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February 10, 2017     Post-Gazette
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February 10, 2017

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POST-GAZETtE, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 PAGE 5 Brecht on Brecht Directed by Jim Petosa New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA Through March 5th Carla Martinez, Brad Daniel Peloquin, Jake Murphy, and Christine Hamel, with Matthew Stern on Piano. (Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures) wwwdepasc Bertolt Brecht envisioned plays being performed in set- tings much the way a boxing match is. He felt the audience (crowd) should not Become lost in the production, but rather stay aware of the fact they are watching a play and to think about what they are witness- ing. He believed in the use of harsh lighting that did not hide the audience. He also wanted people to engage in the~ ideas that were being presented. This method became known as Epic Theatre. The Black Box Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts is the perfect venue for such a work, and the New Repertory Theatre under the direction of Jim Petosa has given us a wonderful opportunity to see this type of theatre close up, as it should be. With the audience seated on three sides of the stage and the lights kept up throughout most of the piece, the actors engage the spectators, as Brecht preferred to call the audience. There are four actors, all of whom represent some aspect of Bertolt Brecht. They are accompanied by Matthew Stern on piano. The poetry and lyrics are all from Brecht. At times it can be a bit chaotic, some- times reminiscent of a beatnik coffee house poetry session -- a bit madcap, but always engag- ing. The actors arrive noisily on the black and white stage in a shopping cart and are wearing bright red clown noses. They immediately dis- rupt things by knocking over music stands and making firm eye contact with the spec- tators. The actors, Christine Hamel, Brad Daniel Peloquin, Carla Martinez, and Jake Murphy, are listed in the program as Mature Woman, Mature Man, Young Woman, and Young Man respectively. All are very engag- r ] Old North Church's Donation Pew Box is Open CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE H~LP SOMEBODY ~NA~ ~S HO~EL~5 TOgAY The Old North Church's donation pew box is open again! The recipi- ents of your generous donations will be the homeless guests of the Boston Warm Day Center at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street. The Day Center is open Mondays and Fridays from 8:00 am-l:00 pm and offers a safe and secure area for the homeless to rest and get warm, a caring staff, and nourishment for all. We can only accept these listed items: Adult sized gently used or new coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and gloves New socks Personal health products: like hand wipes, toothpaste and tooth- brushes, shaving cream and razors, mini bottles of shampoo, and soap. Items can be dropped off in our donation pew box in the back of the church. The church is open from 10:00 am- 4:00 pm everyday. The aid North Church is located at 193 Salem Street, North End, Boston. For more information, please call 617-858-8231, or visit J ing, which is exactly what this work is meant to be. We hear Brecht's thoughts on many subjects, including the plight of the intellectual under totalitarian regimes (in one case an author was upset his books had not been destroyed), and theatre. The piece on theatre reminded me of Shakespeare's advice to the players in Hamlet. While the dialog can be provoca- tive, different conclusions can be drawn from it. Brecht wanted his spectators to grapple with the ideas, not just sit and take them in. A scene where Ms. Hamel is making numerous calls to friends in order to explain why she must go away for a while is chilling as we realize she is fleeing the Nazis. The changes in her voice when speaking with different people are very telling. Her comments are quite thought provoking as she reveals her change in status and how it has affected her views of others. Matthew Stem's use of the piano for sound effects is just fight. Carla Martinez and Jake Murphy bring anger and brash- ness to the poetry. Again, so much is said that could be taken one way at first glance, but when thought about more deeply can be seen in different ways. Brad Daniel Peloquin is just marvelous with his amazing tenor voice -- a voice that is not only a joy to hear when he is singing, but also when he is engaged in dialog and poetry. He is simply sublime. His rendition of Mack the Knife is certainly not reminiscent of Bobby Darin, and that is meant as a compliment. Mr. Peloquin is superb as he moves about the stage accompanied by. Mr. Sternon the piano. Brecht on Brecht is not easy if you are walking in cold. The music is almost exclusively written in minor keys and can be quite heavy. It is not the type of theatre most people are accustomed to. It is, however, an experience that should be taken in. Director Petosa has assembled a wonderful cast who are fully up to the task of presenting this work the way it should be done. Bridget K. Doyle's lighting design was spot on (pun intended). I would suggest spending a short time reading up on Epic Theatre (just Google the term) before going. If you do that, you will understand just what a fine work the New Rep is presenting here. It is something special to see and hear. It is also a work that will make you think. Just remember you ar6 not being preached to, you are being engaged. You are being asked to think, to argue, to partici- pate. This is an evening of very interesting theatre. Do a little preparation and step into the arena. For further information, please visit, or call 617-923-847. Mar6 Sea[ood. 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