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Stand Aside Knave! The Show Must Go On!

Government shutdown, government shmutdown

Fie! Fie I say to the government. A plague on both your houses!

For the past two weeks, we have run into snags in our lives since the U.S. Government shut down. Some people even lost jobs. Public outrage has grown as we see more and more poignant pictures of elderly vets banned from the War Memorial, little children stopped at the gate to the zoo, and average families kept from enjoying the beauty and splendor of our national parks. But another group is being shut out by the government: Artists!

As if it isn’t tough enough to be a humble, non-profit performing group with limited resources, the government shut-down has forced a scramble for performing space. Months ago, Bob Colonna’s Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre booked time at the Roger Williams Memorial Park in downtown Providence, a lovely venue. This is the outdoor space the group has used before. Shortly before their opening date in October, Colonna was informed that the park would be closed and unavailable to the troupe. However, there’s no stopping the highly talented mere mortals of Director Bob Colonna’s Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre, nor the ghosts in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shakespeare serves us well, even centuries later. And how goes our own government? Not so much.

The troupe is proceeding with performances close to the original location, at Memorial Park in downtown Providence, located at the corner of South Main and College Streets. Yes, it is still outdoors.  “Oh sure,” says Colonna. “You may have to bundle up, but it’ll be fun. Among other things, the outdoor venue allows us to use fire in certain scenes, which is pretty exciting. And don’t forget, it’s free! If you bring along something to warm the blood, you should be perfectly comfortable.” Also bring something to sit on – chair or blanket.

Colonna is known for cleverly modernizing Shakespeare settings, making the presentation fresh. This time, his inventive adaptation has transformed Macbeth into a mob story, taking place in the present time. “Audiences will hear Shakespeare’s famous chilling and heart-wrenching words,” says Colonna, “but they will see black leather, fancy furs, AK-47s and baseball bats.” This transformation brings an extra exciting vibe to the production.

Three free-spirited actresses portray the wicked witches stirring up the dark arts. Meryn Flynn, Cherylee Dumas and Meg Taylor-Roth gleefully screech and writhe through their chants. As a special twist in this production, the role of the head witch/goddess, Hecate, is played by a variety of actresses in different performances. This includes Amy Anderson, Mary Paolino and Karyn Valcourt.

Dan White and Leann Heath deliciously play the Macbeths, with their own style of contemporary mob class. They are the ultimate devoted married couple, intensely scary and prone to violence. Christopher Ferreira is a blustery presence as Macduff, the ever patriotic adversary of Macbeth. Geoff White, as the good-hearted Banquo, brings a special quality to the production as a gentler soul.

The multi-talented director, Bob Colonna, also doubles as old King Duncan, and the humorously inebriated Porter. Rosanna Cavanaugh plays Macduff’s doomed wife, CT Larsen and Ben Royer play the royal brothers, Malcolm and Donalbain. David Kane is Macbeth’s loyal servant, Seyton, and two younger cast members are Kiara Wallace as a feisty but unfortunate Macduff daughter, and Brandon Garvey is the brave and resourceful Fleance.

So go on down and enjoy the show, celebrate the season, and don’t let the government sequester your enjoyment of the arts. Macbeth will continue through October 27, Thursday through Sunday nights at 7 pm at Memorial Park, Providence. Admission is free. Check out TRIST on Facebook.




Opened/Closed

taqueriaOpened

Mexican food might be the trend of 2013 with the arrival of another taco joint, Amigos Taqueria Y Tequila, to Canal Street in Westerly. It delivers what its name promises: tacos and tequila, combining swanky ambiance with authentic recipes like corn on the cob with mayo, lime, queso and chili powder. Like your Mex on wheels? Paco’s Tacos Food Truck is cruising around Southern New England with Southern California-style Mexican. For a Far Eastern flavor, Deep Indian Restaurant is now open on Hartford Ave. in Providence. Though ambiance junkies need not apply, this is a hole-in-the-wall spot that serves up the type of dishes that will make you forget about the Tim Allen sitcoms playing on all of the televisions. O Sushi opened its doors in North Kingstown where The Fish Market used to be. A large central bar, decor with class, fresh fish and hibachi rolled up (insert maki pun here). If you weren’t into The ROI in Providence before, give it another shot. Its reopening brought a new head chef, Travis Lawton, a new menu, new live entertainment, and Drag Queen Brunch (and yeah, a shiny new logo). Eighty Eight Lounge has occupied the space where Sullivan’s Rhode once was, providing a quieter, more intimate experience than Point St’s piano spot.  Public is the new restaurant and bar in the Renaissance hotel. And on that note…

We must bid farewell to

Temple, the Renaissance’s former resident eat and drink spot. Cafe Luna, Garden City’s quaint spot for a casual meal between window shopping has also closed its doors.




Motif TV for September 26 +




Dash Around Town: Gallery Night

13. EDWIN WILWAYCO at the CHABOT GALLERY

Federal Hill shows its colors at Providence’s art crawl

As most humans know, Gallery Night in Providence is a blast with busloads of art enthusiasts staging art attacks at various shows. I hit two galleries on September 20 that were holding openings. They were held at the Gallery Z and the Chabot Fine Art. The Z had the work of three artists; Ian Mohon showed medium-sized, well-crafted and playful paintings of the figure. They were very original and handsome looking. Bob Dilworth had large, ornate expressionistic and colorful paintings; kind of Deco meets Baroque. Julian Penrose is displaying those delicious and nicely built constructions of found objects, alla’ Picasso. My son has a Penrose in his room and seeing this work for the first time inspired my son to making his own. This is a well-balanced and fun show to see and runs through October 12.

The Chabot has work by Edwin Wilwayco. He displays paintings that are filled with movement and energy, yet retain logic and balance. The show is titled In Natures Realm II, and it runs toward the end of the month. The work is mature and abstract, which demonstrates a keen understanding of painting. The next show there will be Lee Chabot himself with new work, “A Visual Narrative,” which runs through October 19.

Both Gallery Z and the Chabot Gallery are located on Atwells Avenue in the historic Federal Hill district of Providence.