10 Best Things on Stage in 2011

12/21/2011 4:00 AM |

6. The Tempest

Target Margin Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s surreal final play at HERE in May was appropriately magical, conjuring a postmodern storm that playfully incorporated period costumes, contemporary details, strong color-, age- and gender-blind casting, electronic music and candle lighting. Amidst the spectacular design the text remained dominant, and the actors navigated it superbly.

7. The Tremendous Tremendous

The Mad Ones’ hilarious vaudevillian romp lived up to the promise of its title. Five tremendous actors portray five tremendous actors acting, watching each other act and brilliantly babbling backstage on the night of their last performance in the 1939 World’s Fair. One room, one act, one hour—a real-time tour-de-force.

8. The Tenant

Shoestring site-specific theater geniuses the Woodshed Collective returned in style after a two-year hiatus, turning the massive West-Park Presbyterian Church and Parish House into a Parisian neighborhood for this creepily funny and gripping choose-your-own-adventure staging of Roland Topor’s 1964 novel (and Polanski’s screen adaptation thereof).

9. The Normal Heart
If you’d become complacent about AIDS, you needed to have your heart broken by the Broadway debut of this scared, confused and vitriolic play from 1985 about gay activists during the disease’s early days.

10. The Threepenny Opera
Stage auteur Robert Wilson’s clowning, Pop-minimalist take on the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill opera combined silent film makeup and movements with a slick, Dan Flavin-like set design and cabaret-like musical numbers. The production’s anti-bank finale was especially apt in early October.

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