Donna Parrone has been involved with St Louis theater since moving here in the 1980's. She is one of the founders of HotHouse Theatre (now HotCity) and has been an actor, a producer, a director and an educator.
Somehow the notion that the 1950’s were an idyllic time in America continues to exist and people continue to idealize that decade in terms of gender confidence, family values and strong American ethics. No one remembers that 37% of (mostly poor) women worked outside the home, 11% of the population was gay and racism was rampant. Welcome to Maple and Vine , HotCity Theatre’s second production of their 2013 season. Directed by Doug Finlayson, Maple and Vine harkens back to the beginnings of HotHouse Theatre, when the scripts were provocative and surprising.
There is comfort in a familiar musical. You sing snatches of song starting a few days before you go. You see the show and all the lyrics come flooding back and fill your head for days to come, humming under your breath or full out sing-alongs on the way into work. A new musical can be even more exciting, especially the anticipation. How will song and story be integrated? Will you come away singing any of the songs? Is it a story for the ages, or a piece that will one day be dated and irrelevant?
This past weekend saw the opening of Double Indemnity at the Repertory Theatre of St Louis and As You Like It at St Louis Shakespeare. These are very different plays but, in watching both, I was taken by the roles of women through the ages and what that represents, then and now.
The Repertory Theatre of St Louis opened their final studio offering for the season with Venus in Fur by David Ives, directed by Seth Gordon. Thomas, played by Jay Stratton, is a playwright trying to cast his female lead, Vanda (Sarah Nedwek) in an adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel Venus in Furs—the novel that coined the term “masochism.” The play is highly entertaining but the promise of seduction was not fulfilled.