(Image courtesy the Center for Puppetry Arts)
You can't keep a good play down -- or a popular one, for that matter. Through Feb. 17, the Center for Puppetry Arts is currently staging a revival of Bobby Box's delicate Anne Frank: Within & Without, which uses a dollhouse motif to offer a fresh way of recounting the tragic story of a young girl during the Holocaust (Hope Mirlis is pictured). In my 2006 review, I wrote:
Anne Frank: Within & Without dispels any doubts that fresh angles for Holocaust narratives have been exhausted. The play can shock by simply recounting the plain facts of genocidal policies and the complicity of whole nations. Anne Frank's best moments use surreal symbolism: A literal Punch and Judy show recounts the increase of anti-Jewish laws, each of which accompanies another blow from the slapstick.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, the unthinkably successful Menopause the Musical is returning to the 14th Street Playhouse for a limited engagement from Feb. 22-April 20 (and if the show still packs them in, I expect it'll get extended). I reviewed the show's initial run in 2005, and somehow I suspect my comments still apply:
Four dissimilar women of a certain age meet at Bloomingdale's and bond over their biological changes. Menopausal symptoms inspire rewritten lyrics and the requisite dance steps: Insomnia leads to the disco-style "Stayin' Awake" and John Travolta moves; weight issues prompt "Lookin' for Food in All the Wrong Places" and country line dances. Menopause hinges on jokes you instantly get and would be a stretch to fill a nine-minute song medley. Yet, somehow, the show drags on for 10 times that duration.
Speaking of that venue, through Feb. 17 the 14th Street Playhouse (with True Colors Theatre Company) is staging Resurrection, a one-man show by playwright and award-winning spoken-word artist Daniel Beaty. Resurrection is new to Atlanta, but True Colors Theatre previously brought him to town for his one-man production of Emergence-SEE! at last year's National Black Arts Festival. Here you can read his take on our Culture Surfing feature from 2007.
Lastly, Steve Yockey's Octopus (reviewed this week) is getting another high-profile production following its world premiere at Actor's Express. San Francisco's Magic Theatre is adding Octopus to its 2007-2008 schedule (as a replacement for Birnham Woods by Wendy MacLeod) in May. David Jobin, Magic Theatre's managing director, commented:
Following the overwhelming response to the workshop production at the Magic, we jumped on the chance to give this play its second production before it gets produced around the country. And that it was premiered by Atlantaâs Actors Express, one of our National New Play Network partners, is an added bonus.