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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Animal Magnetism: "Life’s a Dream," at the Rock Island Masonic Temple through May 18 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 14 May 2008 02:18

Eddie Staver III in Life's a Dream Say what you will about the Prenzie Players' latest presentation, but you can't say that the classical-theatre troupe, with its production of Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life's a Dream, is merely resting on its laurels.

 
Unreasonable Doubts: "12 Angry Men," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through May 18 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 14 May 2008 02:16

12 Angry Men ensemble members Near as I can tell, there are two types of people: those who like Reginald Rose's jury-room drama 12 Angry Men, and those who haven't seen it yet. So speedy and smart, so filled with personality and (mostly) unforced emotion, the work seems practically indestructible, and I actually fall into a special subset of people: those who love 12 Angry Men with a passion bordering on mania. (Between Sidney Lumet's 1957 film version and the 1997 television remake, I've watched it - and this is a conservative estimate - more than three dozen times.) So it was with nearly delirious excitement, and just a touch of dread, that I attended the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Saturday-night presentation of the show, the first stage production of Rose's piece that I'd seen.

 
Breaking Hearts, Tickling Ribs: The Riverbend Theatre Collective Debuts with "Elegies: A Song Cycle" PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 02:36

the Elegies ensemble Describing composer William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle, the first presentation by the Quad Cities' new theatrical company the Riverbend Theatre Collective, artistic director Allison Collins-Elfline says of the show, "It's quirky, it's fun, it's upbeat ... ."

Yet it's also a considerable risk for a fledgling theatrical organization's first outing, as the subject of the Tony-winning composer's quirky, fun, upbeat musical revue is, as its title suggests, death. "An elegy is a hymn of praise for someone who has passed on," states Collins-Elfline, "and Elegies is about all the people William Finn knew that he's lost."

 
Writers’ Block Party: "Romance Language," at Augustana College through May 11 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 02:29

Brian Bengtson, Katie Wyant, and Kyle Roggenbuck in Romance Language If you majored in English, or are currently majoring in English, or simply wish that you'd majored in English, Peter Parnell's comic fantasia Romance Language might sound like an almost obscene amount of fun. Or perhaps merely obscene, as Augustana College's latest presentation finds Walt Whitman traveling cross-country with Huck Finn, Ralph Waldo Emerson pining over the deceased Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson abandoning her lesbian lover for a Native American warrior, Louisa May Alcott embracing her wild side as an uninhibited dance-hall girl ... . The experience of Romance Language is like tumbling down Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole and landing smack in the middle of a 19th Century American Literature course.

As an English major myself, I say: Awesome.

 
Running, Running, Running: The Prenzie Players Venture Beyond Shakespeare with "Life's a Dream" PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 02:16

Reader issue #682 The latest undertaking by the Quad Cities' classical-drama troupe the Prenzie Players is an adaptation of Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life's a Dream, and at one point during a recent interview, group co-founder and Dream director J.C. Luxton tells me, "This show is just running, running, running. There aren't a lot of breaks for anybody."

Including, as it turns out, the audience.

 
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