Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mosaic Theatre: Collected Stories (4 reviews)

Mosaic Theatre opened its production of Collected Stories on November 11, 2010.
This acclaimed drama by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies chronicles the relationship between two female writers - a celebrated New York author and her young protégé. As their fascinating story evolves, and the line between fact and fiction blurs, the twists and turns of this complex relationship weave a play that's as smart and witty as it is powerful.
Margaret M. Ledford directed a cast that featured Barbara Bradshaw and Kim Morgan Dean.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Most productions of Donald Margulies‭’ ‬wily,‭ ‬articulate drama‭ ‬Collected Stories portray the relationship between renowned short story writer Ruth Steiner and her persistent protégé Lisa Morrison as the literary equivalent of‭ ‬All About Eve...

But in the hands of director Margaret Ledford,‭ ‬deftly drawing a pair of remarkable performances from Barbara Bradshaw‭ (‬Ruth‭) ‬and Kim Morgan Dean‭ (‬Lisa‭)‬,‭ ‬the play becomes something more balanced and nuanced,‭ ‬asking us to consider the artistic and personal ethics involved,‭ ‬leaving it up to the audience to decide how they feel about the ownership of the story.
Dean,‭ ‬returning to South Florida for this production,‭ ‬reminds us why she quickly became one of the most accomplished young actresses in the region in the few short years she lived down here.‭ ‬
Bradshaw is such a wryly comic performer that she rarely gets a juicy dramatic role like Ruth,‭ ‬but she holds her own tutorial in how to mesmerize an audience when she does.‭ ‬Here she gives a very layered characterization,‭ ‬alternately steely and maternal,‭ ‬tough and gentle.
There are plenty of reasons to see this Mosaic production,‭ ‬and the play itself is high on the list.‭ ‬But at the top are‭ ‬surely the two memorable performances that breathe such vitality into Margulies‭’ ‬words.
Roger Martin reviewed for MiamiArtzine:

Simon once more has demonstrated his theatrical nous, having Margaret M. Ledford direct Barbara Bradshaw and Kim Morgan Dean in this cleverly emotional tale of the Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen.
Marguiles' script is terrific. As are the actors. Bradshaw and Dean are the story, live, on stage. Totally engrossing.

Douglas Grinn's two level New York apartment is utterly believable. Ruth has lived here for 32 years and it shows. Jeff Quinn's light, Matt Corey's sound and K. Blair Brown's costumes are all first rate.

Richard Jay Simon has presented some outstanding theatre in the ten-year life of Mosaic and Collected Stories is among the best.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...for a demonstration of just how mesmerizing a superb performance can be, check out Barbara Bradshaw's work in Mosaic Theatre's Collected Stories.
With artfully illuminating direction by Margaret M. Ledford and Mosaic's typically strong design elements (particularly Douglas Grinn's handsome set), this production becomes a fascinating, humor-infused battle between two strong, very different women.
The play, which was a finalist for the drama Pulitzer, incisively explores everything from the politics of the New York literary scene to the shifting balance of power as one career fades and another burns bright.
Margulies also brings to vivid life the moral and emotional price of intellectual thievery. Think that sounds dry? Bradshaw, who has a wonderful onstage partner in the inventively expressive (Kim Morgan) Dean, will make you think again.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
The temptation is to liken Barbara Bradshaw and Kim Morgan Dean’s performances in Mosaic Theatre’s Collected Stories to shooting stars intertwining on their blazing path across the heavens.
But the miraculous artistry on display Friday was pointedly not pyrotechnic. These virtuosos seemed so naturalistic that you almost never caught them acting, and yet, under Margaret Ledford’s direction, the pair deliver portrayals of a mentor and student that are mesmerizing.
It’s a good script, but these are stunning performances, deftly directed. Naturalistic acting is hard work. You apply myriad pauses and looks and intonations, and then try to erase any sign of that technique.
Some playgoers remember Bradshaw’s range from decades past, but most audience members recall only her recent string of brilliant portrayals of slightly dotty mothers and doyennes in absurdist comedies... So it will surprise some newcomers that her dramatic chops are every bit as honed and effective..To be that convincing and to inject such a variety of line readings into such a long monologue is the work of a master actor.
Dean has always been a hypnotic actress projecting raw talent, beauty and charisma in such shows as Playhouse Creatures at The Women’s Theatre Project and Mosaic’s Body of Water. But her recent foray to make it in New York City has only deepened her skill.
The Mosaic Theatre production of Collected Stories runs through December 5, 2010.

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