Saturday, March 14, 2020

Quarantine Playwriting Bake Off - Monday through Wednesday 3/16 to 3/18 - calling all writers :)


COVID-19 has left us college students in theatre programs across the country without in person classes and valuable training. So, with this time off, JOIN US, three students from the UMN/Guthrie BFA Acting program, for a playwriting challenge loosely based on Paula Vogel’s Bake-Offs.

We will send you a few “ingredients” to include in an original short play (10-30 pages) and you will have 32 hours to write.

Here’s how it will work:

1) 10 AM CST- Monday March 16th: We’ll email you with the 5 ingredients that need to be in your play (these will be five elements that have to be included in the short play, otherwise you have full creative license, anything goes!).

2) Then, you have until 6 PM CST on Tuesday March 17th to submit your short play (10-30 pages) to with your name and a little bit about you.

3) We will then read all the plays sent to us and choose 10 plays to be read live virtually on YoutubeLive featuring some UMN/Guthrie BFA Students on Wednesday March 18th at 6pm CST.

(Even if you don't write, JOIN US!) Ideally this part would be done live, but we adapt!

To say these are “trying times,” would be a massive understatement. With a lot of artists/freelancers not working, this is a great way to keep our artistic muscles active and to find a supportive community of artists. I hope these plays will be a response to the times in REAL time.

Never written before? Published playwright? Somewhere in between? 5 to 95! ALL VOICES WELCOME! No experience required, but RISKS are required! There are no critiques, just some time to enjoy each other's work.

If you're interested in participated, email before Monday!


We want as many voices as possible!

Non-Review - Lipstick: A Queer Farce - Gadfly Productions (just inches away)

Thought I might actually see some theater tonight but, sadly, COVID-19 strikes again.

The production, the latest from Gadfly:

"Lipstick is a silly, sweet farce with a heart of gold and a drawer full of sex toys.

Anna has invited Kelly over for dinner, but is it a date? Or just hanging out? How could Anna know?! Is Kelly even gay?! Kelly wears earrings AND boots! Just in case that wasn’t confusing enough, a cavalcade of visitors crashes their evening – an ex-girlfriend, a best friend, a handyman, a mom, and a parade of potential suitors. Hijinks, of course, ensue, in this play-shaped love letter to the queer community."

I was actually listening to some news discussion of flattening the curve, social distancing, etc. and wondering about the wisdom of going - but I had a friend in the cast, and another friend I hadn't seen in a while who was attending with me and they were willing to hazard the potential virus gauntlet.

Got in the car, opened the garage door, flipped open my phone to turn on some music for the journey and found a facebook notification

"Lipstick: A Queer Farce is canceled."

Used the phone to call my friend and let him know, so he didn't leave for the theater.

Also used the phone to text my friend in the cast some condolences.

They had their opening night last night, at least, but they're robbed of the rest of the run, which is sad.

Guess I'll have to wait a little longer to see that friend on stage again.

It may be a while before I see anyone on stage again, come to think of it.

In a theater town where there's so much art that I frequently feel overwhelmed with too much to choose from, it is extremely weird to suddenly have no live theater to see.

That's how I'm going to know things are finally normal again - when theater comes back and we're all not to scared to go see it.

Say a little prayer, folks.  Given the current competence of our federal government, it may be a while...

Non-Review - Through The Narrows - Z Puppets Rosenschnoz - (online video solution)

Back at the beginning of February, I got an intriguing press release from a company of puppeteers:
An intimate puppetry experience intertwining stories of the
Jews crossing the Red Sea and the Cherokee Trail of Tears
A Watch it, Make it, Take it Event
Z Puppets welcomes people to take a place at the table for a uniquely intimate puppetry experience intertwining stories of the Jews Crossing the Red Sea and the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Sliding across centuries and continents with the live global music fusion of Greg Herriges, these stories travel the rich emotional landscape from struggle to triumph. Directed by noted arts activist Laurie Witzkowski.

WATCH IT: Award-winning puppetry artists Shari Aronson and Chris Griffith, a Cherokee Tribal member, share stories inspired by their own ancestry. A 3500 year-old Jewish woman and a 6-yr old Cherokee boy fill in parts of history that often go missing.

MAKE IT: After the 1-hour performance, Z Puppets leads the audience step by step to make "power figures" — small puppets to represent someone to call on for strength when facing hardship.

TAKE IT: People take their power figures out into the world to find the next steps through life's narrow passages!

Each event is limited to 25 seats and advance tickets are encouraged. Last year's performances sold out quickly. Tickets and a Before You Go Guide available at

Audience members who attended Through the Narrows in 2019 commented: "It felt like a spell was over the whole place; like it was alive with all the ancestors of that place and all of us who were there," and "Very glad that this story about how to get through narrow passages in life is being told in such a thoughtful way."

Z Puppets Rosenschnoz is a Minneapolis company that brings people into the power of playfulness for feats of imagination, through performances, workshops and interactive environments. 
Led by Shari Aronson and Chris Griffith, their performances combine hand-crafted puppetry, quirky humor and live music. Their work has won honors from the Ivey Awards, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Jim Henson Foundation and Puppeteers of America.
Shari Aronson has written plays and developed exhibits for the MN History Center, Science Museum of MN, Mill City Museum, MN Children’s Museum and the City of Maplewood. Shari’s stage adaptation of Eric Kimmel’s beloved children’s book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins has been produced by professional and youth theaters across the country, including the MN Jewish Theatre Company.
Chris Griffith began as a solo juggler/street performer before falling into a life of a puppetry and arts education with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre, Galumph Interactive Theatre, and Children’s Theater Company. In 2009, Chris won an Ivey Award for his puppetry design. Through the Narrows is the first in a series of work Chris is developing based in the family stories, research, and personal experience of being an enrolled Cherokee tribal member.
Greg Herriges is an internationally recognized virtuoso performer and composer with musical expertise that spans international and improvisational traditions (Middle East, Asia, India). A Bush and McKnight Foundation grantee, Greg has composed and performed music for In the Heart of the Beast  Puppet and Mask Theatre, performer Zaraawar Mistry, Twin Cities Public Television, and independent film soundtracks. 

Through the Narrows is directed by Laurie Witzkowski, a theater maker and community activist whose work has been featured locally (In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre, Theater Mu, Mixed Precipitation, TigerLion Arts, Bedlam) and internationally, in venues from Lincoln Center to war zones, prisons and sacred sites.
Got all set up with press tickets for their opening next Saturday, and then, Friday evening, another email:

"Due to COVID19, we are canceling our live performances of Through the Narrows.

On March 21, to Celebrate World Puppetry Day, we will be releasing a high quality online audio performance, featuring photos of scenes by Bruce Silcox.

Click here to see our short video message about this audio webcast:

As a ticket holder, you will automatically receive the password for this webcast on March 21st.

Like many other artists, we are facing a significant loss of income due to COVID19.

If you would like to offer your purchase as a contribution to Z Puppets, we truly appreciate your support, and no further action is needed.

The Through the Narrows audio webcast will be available for free to all Native American tribal members and by pay-what-you-will donation at this link:

As people who are around elderly and those with compromised immune systems, we take the mission of flattening the curve of COVID19 very seriously. We also believe that now more than ever the arts are a vital way for us to keep our spirits and community alive. 

Let's find the next step through life's narrow passages together!

Thank you and be well!

Shari & Chris 

Creative Directors, Z Puppets Rosenschnoz"
So, they've already come up with a creative solution for still getting the art to people.  I'm really looking forward to seeing/hearing it, even if I can't be in the same room with the puppets, or make a puppet of my own (nothing stopping me from making a puppet by myself, I guess - but should I be trusted to make a puppet alone without professionals to oversee the project)


Non-Review - Redwood - Jungle Theater - (hurry back)

The first play on my reviewing schedule to fall was Jungle Theater's Redwood

"An unforgettable new play by a thought-provoking and witty playwright.

Meg and Drew, an interracial couple, are thrown into crisis when Meg’s uncle discovers Drew belongs to the family that owned Meg’s relatives in an antebellum Kentucky. What are the ways love can and cannot transcend both modern social barriers and historical power structures? Meg and Drew must learn if it is possible to forgive, champion, or fully understand a person who is beloved but fundamentally other."

Shortly after the Minnesota governor declared a state of emergency, I got the following email from the Jungle Theater.

"These are unprecedented times, and the Jungle, like every other theater in the country, is trying to make the best decisions in swirling waters, ensuring the health and safety of everyone who engages with the theater.

REDWOOD’s director, actors, designers and crew have invested untold hours of skill, talent and heart to bring to life this beautiful play by Brittany K. Allen. Following orders by governor Tim Walz to cancel or postpone all community events while honoring our team’s hard work, we have made the decision to indefinitely postpone REDWOOD performances, with the intention of getting the play back up on stage as soon as conditions improve.

Our box office will be reaching out to all REDWOOD ticket holders with updates and options on their tickets. Updates will be available via social media and the Jungle's website.

We thank all of our patrons, subscribers, and supporters for their patience and understanding in this time of uncertainty."

I feel very badly for everyone involved.  They got through a couple of previews, were about to have their media night on Friday, and officially open on Saturday.  To put in all that work and get so close...

Hang in there, my artists friends.  Rough waters ahead for all of us, it seems.

Review - Sueno - Pangea World Theater - An Alternate Fairy Tale Reality Worth Escaping To - 4.5 stars

It’s a shame that current events are, quite understandably, making people skittish about going out to the theater - assuming of course that whatever theater you were planning on attending hasn’t already canceled their performances.  Because there is, or has been, a lot of really good theater going on lately.  One example, Sueno from Pangea World Theater that was, perhaps still is, playing at the Lab Theater in the Warehouse district of Minneapolis.

“Isn’t it interesting that the prophets of doom are never wrong?”

Sueno is the translation/adaptation by award-winning playwright Jose Rivera (Marisol) of Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s classic 17th Spanish play Life Is A Dream (of which I vaguely recall seeing in a production of the original back in grad school - the only things I remember being the title and the fact that the set designer went crazy in a good way with multiple vividly colored doors in frames rolling around on wheels - coincidentally enough, a lot of things rolling around on wheels in this production as well).

“You speak well.  That’s a dangerous quality for a man of action.”

The king of Spain, Basillio, (Pedro Bayon) gets a lot of bad news all at once.  His wife dies in childbirth and the horoscope for his son predicts nothing good for the king is on the way.  So he ships the infant off to a prison hidden in the side of a rocky cliff face to grow up far away from the royal court where he can hopefully do less harm.  A hard life doesn’t do wonders for the people skills of the young prince, Segismundo (Fernando Collado).  The king’s right hand man, and the prince’s jailer, Clotaldo (Ernest Briggs), keeps an eye on things.  But of course the guy is destined to get out of prison at some point.  Just as Segismundo emerges, he crosses paths with Rosaura (Ankita Ashrit) - disguised as a man for safety in her travels (she’s on a mission) - and her trusty sidekick Clarin (Adlyn Carreras, in a clever bit of gender-blind casting).

“Life is borrowed, and it must be returned.”

The king decides to give the prince a test drive at court, see if his son can behave himself after all.  And if it doesn’t work out, they can always just ship him back to his prison and lock him up again, gaslighting him into thinking it was all a dream and he was never really a prince after all.  Elsewhere in the royal court, the visiting Duke of Warsaw, Astolfo (Nicholas Sullivan) is playing politics for both power, and with luck, a mutually beneficial union in marriage with the princess Estrella (Katia Cardenas).  Rounding out the ensemble are Amarkirat Singh and Keila Anali Saucedo, playing supporting roles in skirmishes both political and literal, out on the field of battle.  Before we’re done, no one’s entirely sure what reality they’re living in, and quite a few battles large and small are settled in unexpected ways.

“Strange new constellations pollute the night sky.”

Rivera’s poetic and sexy way with words is the big draw here and the actors who fare the best make the most of this juicy playing material.  Director Leslie Ishii (along with assistant director Sir Curtis Kirby III) get sometimes mixed results from the ensemble.  Three key performers - Fernando Collado as Segismundo, Ankita Ashrit as Rosaura, and Ernest Briggs as Clotaldo - all fully engage with the reality of this fantasy world/dark fairy tale and even though the situations are outrageous, they’re always three-dimensionally human within it, so we believe.  We have anchors we can follow.  Collado’s Segismundo is a deeply flawed leading man to have at the center of a story, but over time even he gets that.  He may not be redeemed or forgiven, but by the end he is not the man he was and that’s a good thing.  Ahrit’s Rosaura is the rare woman in the world of this play who is not just an object or a victim, and her portrayal takes things one step further, making her an active participant, driving the action, even though her society is designed to rein her in.  Briggs’ Clotaldo, because of his stage presence as an actor, always seems more important than the plot sometimes makes him appear.  There’s always something going on under the surface of his lines and behind his eyes that’s compelling you as an audience member to pay attention.  In the end, he turns out to be just as pivotal as you suspect, just in a manner you had no way of guessing. 

“I know my pain would be a joy to you and you’d wear it gladly.”

And as much as the clowns of these old stories sometimes grate on my nerves, I have to admit that Adlyn Carreras as Clarin avoids most of the pitfalls that kind of character can fall into, and becomes another key figure worth watching and caring about.  Some of the other cast members fall victim to playing just the fairy tale surface of things, more caricature than human being.  The story and the script make this an easy mistake to fall prey to, so I can understand how it happened.  Others in the ensemble sometimes think volume equals intensity or feeling - we could do with a little less shouting and a little more connecting.  But Sueno is such a fast-moving tale, particularly in the action-packed second half with full-scale/full-cast battles consuming the full stage of the vast Lab Theater, that temporary hiccups like that can be forgiven in the evening as a whole.

“God’s actual fingerprints are there.”

Speaking of action, Joel Sass’ set is fantastic, a combination of wooden platforms (and a wooden moon) and numerous moving metal panels on wheels serving as walls and doors and anything else that’s needed, plus an imposing rolling ladder with a platform high above our heads.  The whole thing moves and reshapes itself in a variety of configurations, sometimes moving just as gracefully or speedily as the actors themselves.  Mike Grogan’s lighting design helps to focus audience attention so the story doesn’t get lost in the big Lab Theater space - and that’s a huge help to the story.  It could easily fall apart without that guiding light, helping to set not just location but mood - and again, that wooden moon - a combination of set and lighting work, just lovely. 

“I read once, in one of the many theological treatises I ate…”

The costumes from designer Mary Anne Kelling (with assistance from Laura Jones) really nailed the difference between characters of high and low estate - the prince in prison, and the various underling characters had clothes to fit their fortunes, while the characters in the royal court really stood out with color and even sparkled.  The visual extremes helped set up the boundaries of this otherworldly story.  Since I can’t pinpoint any elements of Eric Gonzalez’s sound design, it has to be one of those that fit the world of Sueno so perfectly that it didn’t stand out by being too flashy and calling attention to itself, or so out of place that it seemed wrong.  It rode the middle line and bolstered the tale as needed. 

“Liars and promise-breakers hold a special place in the inferno of my heart.”

If ever a show needed both a violence and intimacy choreographer (sometimes disturbingly mixed together), it’s Sueno, so they’re lucky to have had David P. Schneider on the case.  Both just realistic enough to make you uncomfortable but not enough to drive anyone onstage or off over the edge.  And with such a large stage and cast, using big design elements and moving through a story of many locations and subplots at a brisk pace, including some full-on war taking place, kudos to stage manager Suzanne Victoria Cross and ASM Johanna Keller Flores for keeping the whole thing on course from start to finish.  That fact that your work was completely invisible and the show ran smoothly means you were probably working your tails off the whole night.

“Dear God, please don’t wake me up.  And if I’m awake, please don’t let me sleep too soon.”

Pangea World Theater’s sprawling, epic production of Sueno posits that if we considered our life, both the good things and the bad things, as a dream we might easily wake up from at any moment, maybe we’d pay closer attention and appreciate the good things, not take them for granted as lasting forever. We might also bear the bad things with more grace, since they, too, are transitory.  It’s because we think we have all the time in the world that we can waste a lot of our time without meaning to.  And we can get run down by thinking during the bad times that things are never going to change, or that events are out of our control to influence, when that’s very likely not true at all.  Perhaps especially now, it’s good to be awakened to the positive moments in the midst of trying times.  Hopefully we’ll still appreciate the good times when they are - with luck and perseverance - more plentiful in the future.

“Whatever God writes in the book of destiny cannot be rewritten, just mistranslated.”

Take care and be well, everyone - whatever reality you’re choosing to live in.  (Viruses permitting, Sueno performs through March 22, 2020 at the Lab Theater)

4.5 stars - Very Highly Recommended

[Photo: Fernando Collado as Segismundo in Pangea World Theater’s production of Sueno; photography by Bruce Silcox]

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Review - Saint Joan - Orchard Theater Collective - Fantastic Theater from True Believers - 5 Stars

The Orchard Theater Collective’s production of Saint Joan is fantastic.  (And I don’t say that lightly.). Honestly, just skip the rest of this review and just go.  If you love theater half as much as this crew obviously loves theater, you’ll all get along fine and be happy you got a chance to hang out for a couple of hours.

“Her heart would not burn.  It would not drown.”

What’s it about?  Joan of Arc, a young woman in the 15th century who claimed to hear voices from God instructing her to lead an army to drive the invading British out of France, and see French prince Charles crowned a king.  (Historical spoilers) Shortly after completing her mission, Joan was captured by the British, who tried her for witchcraft and heresy and burned her at the stake.  20 years later, King Charles VII ordered a new trial to clear Joan’s name and restore her reputation.  Many people in France considered her to be a saint, long before the Catholic Church got around to making it official in the early 20th century.

So, not a musical comedy.  But not without a lot of laughs all the same (that’s Shaw’s thing, whip-smart humor), and incredibly compelling theater to watch.

“The cathedral is empty, and the streets are full.”

The past year from a personal/family standpoint has been pretty traumatic.  I used to be able to just go see any theater production and find something to enjoy because, hey, it’s theater and there’s something just inherently fun and exciting about live performance.  It’s been hard to connect with theater again, as a writer or an audience member, since the deaths in my family, because, well, the foundations of your world get knocked out of alignment, it’s hard to give a crap about telling stories.  It’s still important, of course. It’s just hard to claw your way back to some kind of normalcy where you feel you can allow yourself to expend emotional energy on something imaginary.  It’s an ongoing process.  I’m nowhere near the end of it.  But I realized that it was a good sign at the start of 2020 when I actually found myself getting a little intrigued about the idea of seeing this or that play or theater company, or feel regret when I knew I was going to have to miss something because of scheduling and realize that meant I was genuinely interested in seeing it in the first place.  There are certain things I’m still just not up for.  No rhyme or reason to it, I just feel it in my gut and I’ve learned not to fight it for now.  Every day I open up a little more.  Every day it gets a little better.  Theater actually is helping.  One production pries open a little extra space for some other kind of theater to get in.

“She is the last card left in our hand.  Better play her than give up the game.”

So why a George Bernard Shaw play, tucked away in small, traditional chapel off to the side of the Plymouth Congregational Church’s more sprawling, modern community space?  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m familiar with some Shaw but not Saint Joan specifically.  More than anything I was curious about the Orchard Theater Collective because they’ve been producing shows for a couple of years but I’d only just tripped over a mention of them in a couple of artists’ bios in the program at another production (weirdly enough also in a converted church space).   Did some internet homework, had that little nudge in my brain that said, oh go on, you’re curious, that has to count for something.

“Put courage into the others but leave me alone.”

Saint Joan is the kind of production that takes a logistical challenge and uses it as a springboard to create better art than they might have come up with if they had it easy.  The chapel is intimate, but at the same time it has one of those high vaulted ceilings that makes the space seem vast, if you just think to look up now and again.  Characters can be both enormous, and very small, depending on the perspective that the production and the actors bring to any given moment.  The choir loft isn’t just a place to sequester the stage manager, there are times when voices or sound effects emanate from it, again drawing our eyes upward.  The space just outside the chapel doors is alive with sound and activity throughout the production, and the hint of light from beyond the narthex continues that sense of the larger world outside the story in front of us.  The audience seating is reconfigured at intermission to open up the space even as the world is closing in on Joan - making her seem smaller, and the forces raised against her larger.  Director Benjamin Robert Shaw has staged the hell out of this thing.  And not in a flashy way that says, hey audience, look what we’re doing, aren’t we clever?  It’s only after the whole production washes over you and you’re thinking about it later that you realize, damn, that was a subtle but absolutely brilliant move.

“The pit is open at her feet. We cannot keep her from it.”

And the cast, oh the cast!  Again, the word fantastic more than applies to everyone across the board, starting with Annie Shiferl as Joan.  Shiferl is electrifying in the way she embodies Joan, you can’t take your eyes off of her.  She makes Joan fully human, which it tricky when you’re dealing with someone who hears voices and claims divine intervention drives her actions.  It’s not just the other characters telling you that Joan is mesmerizing, when you’re in Shiferl’s presence in this role, you believe it, too.

“The devil has betrayed you.  The church holds out its arms for you.”

The other four actors in this ensemble all play multiple roles - three, four, sometimes five characters.  Jorie Kosel’s costume design is deceptively simple, and perfect.  The looks for all the characters are vivid, sometimes grotesque, but always in keeping with the period and Shaw’s larger than life canvas.  For those who need a little help telling people apart with visual cues, Kosel’s costumes do the trick.  But honestly, these actors almost don’t need any help. 

“Your little hour of miracles is over.”

The acting work here by Meg Bradley, Craig Johnson, Damian Leverett, and Tim Sailer is so good, you always know exactly who they are.  Everything they do is incredibly precise.  It’s stunning stuff. GB Shaw’s script and BR Shaw’s direction give the whole cast rich material and countless opportunities and they make the most of every bit of it.  Bradley goes from being a corrupt church official in the French royal court to another church leader at Joan’s trial striving mightily to help Joan save herself to a bewildered executioner.  Sailer is equally at home as a soldier in waiting, a petulant prince or an incensed self-important church leader calling for Joan’s damnation.  Leverett is also quite an impressive chameleon throughout.  And there is a sequence in the final scene of the play where all he does is take off a hat, stand up and change his voice and suddenly he’s not a comical low-ranking military grunt, he’s a leading man in one of those black and white heroic period films they don’t make anymore.  He does something so small and suddenly he’s a completely different person.  Even simple moments like that can be thrilling to watch.

“Some of them would steal the Pope’s horse if they had the chance.”

Johnson works some real magic here, whether he’s a befuddled French lord swept up in Joan’s mission, a lowly born enlisted man willing to follow her into battle, a calculating British man plotting the politics of Joan’s downfall, or an Inquisitor shipped in from France to seal Joan’s fate.  The Inquisitor in particular is a genius piece of character work, backed up by a wonderfully unsettling costume choice.  The man never raises his voice, never seems unreasonable, is often quite amusing, and is at all times ready to sentence you to death.  It is freaky, and wonderful to see happen right in front of you.

“If you could bring her back to life, they would burn her again within six months.”

At its base, theater is just words and people.  People on stage and people in the seats watching them. The Orchard Theater Collective gets that.  They put the fundamentals front and center and it is bracing to be in the same room with it while it’s happening.  This production of Saint Joan reminds me why I love theater, and boy do I need that right now.

“God is no man’s daily drudge, and no maid’s either.”

Of course, you need to be able to see those people for it to work, so let’s not forget Alex Clark’s lighting design.  Lighting a show in a church, with no standard grid built into the space from which to hang and position lighting instruments is a challenge that Clark clearly enjoyed tackling.  The stark lighting of Joan’s trial scene is chilling, but always reinforcing rather than overpowering the scene at hand.  The extended dream sequence that is the final scene makes full use of the entire space from chapel to outer lobby and here again, Clark knows how to play with light and shadow and support rather than wreck the otherworldly quality that the scene needs to maintain.  But I think my favorite scene is when it feels (deceptively so) like there’s very little light at all, between Joan and that fellow soldier leading man character of Leverett’s.  The two are getting ready to go into battle, and having a disagreement on how best to do it.  But it’s also an intimate scene about who they both are, and what they feel called to do.  The semi-darkness surrounds all of us, making the audience part of their secret meeting.  And the light from outside (I can’t think it’s an accident, it must be deliberate) provides just enough illumination to make the colors pop in the stained glass windows all around us.  Gorgeous.

“Thirty thousand thunders, fifty thousand devils!”

And as adept as this ensemble of actors is at creating a whole world with just a handful of people, it really helps complete that illusion by having the sound effects of crowds and battle to augment key moments both within and between scenes.  Director Shaw does double duty himself on sound design.  And stage manager Sarah Perron helps everyone keep all these balls in the air and making it look easy.

“I hear voices telling me what to do.  They come from God.”

In what can often feel like a dark time these days, a time I really need to believe in something better, it’s uplifting to watch people who do believe, and fervently.  That’s both Joan and company within the play Saint Joan itself, and the Orchard Theater Collective as a whole presenting the play, almost as if theater might be the cure for what ails us, body and soul.

(I know, I know.  Shaw.  History.  Religion.  Ugh.  Forget all that.)

Trust me.  Go.  See Saint Joan.  Just go.

(The Orchard Theater Collective’s production of Saint Joan runs through March 21, 2020 in the chapel at Plymouth Congregational Church.  Heads up, early start time, 7pm)

5 stars - Very Highly Recommended

[Photo: Joan (Annie Shiferl) on trial, Brother Martin (Damian Leverett) at her side in the Orchard Theater Collective’s production of Saint Joan; photography by Alex Clark]