Thursday, December 2, 2010

Allsorts from Britain sweeten the MET

Next week, The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre offers an assortment of writings and talent from a richly diverse and culturally mixed place we in America call Britain. From the interior, parlour-dreamed characters of Jane Austen, to the weathered wind-swept Welsh coastline of Dylan Thomas’ childhood, smack dab into a grimy basement somewhere in the “East End” of Harold Pinter’s imagination.

This is going to be great. Hard to decide which to see, pondering the possibility of taking in all four shows. Great theatre begins with great words, so over the past week I explored the library, re-reading Austen and Thomas, discovering Pinter’s printed plays. These words deserve the proper voiced music, the accents and colloquial tones to make the phrases come alive and transport us for a time across the Atlantic. The indigenous actors will offer that and more.

You’ll meet an ensemble of Jane Austen’s women, colourful complex characters from her novels. You’ll travel to the fictitious but very real seaside town of Milk Wood in Wales mapped by Dylan Thomas. In another show, Thomas’ reminiscences will come to life; Christmas time as a child, a visit with his grandfather, engaging poetics about good nights and Fern Hill. You’ll be trapped in a basement savoring two unsavory bickering blokes, hear a bit from the daily papers, and wonder who’s on the other end of a dumbwaiter. Pay close attention.

The MET has a magical way of taking you away, but taking you somewhere else to interesting places, meeting interesting people in an unlikely location in MidTown on Main. Inside the yellow warehouse looking building you’ll enter the front door and receive a warm welcome; treats on a table, refreshments. You’ll walk through a cozy black curtain into the theatre and choose a seat in one of the pews. You’ll be close to the magic of the stage, hear the animated voices and catch every expression from these wonderful actors.

After the show you’ll meet the cast members, if you care to stay a while. Bob Paisley will invite you to his Scotch whisky tasting on December 10th there. You’ll feel at home while having just walked in a meadow with the Dashwood sisters, sensing their sensibility, strolled in the rain through Milk Wood, and sat claustrophobic in that basement with those strange blokes.

Have a review of this preview in Present Magazine. Bring a bag of allsorts. Prepare for a sweet time at the MET, Mate.


Direct from the United Kingdom the works of Harold Pinter, Jane Austen and Dylan Thomas. Central Standard Theatre in partnership with Guy Masterson Theatre Tours International and the Blackout Theatre Company present British Invasion Week, December 7 - 12, 2010 at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3604 Main. See performances of Under Milk Wood, Fern Hill, Austen's Women, and The Dumb Waiter. Tickets on sale now at

Under Milk Wood
Tuesday, December 7, 7:30 PM
By Dylan Thomas
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza (with original direction by George Dillon)
Original music and Soundscape by Matt Clifford

Fern Hill
Friday, December 10, 7:30 PM
By Dylan Thomas
Performed by Guy Masterson
The programme includes three of Thomas' wonderful short stories; A Visit To Grandpa's, Holiday Memory and, of course, A Christmas Story (more popularly known as A Child's Christmas In Wales), plus a selection of his greatest verse including Fern Hill, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and Death Shall Have No Dominion.

Austen's Women
Wednesday, December 8 and Saturday, December 11, 7:30 PM
Adapted & performed by Rebecca Vaughan
Directed by Guy Masterson
Some of the most rewarding and exciting moments from the complete works of Jane Austen, the queen of English Literature! Brought to the stage in a superb performance of extraordinary virtuosity by Rebecca Vaughan, thirteen of Austen's beautifully observed women are assembled in one glorious distillation of 19th century feminism.

The Dumb Waiter
Thursday, December 9, 7:40 PM
Sunday, December 12, 2 PM
By Harold Pinter
Featuring David Baxter & Frank Spackman
In the basement of a long-abandoned restaurant, two hired killers nervously await their next assignment.

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