October 23, 2014
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Broccoli’s “The Acting Company’ is powerful theatre
Don Fowler

I’ve said it before: Kevin Broccoli is one prolific writer.

Did I also say that he is also a powerful, perceptive, profound and provocative writer?

Broccoli’s latest venture is “The Acting Company,” a series of monologues performed by 150 – count ’em – 150 local actors, continuing over the next three weekends.

All of the brief pieces are connected, telling the story of the fictional Orpheus Theatre, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Actors dead and alive return to relate their experiences and feelings for the theatre, giving Broccoli the fodder to “celebrate theatre, art and the community.”

We watched the first group of 19 actors on opening night, and with the exception of one weak link they were brilliant. Beginning with Christin L. Goff telling us that the first show sucked in a hilarious bit that set the tone and ending with 2nd Story’s Lynne Collinson’s observations of the business side of theatre, “The Acting Company” is really good theatre about theatre.

Writer/director/actor Broccoli sums things up and has you leaving the original piece having a greater appreciation for the actors and “what they did for love.” There are many references to theatre politics, good and bad plays, and the ups and downs of trying to make a life in one of the oldest professions.

From the hilarious monologue by Ryan Hanley, where he talks about his dislike of “The Pajama Game” (Have you ever been in a show where you had absolutely no idea what was going on?) to a poignant reflection by Paula Faber, the evening is truly a celebration of the institution we call the theatre and the diversity of the people who make it go.

You may even think you see references to local folks, especially one director who tried to be overly obscure and failed miserably.

“The Acting Company” continues with a new set of actors each weekend (Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 pm (Aug. 12 and 26) and 7 p.m. (Aug. 19) through Aug. 26. The production is in the renovated and spacious Hope Artiste Village at 999 Main St. in Pawtucket, in the Zabinski Studio. There is free parking across the street. Tickets are a mere $10 (cheaper than a movie).


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