Theater 808 revives Helen Edmundson's family drama set in 17th-century Ireland, during Oliver Cromwell's ruthless campaign to force out Catholics. More…
Robert, an English aristocrat, and his free-spirited Irish wife, Maddy, find their loving relationship threatened by Ireland's dangerous political climate. Should Robert ensure his own economic prosperity by betraying his wife and child, or should he risk banishment to an inhospitable land to keep his family intact? 'The Clearing' examines our universal desire for acceptance amid prejudice and fear in a tale of treachery, romance, and passion.
"A history play re-conceived as a modernist take on universal themes has the potential to reveal deep truths. Yet in director Pamela Moller Kareman’s design-heavy treatment of Helen Edmundson’s play, the modernist gloss dulls the overall impact. Concept trumps nuance, speeches are swallowed by actor movements, costuming choices raise more questions than answers, and specifics and universals end up in a bit of a muddle...A frustrating treatment of the historical material." Full Review
"Despite its thematic importance, 'The Clearing' is flawed. It imparts this chunk of horrible history with glancing blows, short-circuiting the power and gravitas of its awful and gut-wrenching circumstances...Unfortunately, Pamela Moller Kareman’s direction doesn’t successfully elevate Edmunson’s limited and scattershot script...Acting was uneven (as were the accents), and although the pace moves along, there are no relieving light moments–no letup in heaviness and angst." Full Review
"Edmundson has written a classic piece of historical drama with trajectory, meat and message. Much of the language is rich and appealing. Unfortunately, this is barely discernible in a wrongheaded production. Among a company of eight, perhaps two actors maintain focus...Where does one begin with a director who pins her actors’ arms stiffly to their sides when gestures would be natural [and] oversees actors conveying passionate speeches with hands in their pockets?" Full Review
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