Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

Once More Three Times: Staging a Monologue

The Boulevard embraces the drama of three people

By Russ Bickerstaff
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I could’ve been really profoundly disgusted with another set of staged monologues. I guess that’s why I’m glad I didn’t think too much about it. There have been a great many staged monologues this past season. The Boulevard Theatre’s latest is the next in a long line of shows in which actors act and characters talk, but not to each other. It’s kind of refreshing to hear a story delivered entirely in description from one of the characters, but any type of style can be overdone. 

 

There’s something really potent about a monologue on a stage the size of the Boulevard’s though . . . the Boulevard’s theatre space is one of the snuggest of Milwaukee’s theatre snuggeries. In a town with some very intimate theatre spaces, the Boulevard’s is one of the smallest. And really . . . the smaller the venue the better for a monologue.

Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s This Lime Tree Bower is kind of a three-layered coming of age story told by three different characters through three different actors. Three actors take turns tackling differing ends of interconnected stories.

Boulevard Theatre Artistic Director Mark Bucher knows how to get the most out of this space. Once again, there’s very little set or scenery . . . and there’s just enough of a pattern on the walls and the floor to keep it all aesthetically pleasing as a small crowd listens to three people taking turns telling stories. Donald Madden, Marty McNamee and particularly Rachel Lewandowski breathe some pretty energizing life into the story of three people. (I loved seeing Lewandowski in this one. She's given what appears to be the funnest role in the show and delivers it really well. I found myself leaning-in just a bit closer every time she spoke.) This is a really nice play for this time of year. The weather isn’t certain exactly which way its going to be headed in, but you know it’s getting better. And that’s kind of the perfect parallel wit these three characters. It may have been simply choosing to go with something Irish around St. Patrick’s day, but on the thematic mood of this peace matches the overall feeling of the end of winter quite well.

The Boulevard’s production of This Lime Tree Bower runs through April 1st. For ticket reservations, call 414-744-5757. A review of the show runs in the next Shepherd-Express.

 


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