Theatre Mirror’s Glowing Review of A Piece of My Heart

Theatre Mirror’s Glowing Review of A Piece of My Heart

We’re excited to share Theater Mirror’s review of our current show A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro. The glowing review, by James Wilkinson, drives home the importance of showcasing the perspectives and experiences of underrepresented groups, like the women who served in Vietnam. My Wilkinson also compliments the script and how well Ms. Lauro presents each woman’s story.

He had even more phenomenal things to say about this particular production, noting: “But here, director Nora Hussey and her cast of actors find a way to pull the audience in so that the events of the play feel immediate and intimate. What we’re getting is the direct and emotional experience of these women as it is happening.”

 “…but the real magic of this production comes from a very subtle, hypnotic spell that it casts to draw you in. In the final scenes of the play when the characters meet at a vet support group, after watching everything the characters had gone through, I found myself incredibly moved by where they end up and how they push on. Certainly this is a testament to the fantastic company of actors who really invest in the journey of the characters.”

Mr. Wilkinson then closes the review with, “Ultimately what recommends the production is the heart and humanity that the Wellesley Repertory Theater team has put it into it.”

To read the full review, go to the post for the play A Piece of My Heart.

 

Show offers proof that lying never goes out of style

Show offers proof that lying never goes out of style

Boston Globe – January 7, 2018
By Lenny Megliola
 GLOBE CORRESPONDENT

WELLESLEY — It’s just by happenstance that the Wellesley College Repertory Theatre is presenting “The Liar” at a time when lying has become a fibbin’ plague in America.

We don’t know whom to believe anymore, from the White House on downIt’s something to get angry about, and we have.

It’s not really a fad. People have been lying forever. It was in the 17th century that Pierre Corneille scripted “The Liar.” The play’s a French farce, made for laughs. This fast-talking liar is named Dorante, a charming young man who, the story goes, is incapable of telling the truth.

Dorante falls in love with a young woman, whom he mistakes for her friend. The lies — and the laughs — come fast and furious.

Marta Rainer of the Wellesley College Theatre Studies Department is directing the play. The irony of the title hasn’t escaped her. “We’re all craving the truth,” she said, “and I think we all need a laugh right now.”

The play opens Jan. 12 at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. Adapted for today by David Ives, the script feels as fresh as the original must have in 1643.

“We have people in the public eye blatantly lying to the public,” said cast member Ariela Nazar-Rosen, who graduated from Wellesley in 2016.

“How much do politicians lie today, and what are the consequences?” asked Angela Bilkic, who graduated in 2015 and is also in the cast.

But fear not, this onstage liar is neither mean-spirited nor a bum. “There’s a likeability about Dorante,” said Dan Prior, who is playing the role. “He’s not lying out of malice or trying to hurt anyone. He likes to be on center stage.”

Why did the director choose this play?

“In a sense it chose me,” said Rainer, who recently moved to Wellesley. “I wanted something that was fun. It has a comic book sensibility. Different types of audiences will find something in it. The actors are excited. It’s all done in verse. Every line has a rhyme.”

There’s no escaping that the production has overtones of current society, giving Rainer a lot to work with. “This play is rife with opportunity. I’m having a ball,” Rainer said.

“I read the play several times before I auditioned,” Prior said. “I love the comedy nitty-gritty and the command of language. It’s wordplay, and the physicality is so important to tell the story.”

Dorante may be overblown with bravado, but Prior takes a different slant. “It’s more that he’s just aspirant. He’s bigger than himself. He shines out. He’s a flawed character, but can he rise from that?”

Bilkic plays Lucrece and Nazar-Rosen Clarice, neither whom Dorante can figure out. Mistaken identity plays a major role here.

“It’s ironic this is called ‘The Liar’ because you can see the truths in people,” Nazar-Rosen said. “With a play like this it’s easy to exaggerate everything.”

As for Clarice, Nazar-Rosen said that “she’s also manipulating. She catches Dorante in his own trap. They do not end up together. She’s engaged, but she’s looking to see what else is out there. I really love this character. It gives me a chance to explore.”

Bilkic’s Lucrece is “upper-middle-class and austere. A shell of a person. But she loosens up. Lucrece reveals what she really wants and who she is. She wants fun and love without restraints. She feels people don’t necessarily marry for love, but she wants to.”

The cast has taken to the play’s rhyming verse. “The language is most interesting,” Bilkic said. “I’ve a fan of Shakespeare. I’ve done Shakespeare. But nothing like this.”

Bilkic embarked on her acting career at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge. Wellesley only heightened her goals. “I realized theater was what I wanted to do.” In the past year she did stage work and short films in New York City.

Nazar-Rosen, just a year out of college, is also pursing a full theater career.

Prior is already a stage veteran. “This show brings me up to 150 since 1991,” he said. “I did ‘Peter Pan’ in kindergarten and never stopped.” He has appeared on numerous local stages, including at Waltham’s Reagle Music Theatre.

Rainer has “toured the world” doing shows she’s written. The gigs have taken her to Russia, Turkey, international festivals, and across the United States.

“I’m happy to bring ‘The Liar’ to a local audience,” she said.

It’s a play that’ll make you laugh. And that’s the truth.

Lenny Megliola can be reached at lennymegs41@gmail.com.

A Piece of My Heart

A Piece of My Heart

A Piece of My Heart

by Shirley Lauro, Directed by Nora Hussey

Suggested by the book by Keith Walker

This is a powerful, true drama of six women who went to Vietnam: five nurses and a country western singer booked by an unscrupulous agent to entertain the troops. The play portrays each young woman before, during and after her tour in the war-torn jungle and ends as each leaves a personal token at The Wall in Washington. “There have been a number of plays dealing with Vietnam, but none with the direct, emotional impact of Ms. Lauro’s work”. – NY Times

The Cast

Victoria George*: Martha
Marge Dunn: Mary Jo
Ariela Nazar-Rosen: Sissy
Sarah Lord*: Whitney
Jenna Lea Scott*: Leeann
Andrea Lyman*: Steele
Danny Bolton*:  American Man
Alan White*: American Man

*member of Actor’s Equity Association

Danny Bolton*

Marge Dunn

Victoria George*

Sarah Lord*

Andrea Lyman*

Ariela Nazar-Rosen

Jeanna Lea Scott*

Alan White*

Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre

106 Central St. Alumnae Hall | Wellesley College Campus

PERFORMANCES

May 31 – June 24, 2018

Sat.  June 16th @ 7pm is SOLD OUT

Evenings:  Thurs., Fri., & Sat. @ 7pm

      Matinees:  Sat. & Sun. @  2pm

        NO 7pm show on June 9th

_______________

TICKETS:

$20 general admission | $10 seniors and students

PAY WHAT YOU CAN on Thursdays!

To make a reservation call the Box Office @ 781-283-2000
The theatre is handicapped accessible,
Please email disabilityservices@wellesley.edu for information.

Production Staff

Director – Nora Hussey

Stage Management – Lindsay Garofalo

Set Design – Janie Howland

Production Management – David Towlun

Photographer – David Brooks Andrews

Projection Design – Johnathan Carr

Costume Design – Chelsea Kerl

Sound Design – George Cooke

Lighting Design – Matt Whiton

Assistant Production Management – Diana Lobontiu ’18

Assistant Stage Management – Mieke Bovbjerg

Box Office Manager – Meghan Howard

Wellesley Repertory Theater Offers up A ‘Piece of My Heart’

Review by James Wilkinson

A Piece of My Heart – Written by Shirley Lauro. Directed by Nora Hussey. Set Design by Janie Howland. Costume Design by Chelsea Kurl. Lighting Design by Matt Whiton. Projection Design by Johnathan Carr. Sound Design by George Cooke. Dramaturgy by Laura Zawarski. Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre, at Wellesley College 106 Central Street, Wellesley through June 24.

There’s been a long overdue push in recent years, for the inclusion of a wider range of voices and experiences in mainstream culture. I found myself thinking about this while I was watching Wellesley Repertory Theatre’s production of Shirley Lauro’s A Piece of My Heart – precisely because the production is a prime example of what can happen when you let the perspectives of underrepresented groups into the room. Suddenly we’re able to come at institutions, narratives and historical events from new angles. The Vietnam War looms large for artists of a certain generation and can seem like a “been there/done that” topic. Artistic mediums have been dissecting both the war itself and the circumstances surrounding it since before it was even over. But as I was watching Wellesley Rep’s show, I realized that while I could easily name a number of cultural artistic touchstones that told the story of the men in that war, (Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse NowPlatoonFull Metal Jacket, The Deer Hunter, the works of Tim O’Brien, etc.), there weren’t any stories that immediately came to mind that focused on the women who acted beside those men. That’s where Lauro’s play and Wellesley Rep’s production comes in. In addition to being a finely crafted evening of theater, A Piece of My Heart provides a necessary history lesson on a traditionally underserved group, female Vietnam Vets.

In Lauro’s play the large strokes of the characters’ arcs are perhaps not too different from any of the male-centric stories that I listed above. We watch as a collection of women decide to join the war effort, cope with the high stress of working in combat and then return home to a country that is unable to properly take care of them. Part of what is different and interesting here is how Lauro chooses to present these stories. Each of the women speaks for herself, often times directly addressing the audience and the focus cuts between the different women as each details her own particular experiences with battle. The effect of this mosaic of voices is a kind of living memoir. In the play’s opening scene, the characters stand, facing away from us, and one by one each gets the chance to turn to the audience and narrate their own story.

I’ve seen other plays employ direct address and in the past I’ve always found it to have a somewhat frustratingly distancing effect. Rather than getting the chance to be in the scene, the audience is told about the scene. But here, director Nora Hussey and her cast of actors find a way to pull the audience in so that the events of the play feel immediate and intimate. What we’re getting is the direct and emotional experience of these women as it is happening. Being a play concerned with war, it’s no surprise that some of the most visceral moments come during battle scenes, but the real magic of this production comes from a very subtle, hypnotic spell that it casts to draw you in. In the final scenes of the play when the characters meet at a vet support group, after watching everything the characters had gone through, I found myself incredibly moved by where they end up and how they push on. Certainly this is a testament to the fantastic company of actors who really invest in the journey of the characters. When we meet them they’re full of optimism and pluck. By the end of the play, they don’t regret their service to their country, but the actors’ faces show that they’re now aware of the high personal cost they paid.

I realize that by saying that it would be good for you to see A Piece of My Heart it sounds like I’m telling you to eat your vegetables. And it’s true, I do think that there’s value in being exposed to narratives about underserved groups like women and people of color. But at the end of the day, this production is so much more than that. Ultimately what recommends the production is the heart and humanity that the Wellesley Repertory Theater team has put it into it. And having just celebrated Memorial Day, the play also serves as a touching reminder of the cost often paid by those who serve.