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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Marc Broussard @ Revolution Hall 10/13/17

Marc Broussard has mellowed just a bit. At first blush this would seem like a slightly unwelcome shift. In previous reviews, I've compared his performances to pyrotechnics. This most recent show, however, had a significant amount of down-tempo numbers. Selections I would later learn were from his brand-new album, "Easy to Love," a collection I would say represents Broussard most "balanced" work.

It fits in well with Broussard's previous two "SOS" Soul albums, but there are a few tracks that recall the most explosive of "Carencro", hence the "balance." It is a truly remarkable work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"Caught" @ Artists Rep

Huh. How does one write a review about a show in which nearly everything is designed to be a secret? There's always the cringe-inducing "Spoiler Alert," but everyone hates that--no one more so than a writer forced to use it.

In certain ways, this restriction on detail is a blessing. It prevents me from enumerating some of the discordant notes "Caught" strikes in service of twists-upon-twists.

So, all-in-all, I think it best to close with a few physical  details about the staging. Artist's Rep has changed the configuration of the theatre, and that is neat to see. This show also includes an art-installation component, a lot of which is interactive, and that too is a cool little flourish. I really do think that's all I should say....

Friday, October 6, 2017

"You in Midair" @ New Expressive Works

I like to believe that I have a preference for darker fare, but given the current influx of so many dark works, I am beginning to question whether or not that is actually my true preference. PCS's "Every Brilliant Thing" tackled depression and suicide, Third Rail's forthcoming "The Events" will take on a shooting at a choir practice, and "You in Midair" examines the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer, told as only a mother could.

Ms. Danna Schaeffer's brisk one-woman show is almost surely to be the most devastating piece of theatre this year. That said, somehow there's room for completely unexpected humor, mostly dealing with the unrealistic expectations of outsiders about how grief should be processed.

The show's greatest asset is its honesty, it's unashamed willingness to tell the truth. Ms. Schaeffer has no time for weak platitudes. She's the kind of person who finds solace in a book of quotes about death, because they are real, and not designed to bring comfort to someone who can't be comforted, and knows it.

Wounds heal, because unhealed wounds lead to death. But, we are seldom reminded that a synonym for "healed wound" is "scar," and scars are with us every day. Our inclination is to cover them, because they are not pretty. But, real bravery lies in letting them show, because they are the reason you're allowed to go on. They represent imperfect repair of that which is irreparable. They are an honor to see.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"Trails" @ Broadway Rose

"Trails" has all the expected hallmarks of a  Broadway Rose production: A  surprisingly expansive set, given the intimacy of the theatre, a top-notch cast, and a solid band. What was unexpected was the subject-matter, which was a shade or two darker than their typical fare. It is a welcome change. That said, my only real quibble with "Trails" lies in the script's tendency to "tease" the tragedy at its center just a bit too much. Hinting at it and then trailing-off begins to grate after a while.

The "trail" of the title is the Appalachian Trail. Two childhood friends walk it on a journey of self-discovery. They confront aging, ("Thirty-four is halfway to sixty-eight") and old rivalries and resentments, culminating a little late in the aforementioned tragedy.

All in all, I would recommend "Trails," but again, be warned, and/or excited by its unusualness.