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Familiarity breeds ... success

Posted by Don Aucoin  November 30, 2010 04:41 PM

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     The fine Huntington Theatre Company production of Bob Glaudini's "Vengeance is the Lord's,'' which runs through Dec. 12, suggests two things:

    First, that family dramas seem to be a pitch in the Huntington's wheelhouse, at least lately. And second, that while a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders for a project, sometimes there's no substitute for the experience of a director who has demonstrated a clear affinity for a particular playwright.

    In September 2009, the Huntington mounted a first-rate production, directed by Kenny Leon, of August Wilson's "Fences.'' Leon, who had previously helmed Huntington productions of Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean'' and "Radio Golf, brought a deep understanding of the playwright's work that helped to illuminate "Fences.''

     Then, in January of this year, David Esbjornson directed an excellent production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons'' at the Huntington. Esbjornson had developed a good working relationship with Miller (who died in 2005) while directing two of his final plays, the 1998 New York premiere of "The Ride Down Mount Morgan'' and the world premiere of "Resurrection Blues'' in 2002.

     I'm not suggesting that Glaudini is in a class with Wilson and Miller. But on the evidence of "Vengeance,'' he is mighty good, and it sure doesn't hurt that he and DuBois are so obviously on the same page, creatively speaking. They have collaborated twice before, both times at the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York, where DuBois directed the playwright's "Jack Goes Boating,'' in 2007, in a production starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and "A View from 151st Street,'' in 2008.

     Bottom line: With "Vengeance,'' "Fences,'' and "Sons,'' we've got three family dramas, three successful productions, and three strong arguments for re-teaming directors and playwrights.

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