Jane Baldwin

Jane Baldwin
author

“The Women Who Mapped The Stars”: The Struggle to be Acknowledged

The Women Who Mapped the Stars is a new work by Joyce Van Dyke, a rising dramatist with several awards to her credit. Her three previously produced plays also focus on women’s lives. When The Woman Who Mapped the Stars opened at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, her fifth piece premiered in New York. The play tells the story of five of the women “computers” who worked at the Harvard Observatory beginning in the late nineteenth century. This was a period in which great strides were being made in astronomy with the aid of better telescopes and the invention of the...

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“The White Card”: An Attempt To Communicate

The White Card, Claudia Rankine’s play on racism is having its world premiere at Boston’s Paramount Theatre as a co-production with Cambridge’s American Repertory Theatre. Rankine, a celebrated modernist poet, created the drama to bring the ideas of her prize-winning Citizen, An American Lyric to a medium where dialogue is most often the means of communication. As is frequently the case in plays that involve disagreement between characters, a dinner party plays a prominent role in The White Card. At the opening of this two scene piece, Virginia (Patricia Kalember) and Charles (Daniel Gerroll), a wealthy white middle-aged married couple who live in...

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Rude Mechs’ Experiment With Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov”

Rude Mechs, an Austin-based ensemble in their twenty-first year of collective creation, recently appeared at the Yale Repertory Theatre. As is their wont, Rude Mechs’ production is a reshaping of a work whose ideas, characters, potential for humor, and updating appealed to the group. The consensus is de rigueur in the running of this company. Field Guide, commissioned by Yale, is an unusual adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov now in its third iteration. Its source is the Constance Garnett translation of Dostoyevsky’s novel which runs to more than a thousand pages while the play is eighty minutes long. It is striking that...

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“Ada/Ava”: Silent Film In The 21st Century

ArtsEmerson is dedicated to bringing compelling and experimental theatre from all parts of the world to Boston. On January 10, Manual Cinema, a company that devises works that cross the line between cinema and theatre brought Ada/Ava to ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Theatre.  First produced in 2013, Ada/Ava is the second full-length production by this young Chicago collective of five. Since then they have added three more productions and become known in the US and abroad. Although Manual Cinema has its roots in shadow puppetry, they take pride in their films which are created anew at each performance in full sight of the audience. Onstage...

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“The State Of Siege” (L’état De Siège): A Political Warning

Albert Camus’ 1948 play The State of Siege (L’État de Siège) is presently touring the U.S. in a production by Paris’ celebrated Théâtre de la Ville. This is the company’s third visit to this country, but its first to Boston where it opened on November 9 at ArtEmerson’s Majestic Theatre. Camus was invited to write the play by the actor and mime Jean-Louis Barrault then also France’s leading director. As early as the late 1930s, Barrault began developing ideas for a drama based on the plague. At first, he collaborated with Antonin Artaud whose interest lay not in dialogue, but in creating...

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“The Revolutionists”: How Far Have We Come?

The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA is currently presenting The Revolutionists, a work by Lauren Gunderson that takes place in Paris during the Reign of Terror (1792-1793), a period of the French Revolution during which the leaders of the new government took revenge against those viewed as anti-revolutionists. The situation worsened when the government split into two factions, the Jacobins, and Girondins. Of the two the Jacobins were the more vicious. Arrests, quick trials, and the guillotine were the order of the day. Four “badass” women, as they refer to themselves, are with one exception...

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“Warholcapote” – Their World Of Celebrity, Competition, Conversation, Art, And Friendship

As its title seems to indicate, Warholcapote, a two-character play revolves around a relationship so close that both characters are in some way indistinguishable. Both were honored as avant-garde artists of the mid-twentieth century and both were celebrity hounds. Much of Warhol’s art consists of paintings of beautiful and famous actresses, most notably Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, the most prominent movie stars of their time. Nonetheless, he is perhaps most renowned for his pop art paintings of Campbell soup cans and other consumer goods of the middle class of the period. Truman Capote, a skilled conversationalist, began his writing...

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