There are times when I walk into a production unsure of what I am about to experience and wondering if it will meet my expectations or fall short. Rarely does a show surpass my expectations, but the production of ‘The Love of the Nightingale’ I experienced this past weekend was one of those rare shows. I walked into the theatre knowing I would be seeing a darker drama, but what I didn’t expect was that it would be so compelling, thought-provoking and poignant in relation to today’s society.
‘The Love of the Nightingale’ written by Timberlake Wertenbaker and fantastically directed by Rebecca Bradshaw is a play based on Book VI of the Roman poet Ovid’s epic verse narrative Metamorphoses; which was itself adapted from earlier Greek tales of people transformed by the gods. It focuses on the lives of King Tereus, his wife Procne and her sister Philomele and is a tale about love, lies, vengeance and the cost of silence. The show included original music created by Bahar Royaee which added depth and power to the production. Strategically placed choreography, by Tyler Catanella, not only enhanced, but when combined with the original music, was a driving force within the show.
The entire cast was wonderfully unified, clearly showing just how much dedication they had for their characters and the story they were telling. My one critique is that multiple times during the performance certain actors seemed thrown off by the close proximity of the audience which resulted in them shifting their eyes and losing focus of their current scene. Nonetheless, they worked together seamlessly from the start to draw the audience into the world of the story.
One performer that never lost focus and was a fierce force to be reckoned with was Bridgette Hayes as Procne. From start to finish she was a powerhouse performer delivering a wide range of emotional depth and smart character choices. Other actors delivering notable performances were Jeff Marcus who was a cunning and deceitful Tereus and Lauren Elias as the sweet and naïve Philomele. The cast also included Liz Adams (Niobe), Aina Adler (Helen/Nurse), Rachel Belleman (Hero/Aphrodite), Blyss Cleveland (Iris/Chorus), Scot Colford (1st Soldier/Thesaus/ Male Ensemble), Jenny Leopold (Queen/ June), Ryan MacPherson (Captain/Male Ensemble), Will Madden (2nd Soldier/ Hippolytus/Male Ensemble), Eric McGowan (Greek Chorus/Male Ensemble), George Page (King Pandion/Male Ensemble), Shanie Schwartzman (Echo/Phaedre/ Servant), and Edan Zinn (Itys).
Overall, this production was well put on by a consistently connected cast. The message about the high cost of silence and the need to find the power of one’s voice was clearly portrayed by this talented group of actors. The 90 minute, thought-provoking play ‘The Love of the Nightingale’ is being performed through November 21st at First Church Boston located at 66 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA. For more information and tickets visit http://www.hubtheatreboston.org/. Due to the complex and adult subject matter it is a play for a mature audience. Tickets for all shows are set as “pay-what-you-can”; therefore there is no reason not to go see this production!
For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com