Marian Seldes and George N. Martin star in Painting Churches
The lights go down and you are in the living room of an upscale Boston home. The walls glow through the darkness because of their vibrant pastel green coloring. The translucent white curtains draped over each side of the (very convincing) windows make the room come to life. And yet there is an eeriness about the space. This contrast between obvious splendor and some underlying unrest is the backdrop for the world Tina Howe unfolds.
Painting Churches, presented by the Keen Company, tells the story of Mags (Elizabeth McGovern), a young artist in her mid 20s, as she returns to her parents’ home in Boston. Although she is legally, physically, theoretically a woman, Mags is still best described as a girl. She has not yet truly found herself. She still suffers from the wounds inflicted on her by her troubled childhood; the pain freezes her in a preadolescent state of insecurity. [click to continue….]
How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel features acclaimed stars Norbert Leo Butz as Uncle Peck and Elizabeth Reaser as Lil Bit. The play’s current run is the play’s revival in New York City after its premiere here 15 years ago. During its first run here Paula Vogel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.Vogel raises awareness about an issue that is often mulled over in modern society. She forces the audience to deal with the “touchy subjects” of child molestation and pedophilia. However, while the topic deserves plenty of attention the play does not fully do it justice.
The acting of the main character “Lil Bit” (played by Reaser) is overshadowed by the more compelling performance of the supporting characters. Mama’s somewhat bitter diatribe concerning “How to Drink Like a Lady” is much more witty and inviting then Reaser’s one note performance. While Leo Butz employs physical and vocal range to fully develop his character, Reaser appears stuck in one static portrayal. She rests on the stereotypical depiction of a teenager (when she enacts the adolescent version of herself) and in doing so cheapens the character’s actual depth and emotional struggle. [click to continue….]