackson’s performance is impactful. There is a dynamic energy between the two characters that becomes supercharged during the interrogation scenes and underscores the abusive relationship between O’Brien and Winston.

Jackson’s O’Brien is an efficient tormentor who finds gleeful satisfaction in reconverting Winston to a party loyalist through torture and brainwashing. The torture scenes elicited audible gasps from audience members. The faint of heart should take note.

L to R: Patrick Cathcart, Danielle Jackomin, Zack Jackson(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)

Julia (Danielle Jackomin) feels no loyalty to Big Brother and The Party, but her method of rebellion is quite different from Winston’s. Julia manages to get herself transferred to Winston’s department to be near him and then confesses her love for Winston. In the novel, Julia uses sex to rebel against Big Brother and is not as morally concerned with revolution as Winston. In the play, however, Julia and Winston marry, which is perhaps a higher form of rebellion in a world that places no value on such traditions. Julia’s focus remains sensuality and making a happy little home for herself and Winston, risking all to bring her husband little treats like real coffee and sugar, but Julia also examines her reasons for rebelling, adding dimension to the character which Ms. Jackomin adeptly brings to the stage.

Brooks Black and Walt Osborne deliver fine performances as Parsons and Syme, conveying to the audience their sheer exhaustion from constantly concealing their innermost thoughts, their fear of one day being exposed as thought criminals, and their paranoia at constantly living their lives in full view of the telescreen and the omnipresent Big Brother.

The talents of other actors in the production also warrant mention, Jason Beil as the ruthless First Guard (as well as Goldstein’s Voice and Martin), Sedric Willis as Second Guard (and Big Brother’s Voice), and most notably Heather McCarty who takes a delightful turn as the incongruously nostalgic landlady.

Patrick Cathcart and Zachary Jackson as Winston and O’Brien(Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kuo/CSP)

Director Judith David based the style and appearance of the show on Orwell’s idea that the machine can liberate mankind…but also enslave it. Set designer Brian Touchette took David’s vision and crafted a dazzling set. Touchette, with the combined talents of lighting designer, Rick Neidig, technical/visual effects designer, Peter Kuo, and sound designer, Adrian Hartwig, employ telescreens, slogans (i.e. “Ignorance is Strength),” and many eyes watching to immerse CSP audiences in a propaganda-driven Orwellian world.

George Orwell’s unsettling dystopian novel was classified as science fiction when it was published in 1949. Nearly 70 years later, in an era of alternative facts, e-mail hacks, Russia’s election meddling, so-called fake news, and propaganda laced posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, Orwell’s prophetic tale and his chilling warning that “who controls the past controls the future and who controls the present controls the past,” still resonates with 2017 audiences—1984 is more relevant than ever.

Chapel Street Players’ production of 1984 is double plus good and highly recommended.

1984 runs through October 14. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit www.chapelstreetplayers.org to reserve your tickets today.

The post (A. Renaldi) 1984: More Relevant Than Ever appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2017/10/10/1984-more-relevant-than-ever/feed/ 0 2489
(A. Renaldi) The Pillowman http://chapelstreetplayers.org/a-renaldi-the-pillowman/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/a-renaldi-the-pillowman/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:32:30 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2297 submitted By Anthony Renaldi

The Pillowman, is a 2003 play in three acts by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. This black comedy tells the story of Katurian (Jimmy Van Buren), an amoral writer of fiction, who lives in an unnamed totalitarian state and who is interrogated regarding the gruesome content of his short stories because they closely resemble recent child murders in his town.

The post (A. Renaldi) The Pillowman appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
submitted By Anthony Renaldi

The Pillowman, is a 2003 play in three acts by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. This black comedy tells the story of Katurian (Jimmy Van Buren), an amoral writer of fiction, who lives in an unnamed totalitarian state and who is interrogated regarding the gruesome content of his short stories because they closely resemble recent child murders in his town. Audiences may be jolted by events described and depicted onstage in this pitch-black comedy and those with delicate sensibilities should avoid seeing The Pillowman. (Advisory: This play contains strong language and depicts/describes murder, mutilation, dismemberment, child abuse, and other violence.)

ThePillowman-1While Pillowman is touted as a comedy, the laughs are sparse due to the gruesome theme of the play, but they are well-placed and usually followed by something shocking that will cause the audience to gasp or cringe in their seats—apropos for a play about a man suspected of torturing and murdering children. The ghoulish tales that Katurian spins (think Grimm Brothers reimagined by Wes Craven) are products of his f****d up childhood and far from funny, especially to Tupolski (Steve Conner) and Ariel (John Barker), the overzealous, over-the-top cops who are alternately interrogating/torturing Katurian. It gets real when Katurian learns that the police have his mentally ill brother, Michael (Sean McKean), in custody as well. To delve any deeper into the plot of this play would risk revealing spoilers that would rob the audience of their theatre going experience.

To read a synopsis of the play, you might think Pillowman is about a hideous crime and harsh (if not deserved) punishment, but Pillowman is all about the art of storytelling set against a macabre theme of violence. Every character in the play tells a story—from Katurian’s fractured fairy tales to the deceptions of the police, but how do you know something is true simply because someone told you?

ThePillowman-3Director J. W. Pukatsch has been passionate about bringing this play to the stage for some 10 years. His patience has finally been rewarded, and although a bit of a departure for Chapel Street Players, audiences with strong constitutions will be rewarded as well with a solid, well-acted, well staged production. Jimmy Van Buren is fantastic as Katurian and manages to make an unlikeable character sympathetic as humanly possible. John Barker and Steve Connor (Ariel and Tupolski) are brilliant as the over-the-top, torture happy good cop/bad cop duo. Finally, Sean McKean shines as Michael and manages to aptly portray both the childlike innocence and shocking ugliness of Michael. Special mention to Penelope Rose Teague who was adorable as the little girl.

ThePillowman-4Pukatsch wore multiple hats for this production as he was also the lighting and set designer. As is always the case, the set was well designed, practical, and functional. It easily morphed from grim interrogation room to childhood home to help tell Katurian’s backstory.

The Pillowman runs through August 5th on the CSP stage.

 

The post (A. Renaldi) The Pillowman appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://chapelstreetplayers.org/a-renaldi-the-pillowman/feed/ 0 2297
(DEArtsInfo) Chapel Street Tells a Dark Tale in “The Pillowman” http://www.deartsinfo.com/2017/08/chapel-street-tells-dark-tale-in.html http://www.deartsinfo.com/2017/08/chapel-street-tells-dark-tale-in.html#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:19:35 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2295 By Mike Logothetis

Somewhere at the confluence of Poe, Kafka and Tarantino lies Martin McDonagh’s spellbinding play,The Pillowman. While some would label this as black comedy, I believe it is more dramatic realism. The feelings I had when processing the Chapel Street Players production on my walk home from the theater dealt more with unhealthy realistic possibilities than with sinister “what ifs.”

But my own petty internal arguments should not stop you from getting a ticket to this week’s final run of shows — because this is a play you should experience.

The post (DEArtsInfo) Chapel Street Tells a Dark Tale in “The Pillowman” appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
By Mike Logothetis

Somewhere at the confluence of Poe, Kafka and Tarantino lies Martin McDonagh’s spellbinding play,The Pillowman. While some would label this as black comedy, I believe it is more dramatic realism. The feelings I had when processing the Chapel Street Players production on my walk home from the theater dealt more with unhealthy realistic possibilities than with sinister “what ifs.”

But my own petty internal arguments should not stop you from getting a ticket to this week’s final run of shows — because this is a play you should experience. Director J.W. Pukatsch puts his four main actors through a gauntlet of emotions because McDonagh’s script demands authenticity. While all the major players were excellent, the show is anchored by the stalwart performance of Jimmy Van Buren as the protagonist Katurian.

Writer Katurian’s 400 short stories (all but one unpublished) might be described as a how-to guide of “101 ways to skewer a 5-year-old.” The purportedly fictional stories have landed Katurian and his weak-minded brother Michal (Sean McKean) in prison, since the killings described in his simply-told fables have been replicated in the town where they live.

The policemen who interrogate Katurian – the disdainful Tupolski (Steve Connor) and his hot-headed partner Ariel (John Barker) – aren’t necessarily wrong in hating what their prisoner has written. These are sick, demented tales of torture written by a bruised man in a world the audience never sees outside of the prison walls. But do these lawmen deserve to be judge, jury and executioner on top of their detective roles?

Barker and Connor, as Ariel and Tupolski, turn the classic good cop/bad cop formula into a devilish vaudevillian routine. “Good cop” Tupolski toys with Katurian, giving him false impressions of understanding, sympathy and hope. “Bad cop” Ariel is an amalgam of the clichéd combustible, torture-happy cop with a secret past. The two have chemistry and perverse senses of humor that fit their surroundings. Neither seems to care a shred for humanity and force Katurian to continuously jump through hoops of their own manic creation.

Van Buren imbues the arrogant yet thin-skinned Katurian from his mercurial talking in the interrogation room to the more subdued time spent with his weak-minded brother in a holding cell. You want to root for Katurian, but the audience sees that he is not a wholly sympathetic character.

Katurian’s inflated sense of self-satisfaction when he tells a story – especially one of his stories – is pure arrogance. When the police criticize and threaten to destroy his writings, the passion boiling within Van Buren’s Katurian is palpable. Hard evidence, artistic merit, and Katurian’s insistence that the stories are pure fiction are all irrelevant. The police want him gone, but he will do anything save his stories (and their integrity).

The relationship between Katurian and his brother, the childlike Michal, is one where the able sibling has assumed a parental role. (What happened to the men’s mother and father is divulged within the play.) Michal is at once innocent and unpleasant – a dichotomy captured well by actor McKean. But is Katurian the best role model for Michal? Their relationship is a unique one, to say the least, and the play exposes its lineage.

McDonagh leads the audience down a path, but not a predictable one. Its strength is in its imagery and how the principals deliver. The Pillowman is a difficult story to tell, but everything is executed admirably in this production.

The cast is rounded out by Joseph Pukatsch, Penelope Rose Teague, and Ashley Thompson in minor roles. Kudos to set designer and builder Patrick Brisiel for his inventive and effective backdrop and props.

As a playwright, McDonagh has a casual relationship with murder, mutilation and psychological aggrievement so audiences may be shaken by the events described and simulated in The Pillowman. The show contains strong language and adult situations.
The 2003 play received the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 2004-5 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play and two Tony Awards.

The limited run of The Pillowman ends this week, with 8:00pm shows on August 3, 4 and 5 at the Chapel Street Playhouse, 27 North Chapel Street in Newark. Parking is available on the street or in the small lot behind the building. Tickets are $18 adult; $12 senior; and $5 student and can be purchased online, via telephone 302.368.2480 or at the box office.

The post (DEArtsInfo) Chapel Street Tells a Dark Tale in “The Pillowman” appeared first on Chapel Street Players.

]]>
http://www.deartsinfo.com/2017/08/chapel-street-tells-dark-tale-in.html/feed/ 0 2295