Repertory

LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST and THE BROKEN HEART - Reviews and Photos by Gregory Isaac

We are entering the final week of the "Love and Longing Repertory" at Quintessence Theatre Group, a 17th century double bill, of Shakespeare's LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST and John Ford's THE BROKEN HEART, (both set to close this weekend on April 23rd).

Working in repertory can be a maddening challenge.  You spend weeks in rehearsals, but with two full productions to attend to, both time and focus is split, making the production process feel lean and rushed. This is only more true when working on what some refer to as "true" rep, when the full cast and crew are working on both shows.  Mentally exhausting at times, yes, but once the machine is up and running, and has momentum, it is one of the most satisfying experiences I've had as a performer.  This, now, is the third time I have been a part of the process at Quintessence, and the highs and lows are just as tangible as ever. 

I like to think that the true effect of repertory is best experienced by an audience who sees both shows - perhaps on the same day, if possible - but I'm pleased to say that both LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST and THE BROKEN HEART stand as artistic achievements each on their own merits.  There are only six performances remaining before we close (two of LLL, and four of TBH), and one chance left to see them both, back-to-back, tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th.

Here's is a sample of some reviews and photos to entice you...

"Quintessence artistic director, Alexander Burns, excelled with large-scale classical dram in his first six seasons, but LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST reveals a confident comedic approach exceeding his earlier efforts."
   -Mark Cofta for the Broad Street Review

"The words and wit of Shakespeare are wonderfully, ofttimes wickedly (in the best way) delivered by a superb acting ensemble... All of these warring courtiers of amour vivify the romantic comedy with superb pop and sizzle."
   -Lisa Panzer for DC Metro Theater Arts

"THE BROKEN HEART richly rewards attention paid to it. Quintessence actors skillfully meet the twin challenges of subtleties of dialogue and grotesqueries of action as the present John Ford's exquisite poetry, hot drama, and cold blood."
   -Kathryn Osenlund for phindie

"Best reader among the actors is Gregory Isaac as the insanely jealous Bassanes.  With his beautiful voice and mastery of the poetry, he creates a Bassanes reminiscent of Leontes of 'The Winter's Tale'."
   -John Timpane for the Philadelphia Inquirer

Mattie Hawkinson, Josh Carpenter, and Gregory Isaac in THE BROKEN HEART Photo by Shawn May

Mattie Hawkinson, Josh Carpenter, and Gregory Isaac in THE BROKEN HEART
Photo by Shawn May

Kristin Devine, Mattie Hawkinson, Dana Kreitz, and Aneesa Neibauer in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST Photo by Shawn May

Kristin Devine, Mattie Hawkinson, Dana Kreitz, and Aneesa Neibauer in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST
Photo by Shawn May

John Williams, and Christopher Garofalo in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST Photo by Shawn May

John Williams, and Christopher Garofalo in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST
Photo by Shawn May

Dana Kreitz, Aneesa Neibauer, and Mattie Hawkinson in THE BROKEN HEART Photo by Shawn May

Dana Kreitz, Aneesa Neibauer, and Mattie Hawkinson in THE BROKEN HEART
Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac, Michael Gamache, Daniel Miller, Josh Carpenter, John Basiulis, and Josiah Jacoby in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST   Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac, Michael Gamache, Daniel Miller, Josh Carpenter, John Basiulis, and Josiah Jacoby in LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST   Photo by Shawn May

DOCTOR FAUSTUS - Reviews and Photos by Gregory Isaac

We got good news this morning from the theatre:  Buzz and tickets sales have been so strong that we are extending our "Devils and Saints" rep at Quintessence Theatre an additional week, through May 1st!! A really powerful, and very well received production of SAINT JOAN got us going a few weeks ago, I'm pleased to report that DOCTOR FAUSTUS has lived up to that high standard, with another round of rave reviews and audience enthusiasm.

As I'm tasked with the title role in FAUSTUS, I'm bashful about the warm reception the show is getting.  So, let me just give you the press:

Jim Rutter, for the Philadelphia Inquirer:
   "The Doctor Faustus of Christopher Marlowe's play sought all the pleasures and knowledge that mortal life could offer. Quintessence Theatre's production equals his quest by showing all the magic that a tremendous cast and imaginative staging can provide.
   "Isaac’s Faustus performance begins humble and frustrated, and by turns of his newfound power, turns devilishly charming and pitiably unrepentant.  Through his performance, Quintessence’s staging creates a lifecycle. If Marlowe’s play acknowledges friendship as the chief of earthly pleasures, then watching performances like Quintessence’s Doctor Faustus certainly stands a close second."

Mark Cofta, for the Broad Street Review:
   "Quintessence Theatre Group's "Devils and Saints" repertory is devilishly good. This fast and furious production [of DOCTOR FAUSTUS] puts a premium on spectacle, but is also remarkable clear verbally and easy to follow.  At the center of it all, on stage nearly the entire play, is Isaac's fascinating Faustus, led to ruin by his ego."

And, Neal Newman, for DC Metro Theatre Arts:
   "Add all of this into one magical cauldron and The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus gets this critic's highest recommendation. Raves all around for this one."

Both SAINT JOAN and DOCTOR FAUSTUS are now set to close the weekend of May 1st.  Performances have already begun to sell out.  So don't dilly-dally, my friends.  Reserve your tickets today and get yourself out to the Sedgwick!

Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac as Faustus, Josh Carpenter as Mephistophilis - Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac as Faustus, Josh Carpenter as Mephistophilis - Photo by Shawn May

Josh Carpenter as Mephistophilis, Leigha Kato as Evil Angel, John Basiulis as Lucifer, Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May

Josh Carpenter as Mephistophilis, Leigha Kato as Evil Angel, John Basiulis as Lucifer, Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May

Gregory Isaac as Faustus - Photo by Shawn May