Fall Arts Preview: Theater Listings
Thursday, Oct. 27—Saturday, Nov. 5. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
With the exception of the offhand Off-Broadway staging, the transcendentally bizarre and transsexually titillating “Rocky Horror Show” has been largely experienced by audiences in its big-screen “Picture” form. For decades, fans of the cult classic have taken pleasure in dressing up as characters and yelling obscenities at midnight screenings. But this fall, HRDC will be offering a live alternative for those who tend to linger around Loews Harvard Square late on a Saturday night in Frank-N-Furter drag. Director John R. Drake ’06 says that he and the rest of the production staff, including producer Nina M. Catalano ’08, who is also a Crimson editor, are committed to making this incarnation of “Rocky Horror” their own by “doing a couple of interesting things with the set and story.” Without divulging his precise plans, Drake says he envisions the show as “all about spectacle and humor and being humongous.”
Unfortunately— at least for diehard Rocky Horror fans who relish yelling extra lines and using props like toast, cards, and water guns—traditional audience participation will be discouraged at Harvard’s “Rocky Horror Show.” Drake says this decision was made to protect the actors and the theater space: “I hope people understand that there’s something very different about screaming ‘SLUT!’ at a screen and screaming ‘SLUT!’ at an undergraduate ten feet in front of you. Also, we can’t have people throwing toast and squirting water on stage. It isn’t safe.”
While it may be difficult to entertain audiences who already know and dearly love the movie, the production staff insists they are up to the challenge. “I’m a huge fan of the music, story, and icon that is Rocky Horror,” says Drake. “With the creative team we have behind it, it promises to be fun, exciting, new, and, of course, very hot.”
—Marin J.D. Orlosky
Friday, Nov. 11—Saturday, Nov. 19. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 8:00 p.m. Loeb Mainstage. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office and Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
“Art that’s polite is not much fun,” playwright Tony Kushner told the progressive magazine Mother Jones in 1995. And though Kushner has won an Emmy, a Pulitzer, and two Tonys, he has never won an award for being polite.
Kushner’s 1994 play “Slavs!” tells the story of 12 characters living in the final years before the breakup of the Soviet Union. In “Slavs!,” according to director Aoife E. Spillane-Hinks ’06, “words are physical necessities that flood out of every character’s mouth, as blood from a wound.” According to Spillane-Hinks, words propel the play’s plot because, in the particular universe of Kushner’s provocative play, “dialogue is action.” Significantly, the only silent character is a young girl dying of cancer, whose physical decay becomes “synonymous with speechlessness.”
The topics considered in the play—disease, the Soviet Union, environmental poisoning, and sexuality—are but a launching pad for the play’s ultimate aim: to trigger an emotional response from viewers who might recognize themselves in the story.
According to Spillane-Hinks, as the gap between the stage and the real world shrinks during the course of the play, it will become clear that the subject matter “is not something relegated to the snowy streets of Moscow.” She adds: “This is in America—this is everywhere.” And for one week in November, it will be here—on the Loeb Mainstage.
—Bianca M. Stifani
Friday, Oct. 21—Saturday, Oct. 29. Loeb Mainstage. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 8:00pm. Loeb Mainstage. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office and Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
In the prologue of playwright Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu,” which will be shown as part of the Visiting Director’s Project, a ringmaster announcing the various animals in his circus comes finally to the titular Lulu herself, who is introduced as a beguiling snake.
“Lulu,” originally released in two parts, “Earth Spirit” (1895) and “Pandora’s Box” (1902), has historically been shrouded in scandalous sexuality. In fact, when the play premiered in 1904 in Nuremberg, Wedekind and his publisher were met with federal charges for disseminating obscene material. Performances in Germany were banned shortly thereafter.
At first glance, their judgment appears reasonable. Lulu, after all, is a stunning femme fatale, who enjoys men’s constant attentions. Despite her experience, however, she remains childishly naïve, carelessly running through and breaking the men she lures.
Lulu drives her artist husband to suicide when he discovers her infidelity; then, she murders her second husband, only to take up a marriage with his son, Alwa. Soon, she has lost all her money and is hitting the low-life.
“Lulu,” however, is more than a salacious stage show. Indeed, Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC) Producer Rebecca L. Eshbaugh ’07, explains that Lulu “tackles issues of sexuality head on, but these are things that need to be said.”
Complexly satiric and tragic, Lulu is a portrayal of an uncommonly animalistic female sexuality. And yet this devouring, voyeuristic female role is a lens through which to comment on the harm of social divisions. It’s a conclusion reached through the unusual device of maintaining Lulu’s overt sexuality from the height of her social stature through her decline and fall. Lulu embodies the commonality that bonds humanity: the sexual craving.
Eshbaugh anticipates that some potential student audiences will be uncertain of what to expect, given the play’s dark subject matter. But she trusts the skills of Visiting Director Brendan Hughes, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and promises that, although “‘Lulu’ will be a challenge for us and the actors, it is a challenge that will leave us changed.”
—Vinita M. Alexander
Thursday, Oct. 6—Saturday, Oct. 8. The Last Five Years. A comic and tragic musical exploration of five years of marriage between an aspiring actress and a writer. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Thursday, Oct. 13—Saturday, Oct. 15. Long Shot: A Playwright’s Festival. Harvard’s own home-grown writing talents debut never-before-seen pieces, including a musical. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Thursday, Oct. 20—Saturday, Oct. 22. The White Rose. Students living in World War II Germany, witnessing the horror of Hitler’s regime, come together to form “The White Rose” to produce revolutionary pamphlets and engage in acts of disobedience against Nazi Germany. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Thursday, Nov. 3—Saturday, Nov. 5. The Colored Museum. George C. Wolfe’s innovative and dramatic satire about the black experience in America comes to the Harvard stage. Agassiz Theatre. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office.
Thursday, Nov. 3—Saturday, Nov. 12. Hello Dali. A down-on-his-luck curator and a successful patron of the arts battle to claim a long-lost and historic Dali painting. Currier House. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office.
Thursday, Nov. 10—Saturday, Nov. 19. The Seagull. Four young childhood friends—full of passions and unrequited love—fantasize about their futures, only to be reunited two years later to face their unfulfilled dreams. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Thursday, Dec. 1—Saturday, Dec. 10. Ruddisore. A country gentleman, discovered to be the cursed Baronet of Ruddigore, is doomed to do one evil deed every day, or accept his fate to perish. Agassiz Theatre. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office.
Thursday, Dec. 1—Sunday, 11. No Sex Please, We’re British. The longest running comedy in British theatre history, this play follows the story of newlyweds Peter and Frances who mistakenly receive a heaping shipment of pornography. Leverett Old Library. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office.
Thursday, Dec. 1—Saturday, Dec. 3. The Alchemist. Two conmen and a prostitute run a fake alchemy lab out of a temporarily empty house, duping a colorful cast of self-righteous lunatics in this comedy. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Thursday, Dec. 8—Sunday, Dec. 11. Desdemona. Shakespeare’s female characters portray real women in real relationships when Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel revamps their motives in this play. Adams House Pool Theatre. Tickets available at the Harvard Box Office.
Friday, Dec. 9—Saturday, Dec. 17. RHINOCEROS. An idyllic town is changed forever by a strange epidemic, as people are transformed into rhinoceroses. Loeb Ex. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.
Sunday, Jan. 1—Friday, Jan. 6. Alcestis. A woman must sacrifice herself for her husband to live in a mythical and adventurous tale that includes a household full of boors and bad behavior. 2:30 p.m. (Saturday) and 7:30 p.m. Loeb Ex. Free. Tickets available only at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, 64 Brattle St.