Aurélia’s Oratorio returns!

July 6, 2009

Aurélia’s Oratorio is coming back! This show played to sold-out houses this winter, so if you weren’t able to get a ticket then, now is your chance. Aurélia will be back at the Loeb for just two weeks, July 22 – August 2.

Read reviews of the show this winter from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Boston Metro — or peruse audience members’ responses.

Here is a repost of the two-minute trailer that gives you a glimpse into the magic of Aurélia’s enchanting topsy-turvy world. Learn more on our website.

The Duck Variations

June 9, 2009

Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Duck Variations — a David Mamet double bill — start Thursday!

Here’s a clip of rehearsal footage from

The Duck Variations
by David Mamet
directed by Marcus Stern
featuring Thomas Derrah and Will LeBow

Learn more

Behind the scenes of Romance at the A.R.T. – May 13, 2009

May 15, 2009

Production dramaturg Sean Bartley takes viewers behind the scenes of the rehearsal process for Romance at the A.R.T.

May 13, 2009

View Sean Bartley’s Behind the Scenes video from May 14, 2009.

Behind the scenes of Romance at the A.R.T. – May 14, 2009

May 15, 2009

Production dramaturg Sean Bartley takes viewers behind the scenes of the rehearsal process for Romance at the A.R.T.

May 14, 2009

View Sean Bartley’s Behind the Scenes video from May 13, 2009.

A Laughable Tech

May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009:

I’m writing from the first night of tech rehearsal. Sitting inside rehearsal rooms for the past few weeks, I had no concept of just how enormous the scale of our production is. Mamet’s plays are typically performed on unit sets with simple lighting instruments, set pieces, and props. Our version of Romance uses a string of giant moving set pieces, gyroscoping lights, stage blood, and smoke machines. At first glance, this gear is better suited to a rock concert than a Mamet play.

But once we began running sequences from the show, I realized just how well the massive scale of our productions meshes with the ambitions of Mamet’s text. The A.R.T. is known for Mamet works like Oleanna, a realistic, two-character piece that takes place in a tiny office. But Romance is a larger-than-life farce. Actors throw roasting pans and insults across the courtroom with reckless abandon. We’ve thrown in plenty of tricks, zany sound effects, and even a strip-tease or two.

Scott’s staging also takes advantage of one of the text’s greatest strengths: a great sense of farcical acceleration. At first glance, the play’s opening scene is nearly free of farce. It could easily be a scene from this week’s episode of Law and Order. Slowly but surely, Mamet tightens the screws. Polite disagreement turns into schoolyard name-calling. A wisecracking judge becomes a pill-popping maniac. An ordered courtroom descends into comic chaos.

Online Hubbub: Romance

May 8, 2009

Let us know what you thought!

Why do we laugh at content that is so embarrassing and offensive?

If the defendant is guilty, what punishment fits the crime?

Romance In The Era of Hope and Change

April 23, 2009

All through this season at the A.R.T., I’ve been pondering Romance while working on other projects. I’ve made it a point to try and re-read the text at least once a week. Back in January, I sat down for another trip through the play as President Obama’s inauguration played on a nearby TV. When I finally put two and two together, I grabbed a post-it and frantically scribbled a note: “This changes everything for Romance.” How could a farce that mocks our social differences succeed in an era of supposed unity?

Two weeks of rehearsal has calmed my fears. Hearing our cast deliver the play has reminded me that it is the ultimate equal-opportunity offender. Mamet goes out of his way to poke fun at every race, religion, sexual orientation, profession, nationality, and political viewpoint. I often have the image of Mamet sitting beside a list of special interest groups, checking each one off as he created the play’s dialogue. In fact, the Romance team created our own list of those lambasted in the play. It is an exhaustive list.

Writing these blog entries as I watch the news, I’m reminded that we may not be as united as we’d like to believe. The current string of tea-bag protests and the Texas governor’s threats of secession may be taken as humorous here in Boston, but this division is precisely what Mamet inflates and capitalizes on in Romance. He dares us to laugh at our differences, detonating our national traditions of political correctness and censored speech.

The technique has become a hallmark of Mamet’s work after Romance. His most recent Broadway hit November decimates the sanctity of the Oval Office, presenting the fictitious president as a swindling crook and anti-hero. Mamet turns the political speech into the stuff of farce in November, just as Romance mocks “legalese” lawyer-speak. If Mamet advocates for anything in these farces, it is for us to take ourselves less seriously.