Monday, June 28, 2010

American Repertory Theater Updates - Last Chances to see "Johnny Baseball" + Thoughts on "The Donkey Show"

Anyone who has been reading The White Rhino Report these past few weeks knows how much I have enjoyed the American Repertory Theater's current production of "Johnny Baseball." For those of you who have not yet had the chance to see the show, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the run of the show has been extended beyond its original date. The bad news is that you only have two weeks remaining to see this remarkable show. There is a "hard stop," and the show must close on July 11.

I recently saw another A.R.T. show, running at the Oberon on Arrow Street in Harvard Square. "The Donkey Show" has garnered much critical acclaim during its run at the Oberon, and has become something of a cult classic among fans. Knowing that A.R.T.'s
Artistic Director, Diane Paulus, had helped to direct "The Donkey Show," I decided it was time for me to check it out. I very much admire the work that Diane has done with "Johnny Baseball," and am intrigued with the direction in which she is taking the A.R.T.

Loosely based on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream," "The Donkey Show" seeks to recreate the ambiance, attitude and ambition of Studio 54 in all of its 1970's disco glory. I had seen some video footage of the production, so I had some idea of what to expect. But the video had not prepared me for the non-stop action of dancing and acting and rollicking that more than filled the two hours we spent together under the pulsating lights. The audience is immersed in the middle of the dance floor and participates in the action of the play. The stamina of the remarkable ensemble of dancers/actors is breathtaking. The show's directors and scenic designers have used every inch of the Oberon as performance spaces on many vertical levels. The evening is a non-stop romp of celebration and sensory overload. On the night that I was there, a woman was celebrating her 50th birthday party with a large number of family and friends representing three generations. They all seemed to be having fun - some really engaged and others slightly bemused and remaining off to the side. "The Donkey Show" will be playing at the Oberon each weekend for the foreseeable future.



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