RBT: The Woman Hater

“…wear out the drums of his ear…” Sir Roderick, the Woman Hater, describing a man’s destiny in life if he were living with a woman!

And Sir Roderick’s defiant misogynistic comment could at once describe the rabbit hole that playwright FRANCES BURNEY presents us with in The Woman Hater. Certainly a satire, we soon have a comedy of class and manners and love.

Not unlike other rather prominent authors from the English isles, we have comedic and tragic actions based on misinformation and mis-identities and missed connections…the stress on the viewer in anticipation of the next miscue, or better yet, resolution, at first intolerable becomes delightful.

And words, words, words. It took me a while to get into this play. Not for lack of trying on the part of the Red Bull Theater, cast and director. They regaled the words with everything at their disposal…but I was overwhelmed at first…my ear drums were wearing out…and I think it’s Ms. Burney’s issue! Although this might work better on stage too…the movement from character to character as their scenes and speaking roles change can be a bit distracting in Zoom.

screen capture by AIP

But once I got acclimated, this became an enchanting and frustrating (in a good way).exhibition. And we want to fall in love with all of the characters at one point or other…and we will as the story progresses. But knowing the whole story as we do as audience, you just want to jump into the screen and tell everyone what’s what…as one character follows poor advice…and the next mistakes someone for a third party…and everyone has only part of the story because they are ALL afraid to be forthright…and we have seventeen years of this similar deceit and denial and ignoring of feelings to fill in and overcome and eventually forgive.

And don’t overlook the two comedic relief characters here. They both play key roles and both love words. There is of course Lady Smatter who presents herself as a lady of letters who apparently is spending her fortune to support poets in exchange for the flattery of inscriptions or dedications to herself! The joke here is she quotes them incessantly and constantly but incompletely and inaccurately and continually via the wrong attributions. And this is all portrayed with the proper edge by VEANNE COX. And the other is Arnie Burton as Old Waverly who seems to be a wordsmith…well at least when he is assigning attributes to others. Just an amazing sequence as he peers out from under his powdered wig!

And kudos to EVERETT QUINTON for pulling this off…this is not an easy timeline to keep straight while also recognizing the shifting moods and relationships and then being able to move the actors to each specific action and scene…watching that interplay is a joy in itself.

And the the cast here…this is an intense and fast moving play….with as I think I said…words, words, words…and these words are all important and not necessarily easy dialogue to follow or perform. Just an amazing accomplishment by all hands…particularly in the Zoom virtual format rather than on stage in person with the usual cues and habituations. Here is the cast list of these amazing people:

Young Waverly……………………………………NICK WESTRATE
Wilmot | Old Waverly…………………………ARNIE BURTON
Steward………………………………………………BILL ARMY
Sir Roderick………………………………………..MATTHEW SALDIVAR
Lady Smatter……………………………………..VEANNE COX
Nurse | Prim | Phebe………………………….JENNE VATH
Sophia | Joyce……………………………………CHERIE CORINNE RICE
Eleonora ……………………………………………REBECCA S’MANGA FRANK

screen capture by AIP

And thank you for the great costumes and props…and the careful orchestration of passing off the several props from one character to another…who were of course in separate frames and miles apart…not something that other theater groups have put enough thought into. RBT nailed it!!!

Well, as Milton said, “All’s Well That Ends Well” or was it Spencer?

This presentation will be available online for free (but please send them a donation, they deserve it). The recording is available until 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, January 29 – then it disappears.

It’s Time To Make Your Christmas Carol Plans At The Milwaukee Repertory Theater…Virtually Of Course!

Hey, this may be a little repetitive, but it’s great news, and the reminder just hit my email inbox this morning! But here again, are all of the details you need to need join the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s presentations of a reprise of A Christmas Carol (and it’s free) and their 2020 presentation of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol (and it’s a bargain!).

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Purchase to watch Dec 10 – 24 Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol featuring Lee E. Ernst

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the incomparable Lee E. Ernst playing more than a dozen characters in the Dickens’ classic with a unique soundscape developed by foley artist Dan Kazemi, under the direction of Milwaukee Rep Artistic Director Mark Clements. Our fully realized production will be taped and distributed to a limited number of people on a first come, first served basis. The production will be available to view for $20 per household December 10 – 24. Proceeds from streaming sales will be used to employ and compensate artists involved in the production.

Click here from more details on Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol at the Milwaukee Rep!

And purchase virtual TICKETS HERE!

And for those of you who want to enjoy the Milwaukee Rep’s A Christmas Carol, you can sign up for a live stream presentation, here are some details!

photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

FREE from December 1 – 24 Mark Clements’ Classic Production of A Christmas Carol

Each year, nearly 40,000 people experience Milwaukee Rep Artistic Director Mark Clements’ epic adaptation at the beautiful historic Pabst Theater. We are opening our video vault to bring you a never-before-seen recording of the 2016 production filmed and produced by HMS Media. This production will be available for FREE to view December 1 – 24 as our gift to theater lovers worldwide.

And for more details on this presentation, click here!

AND, to receive the free link to this production please fill out the registration form via THIS LINK!

Merry Christmas!

Milwaukee Rep Cancels “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol”

This is sad news indeed. Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol was the first play scheduled for the renewed Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2020/21 season. And this was a much anticipated return of Rep favorite Lee Ernst for the holiday season. And I was looking forward to a new telling and a new viewpoint on this classic tale. But I agree with the Rep’s decision. As Wisconsin continues to set records for daily positive cases of COVID-19, it would be foolish to put the audiences and staff of the theater at risk right now.

Here is a few details from the email that I received this morning…and the full story appears here.

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the incomparable Lee E. Ernst playing more than a dozen characters in the Dickens’ classic with a unique soundscape developed by foley artist Dan Kazemi, under the direction of Artistic Director Mark Clements. Our fully realized production will be taped and distributed to a limited number of people on a first come, first served basis. The production will be available to view for $20 during the month of December. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to employ and compensate artists involved in the production. Look for more details on how you can purchase tickets later this month.

So please, make the most of this holiday season and purchase a ticket to Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. It will not only enlighten your holiday but help support the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. (something we talked about a bit ago)

And for those of you who have had a holiday tradition of seeing the Milwaukee Rep’s A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater…you don’t have to miss out on that this year either. The Rep will be streaming a complete multi-camera recording of their 2016 presentation. And these two events are not Zoom readings, but full streaming video stage presentations…so they should be a great way for all of us to celebrate the 2020 holiday season!

Mark Clements’ Classic Production of A Christmas Carol

Each year, nearly 40,000 people experience Artistic Director Mark Clements’ epic production at the beautiful, historic Pabst Theater. We are opening our video vault to bring a never-before-seen recording of the record-breaking 2016 production filmed and produced by HMS Media. The production will be available for FREE to view during the month of December on our website as our gift to theater lovers worldwide. Donations encouraged and welcomed.

emphasis mine

It seems that I have been sharing too much sad news around theater cancellations this year. But this time there is a silver lining and we have alternatives and we can still enjoy a unique and expressive A Christmas Carol in our homes.

Merry Christmas.

And again, the full details can be found here.