As a playwright, dramaturg, and activist, my life has been deeply affected by Bedlam’s work. I never laugh harder nor weep more than I do at Bedlam’s performances (and I see a load of theater, let me tell you). And I carry the performances with me, beyond the theater walls, to my interactions with the world. Whether stripping away the nonsense to get to the heart of the Bard, creating women-centric adaptations of Austin and Shaw, offering a mind-opening, difficult (in all the best ways), intimate, timeless look at what war does to a body/mind/spirit, or as responsible members of your community through your commitment to Veteran’s Outreach programming, your work is authentic, challenging, and actively peaceful. We are all better for what you offer.
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.