Where we look at what was big this week with reviews from viewers like you.
1. Frankenstein: The Trouble Puppet Show
TroublePuppet Theater Company
“Puppetry and the Secret of Life”
Frankenstein, of course, is the story of a demented scientist’s attempt to invigorate the inanimate with a spark of life. In Trouble Puppet’s great production, the secret is… theater! Sort of. There’s an incredible meta-puppetry story going on here: the puppeteers bring to life the characters who bring to life their own creatures, and in some cases, their own puppets. The puppets’ puppets which come to life are emblematic of everything great about this production — there’s just so much love and character in those little guys! And there’s so much love all over this show; each character is precisely and compassionately crafted and manipulated (and beheaded, more often than not). The script, which is very funny but a little meandering, has an almost Brechtian-quality to it, using puppetry to force us to consider the world intellectually as well as emotionally. But TP’s love is what brings Frankenstein to life — many thanks to Hopkins and company for sharing it with us!
Austin Scottish Rite Theatre
What a lovely, lovely show! Thank you Hamlet cast and crew and everyone involved so much for having the dedication and passion to put this together to share with Austin… and doing it so beautifully! There were so many wonderful, wonderful moments. I’m awe-struck by how simple and clear the text was. I understood EVERY word and it was clear that all of the performers did too. Beautiful, beautiful job!! I hope that it sells out every night like a show of this caliber rightly deserves!! This is definitely a must-see in Austin!! Justin Scalise is an AMAZING Hamlet with level upon level upon level of intensity. Babs George and Julia Lorenz-Olson are also unbelievably deep and beautiful!! Truly, so are so many of the performers in this show. GO SEE IT!! My only advice is to take a pillow to sit on as the seats in the theater are a bit uncomfortable! I sincerely hope that you don’t miss this wonderful production!
3. Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection
Harry Ransom Center
A wonderful display of photographs! Have you ever heard of SALT Paper photos? I hadn’t until I saw this exhibit. Also, see the different phases of the moon from the 1800’s, quite amazing. There are so many photographs, by many wonderful photographers. It is very difficult to pinpoint anyone photo that is better than the other. I also enjoyed the display of cameras; one of my favorites was the spy camera. A really cool way to learn about photography, to see where it has been and where it is going. So get going to the Harry Ransom Center and check out this awesome exhibit and see for yourself how truly lucky we are to have a place like the Ransom Center in town!
Not a complex story but oh what life the actors breathed into the story. Casting was so on the money for this one. New faces at Zach, refreshing. The musical directions so sharp. When every element of theatre works together with a good story, this is what you get from Zach’s presentation of RENT. Outstanding, the best, the lead Andrew Cannata (Mark)weaved in and out of the storytelling so flawlessly as did Roderick (Tom), Joshua (Angel) and Ginger Leigh (Maureen)what dazzling display of raunchy but classiness. John Pointer’s voice resonates superbly throughout the production, with a few more productions, he will eventually ease into acting as superbly as he sings. This is the finest of Zach. Go See for Yourself! Viva La Vie B Boheme
5. The Tempest
All the elements in Austin Shakespeare’s production were rich, well thought out, and often dreamlike. Of course, Shakespeare’s flowing, poetic language is rich with “spillage of the mouth”; and words are the source of power in this play, which is full of magic and illusion. The lighting was gorgeous throughout from the beautiful, vivid colors to the shadows of trees on the island ground. The use of suspended media in one scene was quite inspired. The abstractness and fluidity was mesmerizing. The sound, music, and costumes also added to the simple set to spark the imagination of the audience. The directing and acting were excellent in portraying power, deceit, manipulation, revenge, notions of justice, love of family, want of freedom, mercy, and forgiveness in the play. Ariel was delightful, the actors as drunkards added humor, and others illicited sympathy or anger from the audience. Shakespeare lovers will enjoy this production, and it would be a great introduction for novices
Great stuff this week, looking forward to next week.