Be meek and seek perfection. Approval is what makes dreams come true.
In an intimate space inside the Boston Center for the Arts unfurl two simmering and intertwining tales. One dives deep into the lives of a group of college students under the tutelage of their tenured and egotistical theatre professor. The other is the centerpiece for Mamet’s play, Oleanna. This play within a play focuses on power, rivalry, perspective, image, and how manipulation comes in many forms. Who is the culprit and how innocent is a victim? Yet, it is also about something more.
Directed cleverly by Regine Vital, Fresh Ink Theatre Company presents Rachel Greene’s contemplative dramedy John Deserves to Die live and in person at Black Box Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, Massachusetts through May 13. The show is two hours and 20 min including one intermission and has some mature themes. Click here for more information and for tickets.
John Deserves to Die is not a murder mystery, but it does have its share of venom. Gripping from the start, the show is a searing, darkly humorous, and multilayer production delivered with haunting and progressive conviction. It does not just grab attention as the cast occasionally breaks the fourth wall, but it is a careful and thorough analysis of how lines can blur between right and wrong.
James Cannon’s charged sound design showcases a selection of tunes that imply or speak directly to the show’s narrative, but none fit quite as brilliantly as Britney Spears’s remixed and eerily stirring Toxic. Two multifunctional bookshelves of carefully selected works filling each side of the stage are just part of Victoria Rojo’s integral stage design and props by Victoria Hermann. Kat Lawrence’s colorful and distinct apparel thoughtfully tap into each individual’s character while Isaak Olson’s cryptic lighting lends to the show’s heated moments.
This engaging production boasts a powerful cast in which each character plays a pivotal role in the big picture. Cara Clough depicts self doubting yet determined Jen Barnett who longs for stardom through her theatre professor Daniel Holmes, depicted by Alex Jacobs. Jacobs is impressive as enigmatic Professor Holmes with easy charm, quick wit, and a deliberate way with words that make his portrayal suave and astute, while always teetering on something amiss. Clough is riveting and understated as Jen especially in her quieter moments while Ethan Williams as Steven Sanders delivers memorable and darkly humorous moments from his skewed perspective. Lorraine Victoria Kanyike as Leah, Devon Whitney as Laura, Tiffany Santiago as Andy, and Cara Clough as Jen are collectively compelling which carries through this cleverly staged production. Approval is not always what it cracks up to be, but to these four individuals, it seemingly means everything.
Fresh Ink Theatre presents Rachel Greene’s contemplative dramedy John Deserves to Die live and in person at Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, Massachusetts through May 13. The show has two select pay what you want and buy one, get one free productions. Click here for more information and for tickets.