Photo courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory, by Patrick Weishampel
Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet:
I saw “Uncle Romeo …” tonight, and am still recovering, more or less.
I’ve been studying and translating Chekhov for more than 30 years, and am invariably frustrated by productions that just don’t get him, so you can imagine how I went into this one being slightly dubious.
Imagine my astonishment, then, when this production blew my expectations out of the water with its humor, heart, and true pathos. I’ve seen the play countless times, and read it even more, and I teared up at the end because it so understood the material and Chekhov’s intentions, and conveyed them brilliantly.
My deepest thanks and heartiest congratulations to everyone involved.
I really thought it was wonderful – a little crazy – but still wonderful. The performances were just stellar and it was evident how hard and how well you worked together to create this piece.
The acting was uniformly spectacular — and I don’t say that lightly. I don’t have the email addresses for individual cast members and would appreciate it if you would convey my sentiments to them all. I know how hard you all have been working on perfecting the piece and they deserve that recognition.
A fan of the creativity and willingness to take chances since seeing Twelfth Night. Thanks for the fun and the challenges. Always look forward to your productions.
I just want to once again thank you all for existing. My wife and I were blown away by the play, and spent the four hour drive this morning discussing the world of the play, and how beautiful the acting was. I love what you all do so much I’m still a little speechless.
Thank you so much, this play especially is going to stick with us for a very, very long time.
Please let all the actors know how exquisite and rich and delightful they were, it’s so amazing to see that level of mastery throughout the whole play.
I just wanted to fully express how much I loved the play. I feel like often times when I go see theater, I appreciate a few excellent moments, and that’s enough. When I see your plays, the belief that anyone can play any part as long as it’s good is a BEAUTIFUL idea. Using Shakespeare’s language to show the emotional inner life of the characters to show the audience how it FEELS is more important than anything going in the country right now.
What you all do, being brave enough to show how it FEELS to be alive, means so much to me. It makes THEATER feel like the only space where we can have conversations about what it means to be alive and connect.
All this to say, and for whatever it’s worth, and I can speak for my friends who have seen your shows. I think the work that you all are doing, is much more than connecting to people who speak your language, I think the language YOU all speak is the future of American Theater, and again I’m just so grateful you all exist.
It was so great seeing you all in Vanya Juliet yesterday. Vanya is one of my all-time favorite plays and I was so happy to see the new colors your production brought out of it. I love the moments of connections between the women especially and thought the stillness of the final moments were really effective. Your delivery of that final monologue is devastating. You should be really proud of this play; it’s challenging, illuminating and rewarding. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Bedlam.
Your work makes us happy, which is a lot these days. Just saw the Hunter Vanya, and again thought, what a brilliant take – who has ever (probably someone has) used Shakespeare as percussion. It’s Vanya in Jazz.
I want to say how moved I am that you continue to experiment, explore, and challenge your audiences to keep up with you. It might be easy to rework the formulas audiences are comfortable with, but you continue to give yourself and your audiences something better- the gift of something strangely, improbably and wonderfully new.
We all agree there are riches in “Uncle Romeo” that neither Chekhov nor Shakespeare are likely to have foreseen. The overlay and undercurrent of the different characters upon and and around and within one another, makes the recognition of their respective truths all the more vivid and tragic.
We were both so thrilled to be able to see this wild (indeed), intriguing, and thought-provoking production….The whole cast, of course, was stellar.
The seats were great, we enjoyed Kimberly Pau’s fresh translation of Chekhov’s masterful play, and the intersections with Romeo and Juliet which were especially moving in the second act. How wonderful to hear those familiar and beloved passages in such a newly interpreted way.
We look forward to the next Bedlam wonderment!
It was a wild ride! I enjoyed it a lot…thought-provoking…moving…intense (yet, entertaining). There was no escaping the emotional intensity, which I liked.
…the fine work of Bedlam always teaches me, it’s about the work and the ensemble and ensemble at work.
Well, we simply LOVED the show. There is so much “there there” as the new current theater critics world would say. So many moments stood out for me…Juliet’s fathers speech was the best I have ever seen on stage and I don’t understand why it hasn’t been down with that level of conviction and fury in the past…or at least never in productions I have seen. It was riveting. The drunken humor and pathos of the Vanya couples were compelling. The pacing was fabulous….I was utterly engaged, entertained and fascinated the entire time. Bravo to you all!
Wow. We saw your show again last night…. It was so wonderful. It was the first time, too. Seeing it again was even better. You all are giving an amazing gift to anyone who’s ready to receive it…. Thank you so much for that.
Among other things I could say, it makes that other current production of Vanya we saw seem contained and 2 dimensional. I hardly remember anything from that one. I remember so much from yours.
The production is first rate and very clearly what Shaw intended. I got to see things in this play I had never seen in other more romantically inclined productions. I loved the fact that you cast Liza as an Indian from Delhi(and a very beautiful and gracious actress to boot)since she very much may have been from that class and ethnicity given the period in which Shaw wrote the piece.
I had one of the best evenings I’ve ever had in the theater sitting there watching a group of phenomenally talented actors bringing Shaw to a stunned audience.
– Rita F.
It’s a beautiful Pygmalion…The rolling and varying energies of all the scenes – from map cap doubling to hypnotic solo scenes, light to dark (literally), loud and quiet – it was like wave jumping in the ocean – you’re carried up and down and feel weightless and grounded at the same time.
And it was hilarious.
– Lauren L.
Pygmalion” was just wonderful! We all enjoyed it so much. The staging was so inventive and made such great use of the space. The ensemble worked so beautifully together and each performance was inspired.
– Caryl F.
[W]e absolutely loved Pygmalion. I found it particularly interesting to see it after having the privilege of attending the rehearsal. Not only was the acting superb, but the costumes and staging were smart, creative and contributed to a totally delightful experience.
– Claire L.
Pygmalion is terrific, it makes for an enlightening and greatly enjoyable evening. Hurry and get tickets! You’ll love the performances.
– Pamela A.
I just saw Pygmalion. I had a really good time. Extremely well acted and directed. A lot of fun and lines that are eternal. “You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.” (Mrs. Higgins, Act 3) She is a precursor of the #MeToo movement! Eric Tucker is ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ plus the charm.
– Anne L.
It was absolutely BRILLIANT!! We loved every minute….Please congratulate Eric on a truly excellent and nuanced performance and conception.
– Mary Elizabeth B.
– Philip O.
All eight of my family members just loved the play! The acting was fabulous, the costumes were great, it was totally wonderful. And very interesting to see the final product after seeing the table read.
– Cynthia S.
It was really fabulous and I hope I”ll never miss any of [Bedlam’s] productions. I love the intimacy of the theatre-it’s a whole other experience. Superb acting and so funny.
– Kathy C.
Love, loved your production of Sense and Sensibility and now Pygmalion. A worthwhile and wonderful theater experience all the way around!!! Thank you so much for bringing joy into life.
– Susan T.
I’ve seen a couple of your productions and enjoyed them immensely. I thought “Pygmalion” was superb – the actors and the play itself. I’m disappointed i saw it the day before it closes so I can’t recommend it to others. I hope you will bring it back.
– Alice S.
I was actually thinking to myself during the play how much heart actors put into the performance. The way Eliza’s tears came out so naturally, and the way Professor Higgins paused at the end of the play, realizing that Eliza won’t be coming back. That was so captivating! I just thought I’d share because that really impressed me.
– Elena M.
Thank you for yesterday!!I will never forget one single moment. I will never stop talking about the fantastic actors and actresses.I was completely transformed and usurped into another magical world.I felt as though I was in the play. It was all so amazing.
– Nancy S.
Wow!!!! This “Pygmalion” is brilliant in every way. I bet Shaw would have liked it! Thanks for presenting it
– Eve M.
We thought “Pygmalion” was excellent!!
– Simon T.
We loved “Pygmalion”. And Bedlam’s “Sense and Sensibility”. Would go to anything Bedlam theater does, so we were looking forward!
– F. David N.
I’ve always loved Peter Pan and I actually know the text of the play really well (along with the novel, Peter & Wendy) so I could follow it all! I dug so much of what you were doing, the voiceover especially! There were a lot of highlights for me — the take on Tinkerbell, the first scene between Smee and Hook, the flying… I think what resonated most was how entitled and thoughtlessly cruel Peter was. I couldn’t help but see it through the lens of this #MeToo moment, revealing of male socialization.
I just adored Peter Pan – the marvelous, inspired, chaotic mess of it was exactly what I needed, and it was a such a thrill to be in the audience. I always feel like Bedlam trusts its audiences with so much more than most theatres – being welcomed into such a challenging production was a treat. There were so many moments where I delighted in being lost – and in knowing and trusting that I was in good hands and that you would see us safely home – and moments where that sense of dislocation and disorientation opened up strangely moving revelations for me.
Thank you so much for all the wonderful work that you and the company do – it was such a joy, as always, to be in your world.
Just wanted to say congratulations on the final week of Peter Pan — I was stunned by the show (literally didn’t speak a word to my friend on the subway home). I wish there was more theatre on 42nd street like what you guys are doing. Can’t wait to see Pygmalion.
– Dan H.
Dead Dog Park:
In an already crowded theatre world, why do I find Bedlam so stimulating? Extraordinary imagination, originality, and creativity; development of fresh talent; ability to evaluate the past with a contemporary perspective; emphasis on the spoken word; avoidance of distracting sets and costuming … The list itself could go on and on. Its easy to be supporters and to comfortably enjoy it all from the other side of the fourth wall.
– Chuck S.
…We had a terrific evening and enjoyed the play very much – as you say it is not a joyous story, but it is extremely thought-provoking as well as a timely topic. I really thought that the way it is left open-ended and ambiguous was just perfect as food for thought. I would welcome the talkback session which is a good idea for those who wish to stay and share thoughts…. Powerful stuff, and hope you have a great run with it!
– Deborah R.
…very happy to see DEAD DOG PARK this afternoon. It had complexity, agony, politics and ambivalence and was played with simplicity and humanness…. the whole company was tops. Congratulations once again on what you made…”
– Jeffrey H.
This is one of the most powerful, moving, well-conceived productions I have seen in a very long time. A thrilling night in the theatre, I was so struck by all the performances and writing, but especially the incredible story telling you created. It is exceptional. So powerful, in the most honest compelling way….There is so much collaborative artistry and ensemble on that stage. Such an amazing cast, creative team, and script that was brought to life in an exceptional way. This show will always stay with me, and I feel so lucky to have been in that audience.
– Yael L.
Twelfth Night/What You Will:
(CST, Cambridge, MA)
This week my teenage daughter and I attended your performances of Twelfth Night and What You Will at Central Square Theater. We were completely captivated and impressed with your vision, handling of the text, and casting. We have seen plenty of “non-traditional casting,” but we have never seen a Shakespeare production (save for all-women productions) that respected women as much as yours. This showed in both the primary presence of the women actors as well as the character development. Beyond that, the way you dealt with gender overall was brilliant and so refreshing to see. My daughter, especially, hopes to see these kinds of casting decisions at least attempted and is generally disappointed. You not only made exciting choices, you and the actors executed them brilliantly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your work. We will definitely be looking for Bedlam’s return to Boston, and hope to catch you in New York or elsewhere.
– Milva M
I saw the Twelfth Night matinee this past Saturday & loved it!! What a fun, fantastic adventure that show is!! The whole ensemble is fantastic.
– Katie C.
I was an audience member today at Twelfth Night, and I don’t know why but I feel compelled to write to you. I felt like watching your play today, I knew all of you already. It felt like an artistic home. The aesthetic, the clarity of the story and just the pure fun of todays show just honestly blew me away. I was amazed at how successfully your company dissolved the barrier between actors and audience. There was not an ounce of bull shit.
I left both of your productions feeling lifted and deepened somehow – not just by the expert performances, direction, and design, but also by the culture of the experience, so to speak. I find myself quite sensitive to the theater’s “vibe,” how welcomed I feel, how the performers transform the space, how an ensemble can let us in on the joke instead of sharing a bunch of in-jokes. I felt, particularly yesterday, that I learned something about Bedlam, not just one of your productions.
Sense & Sensibility:
Bedlam is brilliant in its full expression of what theater ought to be about — the thrilling connection with the audience, an experience particular to that place, in that time, with those assembled that becomes magic.
– Kate W.
Staging with the rolling chairs is not only absolutely brilliant as an idea itself, but the execution with high velocity brings a whole original notion of a hockey rink in full tilt, but, with that much action as if the game were with multiple pucks. Also really cool use of the distance between the actors, so synchronized with the lines of the plot that when the conversation is formal or stand-offish, chairs are far apart. When intimate, its so close that the knees touch. Brilliant merge of what the dialogue propels with the same physically interpreted. Staging as dance meets words!
– Karin and Al L.
A resounding “Bravo, Bravo” to you and the company for Sense and Sensibility. For nearly 40 years now I’ve enjoyed NYC’s marvelous theatre options, and your current production is on my top five list of all I’ve seen by way of three theatre memberships and plenty of trips to TDF and Theatre Mania. I was so moved and delighted when I saw your play three weeks ago that I went on line the next day and bought four tickets for tomorrow night’s performance. What a joyous experience my friends are in for (and I’m going with them).
– Christina M.
I’m writing to thank you for such an amazingly entertaining and moving evening. We really marveled all night at the energy and inventiveness of the production. I’ll admit to you that there is a teenager part of me who still considered Jane Austen as “the chick-lit that my sisters read”. But everything about the way the play began made the story immediate, vibrant, visceral, and accessible. As energetic and fun as things were though, their desperation was always present and I was in tears several times….
– David N.
I saw Sense and Sensibility three times — breaking a lifelong avoidance of anything Austen (despite being married to a Janeite, who, by the way, loved the performance as much as I but only went twice). I attended 137 theatrical events in ’16 and those three performances each ranked among my best without question. Rest assured, I’m already looking forward to Cry Havoc and am hoping to get down to Princeton to see Saint Joan, which along with Hamlet, was my Bedlam gateway drug a few years ago. You all are brilliant and truly a gift to theater!
(The McCarter, Princeton, NJ)
…you’re such a rare example of a company doing such sustained, passionate, inventive and luminous ensemble work it seems an important thing to support it along the way. And then you also have a great name.
…Susan and I did see Bedlam’s production of Saint Joan at McCarter and were absolutely blown away by it. It’s been a while since we left the theater so exhilarated! We both can’t wait to see more of your thrilling, profoundly moving productions. Thank you and all at Bedlam for a spectacular experience!
– Rich D.