Full A-Team Review: Muses IV Memories of a House

The structure of a house: walls, foundation, construction and renovation can in and of itself tell a story. However, walking into a home dives deeper into the history of not only a house, but the family within it’s walls. A family can have a similar structure to that of a house; with it’s own distinct structure of foundation, and it’s fair share of weathering of time or imperfections. “Muses IV: Memories of a House” is the collaborative work of eight playwrights and five directors who construct 10 scenes in and around the Austin home of real homeowners Candyce Ossefort-Russel and Rod Russel (who are of no relation to the family depicted in the performance).

Monday, August 30, 2010. The feel when driving up to the set is almost like attending a house party. Despite the lack of music, audience members loiter around the front steps and porch (many with small cups of wine) hanging out. Concessions and box office are located snugly near the front door of the house on the porch, visible only after approaching closely, which doesn’t break the house party feel. After picking up the program from box office, everyone has time to settle or talk amongst each other. As a lone attendee this time around, I took it upon myself to dive into the program and its extensive reading material. With the program I was intrigued by the real history of the house and could learn more about the history of  Muses’ annual tradition. There wasn’t much time for getting into the details on production crew and actors (also extensive) before an announcement was made to begin preparations for the show. Continue reading

Top Weekly Events!

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

For these events and other arts listings and reviews, visit NowPlayingAustin.com!

4476997242_6b7dc10cca.jpg

1. “Bash: Three Plays”

The Vestige Group

closing tonight~!

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 13

John Fitchen from Tucson, AZ said:
“You must see this”

Wow! If you like to see plays about “happily ever after” then this is not the play for you. But if you believe in live theatre and your taste runs a little (or a lot) darker and deeper, this production will remind you why you believe. It is intimate, gut-wrenching, tender, horrible, powerful, and thought-provoking. There’s nothing cheerful here (the third part is Medea Redux, so what would you expect) but you’ll be richer for having seen it. The other reviews correctly praise the performances of all the actors, especially Jen Brown. On a personal note, I drove from Houston to see this play, knowing nothing of the company and not having seen any reviews. The delivery of the opening sentence let me know it was worth it. By the time the plays had finished it was clear this had been a highlight of a long journey. Even seeing only the third play (Medea Redux) would have justified a drive from much further away than Houston. “Bash” has gotten under my skin and it won’t let go!

bodies_main.jpg

2. Our Body: The Universe Within

H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports

April 24, 2010 – Ongoing

Avg. Event Rating (4.3 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 6

from said:
“Our Body!”

Our Body: The Universe Within is a wonderful opportunity to view a stunning and well-presented exhibit of the human body. You WILL see and understand the body like you never have before… regardless of your background. ALL of the body “items” shown have undergone a process which preserves and make them plastic-like. There are many full bodies shown in various ways so that you may study the many different and interrelated systems that make up the human body. There are also many exhibits of body parts: hands, feet, lungs, liver, muscles, etc…. available for detailed study. In terms of logistics: The exhibit is well lit, there is quiet music playing in the background, some museum patrons are silently studying the bodies, some patrons are quietly chatting with their friends about what they are viewing, there are some benches to sit down on should you need to rest…More at nowplayingaustin.wordpress.com 

-1.jpg

3. The Red Balloon

Tongue and Groove Theatre

May 20-May 30, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.4 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

from said:
“The Red Balloon”

Adults and children both will be carried away in this fun and fascinating hour of theatre–all without a spoken word. Experience the magic–from a kid’s point of view–of a day played out in mime, live music, dance, and mixed with animation! Yes, animation, what a creative media to weave with other theatrical elements to support a delightful narration. Enjoy a night where dancing with umbrellas, playground shuffles and even finding a magical balloon seem so natural and believable. Excellent acting by adults playing kid, and original music by a pot-pourri pit orchestra of fine musicians makes The Red Balloon a superbly woven, heartwarming story where you’ll float away on the magic of the story. 

getintotrouble.jpg

4. Get Yourself into Trouble

TroublePuppet Theater Company

May 27, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 2

from said:
“Trouble like this comes but once a year”

This event is always amazing! Fun, creative, interactive. Plus the raffle tickets are included in the entry fee, so everyone who shows up has a chance to win the really whimsical little puppet prizes. 

70570.jpg

5. Chris Jordan: Running the Numbers

Austin Museum of Art

May 22-August 15, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“Inspiring and Thought-Provoking!”

I continue to be amazed and delighted by the work that AMoA is bringing here to Austin!! Chris Jordan’s work is profound and I highly recommend everyone to go and see it. His large-scale digital prints resonate the true impact that today’s society has made on waste, the environment, and quality of life.

josephandtheamazing_-small_for_web.gif

6. Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Georgetown Palace Theatre, Inc.

May 7-June 6, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Larry G. from Austin, TX said:
“Great family entertainment!”

I took my family to Joseph last Saturday night and it was well worth the drive to Georgetown. The show rocked from start to finish, even better than the Donny Osmond movie. The leads were wonderful, especially Joseph and the Narrator, and everyone in the place is having a great time. You know how much we enjoyed it? We’ve bought the CD and we’re going back next weekend! 

Top Weekly Events!

Top 10 Current/Upcoming Events

4476997242_6b7dc10cca.jpg

1. “Bash: Three Plays”

The Vestige Group

May 6-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 13

Event Name: “Bash: Three Plays”
4 out of 5 stars rating “Mesmerizing Misanthropy”
Review posted by: SilverStageSiren from Austin, TX, May 10, 2010

The vestige group has succeeded in achieving what all theatre companies aspire to do: leave the audience profoundly affected by what they have witnessed. The directors know the unsettling and disturbing power that the plays they are working with provoke, and they use that power to heightened advantage, from the uncomfortably intimate staging to the unwavering eye contact made by the actors with select audience members. Neil LaBute’s work is polarizing–each of the three plays sets up a cliched scenario reminiscent of a Lifetime special, and then just as the audience begins to lose interest, the character begins a descent down a twisted path that leaves the spectator unable to do anything but wait in breathless anticipation for what the actor will say next. Directorial and acting choices that seemed inappropriate at first suddenly make perfect sense. This is a production theater lovers will relish–honest, nuanced acting, strong direction, and emotionally charged audience reaction.
m6gt_katepetsmall.jpg

2. The Taming of the Shrew- Original Practices

The Hidden Room Theatre

April 30-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Contessa from Austin, TX said:
“Fantastic!”

This was an AWESOME performance. The setting, the costumes, the music, and the actors were outstanding! This is not a performance to miss! Regardless of your feelings about Taming of the Shrew, GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION!!! You won’t be sorry! 

agnes_banner.jpg

3. Agnes of God

The City Theatre Company

April 29-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.6 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 8

Jo Ann Farrell from Austin said:
“Agnes of God”

Agnes of God is an outstanding production. The acting, direction, lighting, and stage design are all excellent. We are regular Austin theater-goers and this is one of the most impressive productions we have seen. It is surprisingly objective and painfully sensitive. Don’t miss the opportunity to see

bodies_main.jpg

4. Our Body: The Universe Within

H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports

April 24, 2010 – Ongoing

Avg. Event Rating (4.1 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 4

from said:
“Our Body”

Our Body,The Universe Within is an extraordinary exhibit in an promising new Austin museum. I left in deeper reverence and gratitude for the miracle of the human body, and for the generous souls whose bodies will forever grace humanity’s understanding of itself. This exhibit inspired me to become increasingly mindful of what I eat, as well as how and when I eat, breathe, move and exercise. Children seemed equally entranced and inspired. I heard several good questions from them, and not a trace of fear or disgust. I also left feeling even more convinced, that anything organized to work together in such an intricate awe inspiring way, has to be for some higher purpose.Hopefully, the more we understand how to do that, the better off our souls and humanity will eventually be. 

-1.jpg

5. Our Town

ZACH Theatre

April 15-May 23, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (3.8 Stars): 4 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 5

Steven Fearing from Austin, Texas said:
“Our Town’s Message”

Director Dave Steakley has brought Wilder’s Our Town to Austin with a contemporary yet timeless feel. This is commentary on our town anywhere, anytime – on human life transitions and our short time on Earth. It could easily be the small town of Grover Corners, Texas. No matter, Our Town says: pay attention to what life brings and accept the inevitable seasons of change. Jaston Williams is a perfect Stage Manager to share the story of Grover Corners and invite us to learn Wilder’s universal lessons. Jordan McRae as Emily Webb is radiant and convincing but the entire cast is great, too many to mention. The audience moved into the rehearsal studio for Act II’s wedding. We were a community together, enjoying fantastic soloist, Laura Benedict. Staging in two places worked remarkably well. Performances aside, Our Town is about the opportunity (taken or missed) of human connection during “Life”, “Love”, and “Death.” I recommend seeing this play and hearing this message again.

josephandtheamazing_-small_for_web.gif

6. Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Georgetown Palace Theatre, Inc.

May 7-June 6, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Larry G. from Austin, TX said:
“Great family entertainment!”

I took my family to Joseph last Saturday night and it was well worth the drive to Georgetown. The show rocked from start to finish, even better than the Donny Osmond movie. The leads were wonderful, especially Joseph and the Narrator, and everyone in the place is having a great time. You know how much we enjoyed it? We’ve bought the CD and we’re going back next weekend!


trunk_show.jpg

6. Out of Ink

Austin Script Works

May 13-May 22, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (5.0 Stars): 5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Charla Hathaway from Austin said:
“Theatre of the Heart”

I can just imagine the camaraderie and flurry of creativity shared by these eight play-writers as they are given three arbitrary events to include in their 10 minute story and 2 days to write it in. And the eight stories come out so different, it’s fun to sleuth out the common ingredients. Enjoy a night at grassroots theatre, not your expected polish, but so well enacted and written. Experience theatre that percolates up from the soul and spills out into an intimate theatre of friends. What would you write…something sold, something traded, something given and refused? You leave the theatre experiencing the bravery of the playwrights and then, how would you put it together?


midsummer_moth.thumbnail.jpg

7. The DREAM: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with A Rock ‘N Roll edge

Austin Shakespeare

April 29-May 30, 2010

Avg. Event Rating (4.5 Stars): 4.5 out of 5 stars rating Reviews: 1

Ruby Sinclair from Austin, TX said:
“Bottoms Up!”

There is such a wonderful feeling about seeing Shakespeare in the park. Austin Shakes is back with another wonderful and free performance at Zilker Park! The Dream is just that as fairies and wonderment come alive to lights, colors, and a live rock band! And Bottom’s performance is AWESOME! This really is a must see! And with it being free…you can see it again, and again (well…until May 30th!) 

Technical Noms

TECHNICAL

Outstanding Set Design

Theada Bellenger (Les Misérables)

Ann Marie Gordon (Oceana)

Lisa Laratta (Black Snow)

Lisa Laratta (Ophelia)

Mark Pickell and Tommy Grubbs (Killer Joe)

Cliff Simon (The Grapes of Wrath)

Continue reading

Drama Noms

DRAMAS

Outstanding Production of a Drama

Fences (City Theatre Company)

Glengarry Glen Ross (City Theatre Company)

The Grapes of Wrath (Zachary Scott Theatre Center)

Ophelia (TUTTO Theatre Company)

Orestes (Cambiare Productions) Continue reading

A- Team full Review

One of our newest A- team members wanted to share his full length review with the rest of the theatre going world…. Thanks Preston!

Good-bye Fourth Wall !

A Review of Muses III, the vestige group

by Preston Kirk


Forget the proverbial “fourth wall” between actors and audiences. Muses III, Vestige Group’s latest installment, is theater up close and personal. I’m talking arm’s length or less. Your mouth will water for the fresh-baked brownies. Pool water splashes on you. A cluttered portico (and life) pains you with unfinished projects…or relationships.

Continue reading