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Tag: Manbites Dog

Vanya (Thaddaeus Allen Edwards) causes concern among his friends (Rhetta Greene, Faye Goodwin, Lakeisha Coffey, and Jock Brocki) in Manbites Dog's production of Life Sucks (photo by Alan Dehmer)

The Audience Is the Thing in Life Sucks at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham

As part of its 31st and — sadly — final season, Durham, NC’s Manbites Dog Theater has selected a play by inventive American playwright Aaron Posner. Very loosely adapted from Russian dramatist Anton Chekov’s 1898 masterpiece Uncle Vanya, Life Sucks is a tragicomic view of an extended family and its search for meaning amidst a… Read More ›

Jon (Michael Brocki) is lost in memories of his late wife Tess (Lenore Field) (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Rewriting the Future in Manbites Dog’s Marjorie Prime

“Why don’t you tell me a little more about myself?” When I was seven years old, my brother, a deaf child of three, ran off. The entire neighborhood jumped into action as sunset approached. Some local boys jumped on a muddy fourwheeler and began tearing around the neighborhood to find him as Mom cried and… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater's production of Marjorie Prime stars Marcia Edmundson as Marjorie and Derrick Ivey as Walter, an artificial intelligence modeled after her late husband (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime Is Both Entertaining and Thought-Provoking

There are several nagging questions that audiences will take away from the new offering at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, Marjorie Prime. First, “How do we know another person?” Implicitly, “How do we know ourselves?” “How do we know when our life is over?” “How do we know our purpose in life?” “How reliable are… Read More ›

Emily Anderson (left) and Skylar Gudasz star as Orlando and Sasha in Orlando by Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando at Manbites Dog Is Comedic, Queer, and Contemplative

In the Russian tradition of Stanislavski, the actor says, “I will tell you a story about me.” In the German tradition of Brecht, the actor says, “I will tell you a story about them.” In the Vietnamese tradition, the actor says, “You and I will tell each other a story about all of us.” From… Read More ›

Emily Anderson (left) and Skylar Gudasz star as Orlando and Sasha in Orlando by Sarah Ruhl

Orlando at Manbites Dog Bends Genders Like Gumby

One of the reasons classic literature and drama exists is because it works on a number of different levels; and each time you read/watch/visualize/experience that classic piece, you are able to see yet another aspect of it that you might have missed previously. Virginia Woolf is one of those masterful writers who not only writes… Read More ›

The Open House at Manbites Dog stars (clockwise from top) Michael Brocki, Marcia Edmundson, J Evarts, and Matthew Hager (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Awkwardness Turns into Satisfaction at Manbites Dog’s The Open House

Upon entering Manbites Dog Theater in Durham for a performance of The Open House, one immediately notices how plain the set is: devoid of color, warmth, or complexity. When the lights rise, a half-dozen bland and awkward characters are present on stage, wearing uninteresting costumes. The lighting is one-tone. Everything is sedate and awkward. Why,… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater's staged reading of The Trump Card stars Carl Martin (photo by Manbites Dog)

Mike Daisey’s Trump Card at Manbites Dog Is Captivating, Pertinent, and Funny as Hell

A table. A chair. Two bottles of water. An iPad. A man enters with a stack of papers. He sits. He turns on the iPad, reads a little, sighs, and begins an 86-minute profanity-fueled tirade about Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. On Sunday night, Manbites Dog Theater premiered a staged reading of The Trump… Read More ›

Walt Disney (Derrick Ivey) describes his vision of a future utopia (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Lucas Hnath’s The Death of Walt Disney at Manbites Dog Theater Is Splendidly Bizarre

“I’m Walt Disney. This is a screenplay I wrote. It’s about me.” Manbites Dog Theater’s production of A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, presented in association with StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, is not what it says it is. It is, in fact, a fictional play in… Read More ›

In the virtual reality of The Nether, Iris (Marleigh Purgar-McDonald) teaches a new game to Woodnut (Lazarus Simmons) (photo Alan Dehmer)

Manbites Dog’s Provocative Presentation of The Nether Is Extremely Well Acted and Well Designed

Manbites Dog Theater’s presentation of The Nether is a dark vision of the future, our near, rapidly approaching future. It is a future in which the Internet has split into various realms where most of us spend our daily lives. At school and work and even at play, most living is done through the new… Read More ›

Annie the American (played by Faye Goodwin) is fed by her "not quite Auntie Yaroslava," a.k.a. Baba Yaga (played by Carly Prentis Jones) (photo by Alan Dehmer)

The Actors in Manbites Dog Theater’s Rejuvenated “Fairytale” Are All Female — and All Remarkable

Fairytales are never sweet. Think of the cannibalism in Hansel and Gretel, the bullying in Cinderella, snf the child abuse that Snow White endures. Fairytales show children the line between fantasy and reality, but they also serve as entertainment for those adults who now have the age and wisdom to see the supernatural elements and… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater will present "Paris 76," an original cabaret directed by Jay O’Berski, on March 19-21 and 26-29 and April 1-4

Manbites Dog Theater’s “Paris 76” Is a Unique, Talented, Mixed Bag of a Show

When Jay O’Berski is at the helm, you know you’re in for a unique experience. The bold and fearless creator of Manbites Dog Theater’s production of Paris 76: An Original Cabaret is the artistic director to the always inventive Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern; and when he moonlights at Manbites Dog, a leading producer of… Read More ›

Strong Direction and Acting Liven Up Lauren Gunderson’s Weak Script for “I and You”

Lauren Gunderson’s two-person, ninety-minute one-act tells the story of two teens who forge an unlikely connection. There’s sick-at-home loner Caroline (Natalie Izlar) and athlete Anthony (Gerald Jones III); their story begins when Anthony comes to visit Caroline at her home and, at least ostensibly, to get her help with a project on Walt Whitman. Displaying… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater's regional premiere of "I and You" by Lauren Gunderson stars Natalie Izlar and Gerald Jones III (photo by Jules Odendahl-James)

“I and You” Is Easily One of the Cleverest Plays That Triangle Theatergoers Will See This Season

Manbites Dog Theater’s regional premiere of I and You by Lauren Gunderson is a story of two teenagers that will grip Triangle theatergoers in ways that must be experienced to understand. I and You is easily one of the cleverest plays local audiences will see, and it is unlikely anyone who sees it will ever… Read More ›

StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance will present "If My Feet Have Lost the Ground," a new puppetry performance created and directed by Torry Bend, on Oct. 16-18 and 24-26 and Oct. 29-Nov. 1 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham

Torry Bend’s “If My Feet Have Lost the Ground” Is Unusual and Fascinating Theater at Manbites Dog

Torry Bend’s If My Feet Have Lost the Ground is a fascinating work of puppetry and technology that speaks to the heart. The human heart as metaphor for the very core of existence. The current Streetsigns Center for Literature and Performance production, now playing at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC, seems to suggest that… Read More ›

“Spirits to Enforce” Is Hard to Follow, But Ultimately Worth a Watch

Spirits to Enforce, directed by Jeff Storer and onstage now at Manbites Dog Theater, has kind of a crazy premise: a group of superheroes is living underwater and desperately trying to solicit donations so they can put on a production of The Tempest. For most of the ninety minute play, viewers watch as these superheroes… Read More ›

Madeleine Lambert stars in "Grounded," a one-woman show written by George Brant and directed by Talya Klein, on March 20-April 5 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham (photo by Jon Haas)

“Grounded” at Manbites Dog Theater Asks, What Happens When Eye-in-the-Sky Makes War Easy?

With Grounded, now playing in Durham, NC’s Manbites Dog Theater, under the direction of Talya Klein, playwright George Brant has suddenly become the best-known new playwright in America. Grounded is a penetrating examination of how warfare is changing from face-to-face confrontations — even at the distance between warplanes and targets — to the technologically supported… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater of Durham will present the regional premiere of "Cock" on Oct. 3-5, 10-13, and 16-19

“Cock” Is a Handful for Manbites Dog, But Buy a Ticket, Because There’s Nothing Else Like It

Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater, which is known for its edgy — dare I say “controversial” — subject matter has brought us the regional premiere of Cock by British playwright Mike Bartlett. The title alone is enough to make the sensitive squirm, although after viewing the show, I hold to the title being pure shock value…. Read More ›

“The Paper Hat Game” Is Ingenious and Truly Original, a Must-See Toy-Theater Presentation

Ingenious and truly original, “The Paper Hat Game” is a toy-theater piece for children of all ages — and “For the Ages.” Creator and director Torry R. Bend, video designer member Raquel Salvatella de Prada, and cohorts have given a face to a faceless male subway commuter in present-day America, and transformed his story into a timeless tale. If Triangle Theater Review had a five-star system to rate the excellence of theatrical productions, “The Paper Hat Game” would get six!

"The Paper Hat Game" is a toy-theater creation

Torry Bend’s New Toy-Theater Piece, “The Paper Hat Game,” Features Videos by Raquel Salvatella de Prada

Torry R. Bend will present her new toy-theater creation, “The Paper Hat Game,” with video design by her fellow Duke University faculty member Raquel Salvatella de Prada, on Oct. 18-21 and 24-28 and Nov. 1-3 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham as part of Manbites Dog’s critically acclaimed Other Voices Series of productions by guest artists and companies.

Dr. Killian E. Manning's latest performance piece, "1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation," will have its world premiere on June 20-24 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC

Killian Manning’s Latest Performance Piece, “1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation,” Is a Cavalcade of Whimsy

No Forwarding Address playwright and director Killian Manning’s latest performance piece, “1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation,” which is having its world premiere on June 20-24 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC, is a whimsical riff on the zeitgeist during the playwright’s birth year of 1956. (By coincidence, Manning will turn 56 in 2012).

Killian E. Manning's latest performance piece, "1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation," will have its world premiere on June 20-24 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC

Manbites Dog Theater Will Host the World Premiere of Killian Manning’s “1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation”

No Forwarding Address will present the world premiere of “1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation,” the latest dance theater piece written and directed by Dr. Killian E. Manning, on June 20-24 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC. This play is being presented as part of Manbites Dog’s “Other Voices Series.”

Matthew Hager (left) and Gregor McElvogue star in "In on It" at Manbites Dog Theater May 24-June 9 (photo by Alex Maness)

Gregor McElvogue, Matthew Hager, and Dana Marks Work Their Theatrical Magic on “In on It”

Daniel MacIvor’s 2002 OBIE Award-winning puzzle-play, “In on It,” now playing at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, is an episodic but eye-opening and altogether extraordinary piece of theater in which less is definitely more. Its convoluted plot unfolds on a bare stage, and is performed in the round, with director Dana Marks skillfully maneuvering her intuitive and expressive cast of two (veteran actor Gregor McElvogue and newcomer Matthew Hager) around the stage, so that they can milk each episode for maximum dramatic effect.

Matthew Hager (left) and Gregor McElvogue star in "In on It" at Manbites Dog Theater May 24-June9 (photo by Alex Maness)

Daniel MacIvor’s 2002 OBIE Winner “In on It” Is a Wonderfully Theatrical Two-Man Show

According to the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia: “Daniel MacIvor’s ‘In on It’ … is a realization of the imaginative potential of ‘poor theatre.’ Two actors and a jacket on a bare stage evoke a world of love and loss; the ‘things that happen out of careful planning’ and the ‘things that happen over which we have no control’ — the arbitrary, unintentional, optional, life-changing things…. [This 2001 play] is a highly entertaining, engrossing, heart-breaking work — moving from intimate conversational style to histrionics, from ironic reflection and criticism to candid confession, from melodrama and parody to minimalist suggestive gesture. In on It makes you glad to be ‘in on’ this play — alive and at the theatre.”

Manbites Dog Theater will present "Cape Disappointment" March 29-31, April 5-8, and April 11-14 in Durham, NC

Ingenious Production Design and Clever Staging Add Bite to “Cape Disappointment’s” Shaggy-Dog Story

Director Jay O’Berski’s production design for Manbites Dog Theater’s regional premiere of “Cape Disappointment” is ingenious, and his staging is imaginative; but they cannot compensate for the fact that the episodic script is a shaggy-dog story, with vivid vignettes chock-full of colorful characters embarked on an journey to … nowhere.

Manbites Dog Theater will present "Cape Disappointment" on March 29-31, April 5-8, and April 11-14 in its Durham, NC performance space, behind the old Durham Bulls ballpark (photo by director Jay O'Berski)

“Cape Disappointment” Is a Bizarre Comic Homage to Drive-in Movies by the Authors of “Buddy Cop 2”

You’re lost in a drive-in movie. Broken down by the side of the road to nowhere. There’s a thirty ought six pointed at your back, and you ate the last can of beans three days ago. Welcome to Cape Disappointment. At least it’s not Detroit.

Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"

A. Rey Pamatmat’s “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” Teaches Important Lessons in Tolerance

The regional premiere of “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them,” written by Filipino-American playwright A. Rey Pamatmat and jointly presented Dec. 1-17 by Manbites Dog Theater and the Duke University Department of Theater Studies, is an offbeat coming-of-age story about the plucky 12-year-old title character (played by Wanda Jin), her resourceful 16-year-old brother Kenny (Andy Chu), and Kenny’s somewhat geeky 16-year-old boyfriend Benji (Jacob W. Tobia).

Wanda Jin plays the title role in "Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them"

“Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” Is an Offbeat Coming-of-Age Comedy by A. Rey Pamatmat

On its website, Manbites Dog Theater writes, “All but abandoned in the American heartland, three kids struggle to create a makeshift family. And when the outside world barges in, the only things that can protect them are love, loyalty, and marksmanship.”

"Middletown" runs Oct. 6-9 and 12-15 (image by Bethany Bash)

Will Eno’s 2010 Dramedy “Middletown” Looks at Small-Town Life, Circa 2010, with a Gimlet Eye

“Middletown’s” residents may be more flamboyant than their ancestors in Grover’s Corners, NH or the Spoon River region of Illinois, but the small-town lives that playwright Will Eno samples for “Middletown” are a fairly predictable cross-section of contemporary sitcom characters.

"Middletown" opens Sept. 29th (image by Bethany Bash)

Will Eno’s “Middletown” Is a Deeply Moving and Profoundly Comic Look at Small-Town Life

Welcome to “Middletown.” We’ve all been there. Life is always more complicated than it appears, and beneath the ordinary lies something epic, elusive, and mysterious.

Dana Marks and Lucius Robinson star as Darlene and Terry in "Buddy Cop 2" (photo by Kevin Ewert)

In “Buddy Cop 2,” Four Fine Farceurs Paddle Furiously, But Never Catch the Comic Wave

Triangle-theater crowd favorites Jay O’Berski and Dana Marks and up-and-comers Lucius Robinson and Evgenia Madorsky put plenty of personality into their portrayals of these oddball characters, but “Buddy Cop 2” is only mildly amusing. These four fine farceurs always seem to be paddling furiously, but they never catch the comic wave.