Beyland and Brown have gathered a dream ensemble of actor’s actors for this challenging show. The cast creates a complex rapport among the troupe members, with all their insecurities, battles, and deep-seated love; they excel equally at clowning in loincloths, enacting torture and disembowelment, and finding unlikely communion (when Shag helps Wintour simply to hold a pen, the prisoner falls sobbing against him in gratitude and release). The work especially of Gagne, Carlsen, and Holt, as each navigates their wide-reaching roles, is breathtaking.
And Cain’s breadth and depth of allusion and comment are formidable, from monarchical lineage to Cecil’s critique of Shag’s safe-playing oeuvre as “all things to all men” and “endless and universal flattery.” Above all Equivocation cares about the art — and the artifice — of narrative in our lives. “Torture is against British laws,” James chirps glibly. “Therefore, we don’t have torture.” And: “You can’t legislate a soul into a country,” sneers Cecil. “For that, you need a story.” As Shag reconsiders his responsibilities as a storyteller, Cain’s play seems to propose that not just his troupe, but other equally theatrical cooperative ventures — families, communities, nations — could stand some practice in the art of telling truth.

Equivocation, by Bill Cain | Directed by Keith Powell Beyland and Peter Brown | Produced by Dramatic Repertory Company, at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater, through June 8 | 800.838.3006 or dramaticrep.org

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MEGAN GRUMBLING
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TRAUMATIC IRONY  |  October 15, 2014
    A creaky old oceanfront Victorian. Three adult siblings who don’t like each other, plus a couple of spouses. A codicil to their father’s will that requires them to spend an excruciating week together in the house. And, of course, various ghosts.
  •   OVEREXTENDED FAMILY  |  October 11, 2014
    “I’m inclined to notice the ruins in things,” ponders Alfieri (Brent Askari). He’s recalling the downfall of a longshoreman who won’t give up a misplaced, misshapen love, a story that receives a superbly harrowing production at Mad Horse, under the direction of Christopher Price.   
  •   SOMETHING'S GOTTA FALL  |  October 11, 2014
    While it hasn’t rained on the Curry family’s 1920’s-era ranch in far too long, the drought is more than literal in The Rainmaker .
  •   SURPASSED MENAGERIE  |  October 03, 2014
    Do Buggeln and Vasta make a Glass Menagerie out of Brighton Beach Memoirs? Well, not exactly.
  •   WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU FABRIC  |  October 01, 2014
    One of the risks of being raised on PBS children’s programming, apparently, is the realization that one is not as special or as destined for greatness, in the grown-up world, as Big Bird seemed to let on.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING