Sexual violence play at Know Theatre benefits crime victims

By George Basler

The issue of violence against women has been much in the news. Congress recently re-authorized the Violence Against Women Act. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is holding hearings on sexual abuse in the military. A rape and killing in India has prompted protest and self-examination in that country.
So a production taking place this coming weekend (March 8 and 9) in Binghamton is both timely and provocative. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ reflects fine stagecraft

Reviewed by Lee Shepherd

What a perfectly crafted and finely acted play!
I’m talking about the Know Theatre’s production of Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, directed by Tim Gleason and featuring Jason Hill, Ilana Lieberman, Jessica Nogaret, Susan Stevens and Jason Walsh. Read the rest of this entry »

KNOW Theatre presents annual Playwrights and Artists Festival

By George Basler

The six plays to be performed this weekend and next at KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton range from a love story set inside an informational technology office to an intense confrontation between a wife and her unfaithful husband. Read the rest of this entry »

Know Theatre does first-rate job with provocative play

Reviewed by George Basler

When David Mamet’s Oleanna first opened 20 years ago, fistfights reportedly broke out in the theater lobby. The two-character play is designed to provoke intense arguments, debate and even anger. The riveting production that runs through Sept. 30 at the KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton does just that.

Tim Gleason and Amoreena Wade do first-rate jobs in portraying Mamet’s flawed characters whose misunderstandings and failure to communicate honestly escalate to violence. Director Brandt Reiter keeps the interplay between the characters moving at a fast pace — the key to making a Mamet play work — as the tension rises through the three scenes. Read the rest of this entry »

KNOW Theatre to produce Kennedy Center award winners

By George Basler

Audiences coming to the KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton next week (July 5-8) will get in on the ground floor of seeing the next potentially great American playwrights.

For the first time ever, the Binghamton-based theater company is cooperating with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., to present four regional prize-winning plays from this year’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival program. The four plays — two one-act and two 10-minute productions — include the national winner for outstanding short play, White or The Muskox Play by Jonathan K. Fitts, a student at New York University. Read the rest of this entry »

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KNOW Theatre successfully tackles controversial play

Reviewed by George Basler

Violence is on display at the KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton. The instruments aren’t guns or knives, but verbal cruelty and desperation that can warp human beings.

This desperation is the main theme of KNOW’s first-rate production of David Mamet’s controversial, 1984 Pulitzer prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross. Set in a Chicago real estate office, the play focuses on a group of salesmen willing to go to any lengths to survive in the dog-eat-dog world where the highest- grossing salesman wins a Cadillac, and the losers get sacked. Read the rest of this entry »

Actors excel in Know Theatre’s ‘Lonesome West’

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

How would a person born with no soul behave? Would no fear-of-God affect his behavior? Would he be pure evil? Are these the questions Martin McDonough poses in his third play of his Connemara trilogy, The Lonesome West? Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Blood Wedding’ gives voice to Lorca’s genius’

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Federico Garcia Lorca was one of the true literary wonders of the 20th century, his life cut short by Spain’s Civil War of 1936 when he was brutally assassinated. More tragic than his death perhaps is the fact we will never know what literary output would have been forthcoming. Lorca himself stated he was still learning his craft and that his work “ha” just begun.” We can, however, rejoice that his poetry and plays are still being presented.  A new translation of his “Blood Wedding,” the brainchild of Santino DeAngelo and Marty Murray, opened for the public last night (July 28) at Know Theatre in Binghamton.

Directed by DeAngelo and Bobby Daglio, the show has some wonderful moments and flights of true creativity, if not always consistent throughout. “Blood Wedding,” in its new translation, makes no apologies for exposing Lorca’s details of love, lust, sadness and death; life’s components spilled out on what had been an actual tragedy he had read of in a newspaper.

Suffice to say without spoiling the plot that it’s a much darker themed “Romeo and Juliet” or perhaps even “West Side Story” on speed. DeAngelo has written a haunting musical score to boot, with some very effective moments throughout the piece. DeAngelo,, a mere 20, is destined for great things and one has to ask if are we looking at the next Sondheim.

Dori May Ganisin as the tormented mother, while committed to her task, failed to catch fire until the very end when she finally develops that cool sense of detachment with all the has enfolded.  Many great lines were hers but this in particular — “while one lives, one struggles” — summed up the play’s intent. Co-director Daglio was a confident and convincing Groom. His self-control with the mother’s nagging was palpable.

Benjamin Williamson as Leonardo was excellent. He conveyed not only the characters human flaws, but his sincere love for the forbidden Bride of Wendy Abels. Abels, though somewhat understated, made a convincing turn as the woman who is torn but ultimately pays the price when the action she takes  has a solemn consequence.

Tim Gleason was also very good as the Father; a man of conviction who blindly faces the future with no regard for the past. The supporting women — Dara Kramer as the maid and Joanna Patchett as the neighbor — successfully conveyed not only their sexual frustration but the fragility one needs to love, a component as relevant today as when Lorca first penned this play. One very apropos line by the maidjumped out:”Marriage is the bed and the bedroom.”

Shannon DeAngelo sang a haunting lullaby as the Mother-In-Law with Suzannah Herschkowitz as the long-suffering wife of Leonardo. Death was portrayed by Dinah Tennant. Special mention should be made of the Greek Chorus of  sorts, called here Duende: Dustin Hirthler, Jake Wentlent and Jonathan Molyneaux.

The performance, not without minor flaws, was overall very good and what DeAngelo and Murray have achieved is truly an inspiring piece of theater. But the real reason for rejoicing is the re-evaluation and uncovering of the genius of Lorca’s works, which once banned but now have an indelible place in the world of the theater.

NOTE: Performances continue at 8 p.m. July 29 and 30 and 2 p.m. July 31 at Know Theatre, 74 Carroll St., Binghamton. Call 754-6352.

(Editor’s Note:  “Blood Wedding” is funded in part by a 2011 project grant from the United Cultural Fund, a program of the Broome County Arts Council.)

Have you been ‘art-full’ this week?

My art-full efforts this past week included the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” opus and the Downtown Singers concert on Saturday; how about you? What did you see/hear/view this past week? Please share your comments — remember: to do so, you don’t need to register with WordPress.

Were you art-full this week?

Did spring break mean a break in your arts appreciation this past week and weekend, or were you out and about, enjoying music, theater, gallery shows, readings, etc.? Please share your reflections.

KNOW Theatre presents (another) gripping drama

Reviewed by Kellie Powell

K2 by Patrick Meyer opened last Thursday night (Feb. 18) at the KNOW Theatre in Binghamton. K2, in Pakistan’s Karakoran Range, is the second highest mountain in the world and considered the most dangerous; for every five people who reach the top, one is killed. In Meyer’s 95-minute drama, two American climbers, one with a compound leg fracture, are trapped 1,250 feet below the 28,250-foot summit. Read the rest of this entry »

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