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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Conversations in Hell

The Boulevard Presents Shaw’s ‘Don Juan’

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The Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre stages George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell without any formal costuming or set design. The production focuses a conversation in hell between the legendary lover Don Juan, the devil and a few others. Stripped of all distractions, the drama plays out in studio-theatre intimacy.

David Flores makes one “Hell” of an entrance as the Devil. He's endlessly charming in the role. All too often the Devil is played as an imposing figure. It's refreshing to see him as the life of the party, an ingratiating guy you don't mind spending a couple of hours with. Boulevard’s artistic director Mark Bucher plays an old military man who made it into heaven, but prefers hanging out in hell. The character is kind of slow intellectually, but Bucher cleverly brings out the comedy in this without making his lack of articulation seem outright clownish and stupid.

Jason Will plays Don Juan with deep, resonant masculinity. He's utterly confident in himself. To his credit, Will makes this work without coming across as being obnoxious. The rich, thoughtful texture to his voice inexplicably reminds one of smoking a decent cigar with a snifter of really good brandy.

Marion Araujo rounds out the cast as Dona Ana, one of Juan's former lovers, and brings strength and pride to the character. With shockingly irresistible poise, she commands a beautiful kind of strength that adds immeasurably to the production.

Don Juan in Hell
runs through Dec. 2 at the Boulevard Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.boulevardtheatre.com or by phone at 414-744-5757.
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