The three shows coming to Cape Cod theaters next week are quite varied, so there’s a wide selection of stories to share with local audiences. Finishing his run is “Art” at Barnstable Comedy Club, a touching comedy about the nature of friendship and the nature of art, and our review is below.
Opening Friday is “Godspell”, a 1970s musical reimagined by the Falmouth Theater Guild that tells biblical parables in an engaging and interactive way and features songs that have become theater standards. Opening on January 27 will be “Death and the Maiden,” a dramatic and timely show that was almost ready to bow at the Cotuit Center for the Arts when the pandemic began nearly two years ago.
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To see all three shows, bring proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks. Here’s a look at this week’s picks:
“Godspell” in Falmouth
Grammy and Oscar-winning Stephen Schwartz’s first major musical ‘Godspell’ (‘Wicked’, ‘Pippin’, ‘Children of Eden’) will kick off a busy theatrical year for the Falmouth Theater Guild . Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays from January 21 to 30 at the Highfield Theatre, 58 Highfield Drive.
The 1971 musical uses a small group of people helping Jesus tell biblical parables using games, storytelling techniques, pop songs to vaudeville numbers and comedy before concluding with the Last Supper and the crucifixion. Featured are familiar songs which include “Day by Day”, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”, “Learn Your Lessons Well”, “All for the Best”, “All Good Gifts”, “Turn Back, O Man and “By my side.”
Artistic director/choreographer Alex Valentine and musical director Katie Lynch Coglin lead a cast in what Guild News describes as a story that brings Jesus’ messages of kindness, tolerance and love to life.
Tickets: $23, $21 for 62 and over, $19 for under 18; www.FalmouthTheatreGuild.org
“Death and the Young Girl” in Cotuit
Audiences ready for a psychological thriller can find Ariel Dorfman “Death and the Maiden” playing at the Cotuit Center for the Arts (4404 Falmouth Road, or Route 28) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday from January 27 through February 27. 13.
The story takes place in the early 1990s when a man has just been appointed Minister of Justice and his committee is tasked with investigating the human rights atrocities committed by the previous regime. According to information from the center, the man’s wife was the victim of these atrocities 15 years earlier and a doctor who arrives could be one of his executioners.
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Although the actual country is not named, center briefing note Dorfman is originally from Chile, wrote this piece shortly after the ousting of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and did not deny the historical connection.
Center officials warn that some of the language is crude and graphic, but nothing is “significantly different from the testimony presented in recent high-profile court cases and national news.” The play explores themes of remembrance, belief, forgiveness, justice and revenge.
Bob Bock leads the three-person cast of Sara Sneed, Steve Ross and Joe O’Connor.
Tickets: $35, $30; 508-428-0669, artsonthecape.org. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required to attend: https://artsonthecape.org/news/covid-recovery-plan.
The show: “Art”
Written by: Yasmina Reza, translated from French by Christopher Hampton, presented by the Barnstable Comedy Club.
What is it about : Modern art lover Serge (Frank Hughes, Jr.) bought a painting. It’s by a popular contemporary artist, and he paid the exorbitant price of $35,000 for his new prized possession. He’s dying to show the new centerpiece of his life to his longtime friends Marc (Patrick Preston) and Yvan (Todd Yates Gosselin). Marc is the first to see the canvas, that is to say, to use the perfectly exact French word, white. It’s true: it’s all white. Marc is nothing if not simple, calling the work crap from the start, prompting Serge to call it cynical and anti-modernist. Of course, Yvan – beleaguered by the disastrous preparation for his upcoming wedding – soon enters the fray. What follows is an often hilarious and ultimately touching look at that priceless commodity: friendship.
To see or not: Opt for the unusual mix of intellectual tête-à-tête, humor and touching emotional interaction. Reviewer Jack Kroll of Newsweek described the show’s treatment of issues of life and art as being expressed “in outbursts that sound like Don Rickles with a degree from the Sorbonne”.
Highlight of the show: Almost everything about the show is minimalist, from the painting (of course) to a cast of just three people, to the austere set, with its complete lack of props. (Changes of scene – from one apartment to another – are indicated by paintings slid into a frame on the far wall.) Under the direction of Lance Norris, the only thing that is far from minimalist is the interaction of the three protagonists. From discussions about the meaning of the art, to the exploration of festering grievances, to a long analysis of the laughs, the richness of the show lies in the interaction between the good friends.
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To note: Preston plays Marc as the prototypical control freak, determined to force life – and his friends – to follow his path. He even intends to appease the public in his corner, pleading from the start forcefully his cause directly with the spectators. Hughes, on the other hand, casts Serge as the fledgling and insecure collector, desperate to be seen as a connoisseur. Then there’s Gosselin, who infuses his role with a bag full of emotions, and ultimately serves as referee between Serge and Marc.
Fun fact: The new year has begun which means the Barnstable Comedy Club is officially in its 100th year, making it Cape Town’s oldest live community theater and one of the oldest in the country. It all started in 1922, when theater buff and innkeeper Joe Turpin offered to put on a show (“Lady Windermere’s Fan”) in the old village hall. The first show opened on April 1, 1922, and Barnstable Comedy Club was printed on the tickets.
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One more thing : Remember to bring your masks and vaccination records. You will need it to comply with the theater’s COVID-19 restrictions.
If you are going to: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 22, plus 2:30 a.m. January 23 at Barnstable Comedy Club, 3171 Main St. (Route 6A), Barnstable. Tickets: $25, $23 seniors and students; 508-362-6333, www.barnstablecomedyclub.org.