THEATER REVIEWS: Hip and Hot: “UNCLE VANYA” / “GREEN EYES”

Joyce Kulhawik January 21, 2012 0

Uncle VanyaYou don’t have to go to NYC to have a hip, hot, on the edge experience at the theater! It’s all happening right here in Boston with two productions that take you there in a new way: Apollinaire Theatre Company’s lucid UNCLE VANYA and Company One’s erotic GREEN EYES!

First, head to Chelsea Square– this is your last weekend to see UNCLE VANYA which takes place– not on one stage, but in many rooms inside the historic Post Office/Odd Fellows Hall– a rambling hundred year old building with soaring ceilings, paneled walls, exhibition space, and an elevator for your convenience. I however, with butterflies in my stomach, took the long, dark stairs up to the second floor gallery, along with a glass of wine and a seat for the first scene of Chekhov’s rueful tale of a household in thrall to its decline.

On a big decaying Russian country estate lives a pompous pseudo intellectual Professor Serebriakov (Bill Salem) whose young wife Elena (Marissa Rae Roberts) has also ignited the ardor of Astrov (Ronald Lacey) the alcoholic family doctor, and her aging cynic of an uncle– Vanya (John Kuntz). The plain, long-suffering Sonya (Erin Eva Butcher) is in love with Astrov, but protects her vulnerability with stalwart sweetness. A musician plays as we move through four acts and four rooms, each adorned with the accoutrement of this soon to be lost world: various faded settees, dusty bookshelves, candlelight.

Moving from room to room paces the drama, reiterates the cavernous vacuum in these characters’ lives, and builds our cumulative response to them.  John Kuntz is magnetic as Vanya;  funny and tragic all at once, he tears your heart out in the last act. Ronald Lacey’s Astrov is wholly believable when he’s three sheets to the wind. And the talented Erin Eva Butcher as Sonya? She should switch parts and play the beautiful Elena– she’d bring some much needed juice to this catalytic role. Through SUNDAY 1/22 only!

 

Green EyesThen head over to Boston’s Ames Hotel to see a show in a hotel bedroom with seats for 25! Talk about intimate! Hot off its sold-out New York run, GREEN EYES is Company One’s first site-specific show, Tennessee Williams recently published erotic ode on a New Orleans “honeymoon”– that’s anything but. The show stars NYC performance artist Erin Markey as a ravenous, half naked newlywed who torments her already war-tortured soldier husband on his wedding night. True to Tennessee’s form, she is insatiable, and he, well, he’s more devoted to his mom. 50 minutes long, the drama is hardly fleshed out, but it’s mighty physical; directed by Travis Chamberlain, the actors violently wrangle with each other on the bed, on the floor, all over the room, in a sex and death struggle for power? Love? Pleasure? Domination?  I felt a voyeuristic thrill sitting there in the front row, thoroughly excited by two fantastically potent actors inhabiting another psycho-sexual universe inches from my nose.

It’s an event, baby. EXTENDED through February 26th– if you can get a ticket. Only 25 seats per show!!

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