Reviews of ETE Productions
Reviews of A Dream Play
In Caryl Churchill's new adaptation of August Strindberg's play, the
struggles of life are made clear to Agnes, a woman sent from "God, gods. . .
whatever," to find out how difficult living is for us here on earth. Kudos to the
Edge Theatre Ensemble for taking on such a task, made even harder by
using Meyerhold's Biomechanics technique.... The amount of work put into
this production was palpable throughout… -
- Dylan Sladky, Seattle Weekly
"A Dream Play" is to nihilism as "The Skin of Our Teeth" (performing at
Intiman Theatre) is to humanism. When it comes to expressionism, the
plays are about even. Whereas Wilder figures that all in all the good
outweighs the bad and survival is worth struggling for, August Strindberg
catalogs woe after woe and concludes that annihilation is the answer. Both
playwrights, however, abandon realistic characters and incidents in favor of
high-definition scenes that express vivid emotions and ideas...
Director Dorothy Cosby Atkinson's Edge Theatre Ensemble production of "A
Dream Play" renders Strindberg's vision as a fever dream -- a nightmare,
really. This is partly because Atkinson uses a 2005 adaptation of the drama
by British playwright Caryl Churchill. Churchill intensifies and tightens
Strindberg's sometimes meandering compendium of distresses.
The nine Edge performers fling themselves into energetic depictions of
misfortune. As Agnes, Precious Butiu is a bewildered, outraged sort of
victim. As if in a Buddhist parable, she learns that desire and aversion, along
with unavoidable change and chronic vanity, are the causes of suffering.
And, as a wise Buddhist would, Butiu's Agnes tempers revulsion with
compassion. Just a tiny bit of compassion. Even the most doctrinaire
nihilism can accommodate a tiny bit of compassion.
Enhancing the nightmare expressionism are sinister sound and lighting by,
respectively, Jason Gorgen and Sara Torres.
Any Strindberg production tends to be at least a little hokey. The man was
so neurotic that it is impossible to take all his effusions seriously (unless, of
course, you are just as neurotic as Strindberg and neurotic in exactly the
same way he was). The Edge Ensemble production, however, without being
excessively hokey, dramatizes the essence of Strindbergian anguish.
- Joe Adock, Seattle PI
Go to A Dream Play
Reviews of Antigone
This is a powerful ensemble cast. Their interaction on a stark set with a
screen backdrop is wonderfully supported by the scoring of this piece -
almost all percussion, yet never intrusive on the action of the text. The
direction was clear and the choreography quite beautiful, and at times damn
hot! All these elements fused without intrusion to heighten one important
thing - the telling of the story. The work of the chorus performers in
particular moved me, with their ability to stay connected as characters,
while driving the piece and connecting with the audience. Suffice to say this
production draws modern parallels without any preaching. I had expected to
exit from a late show of Greek tragedy feeling exhausted. Instead I emerged
energized by the gifts of a powerful production.
--Orla Mc Govern, Seattle Fringe Website Online Reviews
“These laws are not for today or yesterday. They are for ever.” Sophocles
scribed these words – or their Greek equivalent – in this classic tragedy.
Antigone faces death for an act of civil disobedience, burying her outlaw
rebel brother despite King Creon’s decree. Edge Theatre measures how
Sophocles’ truth holds up in another era challenged by the threat of violence
and the need to contain it. Gutsy performances all around…The Greek
Chorus who are our guides are here re-imagined as a journalist, a minister,
and a business professional. They attend to the kingdom’s moral dilemma in
cunningly choreographed sequences. As they wipe themselves clean over
and over again, we rediscover Sophocles’ truth 26 centuries later. Even in
times of unrest, the laws of compassion are indeed forever.
--Cygnus, Seattle Fringe Review Rag
Go to Antigone
Reviews of Baby with the Bathwater
A very committed cast performs Christopher Durang’s absurdist play about
all the ways to not bring up a baby with high energy and a frenzied pace.
Satirizing the materialistic mentality of 1980’s America, this black comedy
depicts two screwball parents who miraculously manage to raise a baby
into adulthood despite being so self-absorbed that they don’t even know if
their child is a boy or a girl. While Jim Hamerlinck and especially Heather
Poulsen (whose voice is eerily similar to Tony-award winner Kristen
Chenoweth) are to be commended for their high intensity performances as
the parents, it’s Órla McGovern who steals the show as a baby snatching
guest, in a star turn that is utterly hilarious yet entirely believable. Nicole
Pearson also shines as the girl who brings a ray of hope into this wild and
--Kathy Hsieh, Seattle Fringe Review Rag
The program cover for this piece by Christopher Durang (directed by
Dorothy Cosby) says “Parents make mistakes. Daisy’s parents pulled out all
the stops.” And how. This absurdist comedy is almost indescribable; I did
not take many notes. A cast of nine, led by Jim Hamerlinck and Heather
Poulsen as Mom and Dad, mis-raise Daisy (first a bundle, later Ralph
Bodenner) from infancy to age thirty, deluding themselves about every
aspect of his nature, from his gender to his psyche. The opening act is the
most successful. As the show progresses through the later stages of
Daisy's life, it slows down; the cast is unable to sustain the manic energy
that the opening hour brings. But it’s still fun to watch, and the concluding
statement about the cyclical nature of child-rearing is all too true.
--Joe Boling, TPS Online reviews
This production of Baby with the Bathwater is a scream! Director Cosby
turns the craziness up several notches and the result is a giddy, hysterical
ride through the lives of the Dingleberry family. The staging and movement
work is brilliant. The cast is outstanding: Susan Alotrico as the Nanny is
delicious, Orla McGovern is note perfect and touching, and Heather Poulsen
in perhaps the most challenging role as Daisy's mother teeters between
outrageously ridiculous and heartfelt. The energy of the play was so
incredible, I wanted to run right out in front of a moving bus (you have to see
the play to get this)! Great job everyone. Congratulations!
—Neil Vora, Seattle Fringe website
Go to Baby with the Bathwater