Exponential had a number of shows which delved into political questions, but with a more comedic approach. For Savannah Reich’s Caveman Play (Exponential), we were to imagine we were hunter-gatherers considering for the first time whether we wanted to give up that life for a new way of living called “agriculture.” Via a kind of PowerPoint presentation, arguments were presented for and against staying put to domesticate animals, plants, and ourselves. The joke of the play was that we know all what will actually happen to the world, and this is a kind of magical thinking—that we have the power to change the fate of the world if only we could go back in time and vote against agriculture. But it was the keyboardist dressed in a tiger onesie that hooked me.
–Where Have All the Festivals Gone? A January Wrap-Up, Nicole Serratore, American Theatre Magazine
Reich’s signal gift is to combine daring arguments with a sure sense of theatricality and a generous trust in her collaborators. Ward rewards that trust with a triumphant performance.
– “Hatchet Lady” rocks out to hatchet-wielding anti-booze badass Carrie Nation, Jay Gabler, City Pages
On a Wednesday night with a nearly full house at the parking-challenged Red Eye Theater, I saw a bizarre and possibly brilliant creation. Walking Shadow’s new bio-musical Hatchet Lady about temperance activist Carrie Nation is in some ways neither a biography nor a musical. There is music and it is somewhat about Carrie Nation, but it doesn’t follow the structure of any musical I’ve seen. And that’s a good thing.
–Hatchet Lady at Walking Shadow Theater, cherryandspoon.com
Theatre, with its enforced awareness of the performers as people and its fusion of metaphor to physicality, is uniquely suited as a tool of empathy. There’s no better example of bodies on stage fulfilling that mission right now than Available Light’s production of Savannah Reich’s Paradise Park Zoo directed by Eleni Papaleonardos.
Available Light’s Paradise Park Zoo is a Dazzling Cry of Love, Richard Sanford, Columbus Underground
“Young Minneapolis playwright Savannah Reich produces some of the funniest, smartest, most profound shows in the Twin Cities…”
– Weekend Picks, Jahna Peloquin, Vita.MN
“You Don’t Have to Choose… is Johns and Reich at their best. It’s very funny, it’s truly touching, and the contrapuntal relationships are navigated with great confidence and intelligence. I’m sure some people question my credibility for so lavishly praising everything Johns and Reich do, but if You Don’t Have to Choose… doesn’t make you think, make you feel, and make you laugh, then you and I are looking for fundamentally different things in theater and, probably, life.”
–New Comedy is No Joke, Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
“The cumulative effect is ecstatic and wrenching, a phantasmagoria of desire distilled to unnerving honesty.”
–Dali’s Liquid Ladies, Carl Atiya Swanson, Cake in 15
“Dalí’s Liquid Ladies took a strong premise—a look behind the scenes at the surrealistic pavilion Salvador Dalí (played by an inspired Jon Mac Cole) built for the 1939 World’s Fair—and pushed it into further realms, and then into realms further still. In its short running time, the show sketched the connections and tensions between fear and desire, between freedom and restraint, and between the real and the surreal. More than just demonstrating why Dalí’s ideas were so powerful, the show was also—like Dalí himself—funny, erotic, and deeply strange.”
–Top Ten Productions of 2009, Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet.
BAD REVIEWS THAT ACTUALLY SAY THINGS I LIKE A LOT:
Experimental and chameleonic to a fault, Paradise Park Zoo is more of a happening than a play.
–Surreal Comedy Less of a Play and More of a Happening , The Columbus Dispatch
“The audience I saw Hatchet Lady—a near full house—was notably younger than most Twin Cities theater crowds, and vocally enjoying the show immensely—the black humor, the music, the way the whole enterprise plays fast and loose with convention. I was admiring the work’s audacity and Maren War’s full tilt performance, but there clearly is an audience keen on Hatchet Lady in ways that elude me. Which is what makes the diversity of our theater scene such a treasure.”
–Regional Reviews, Arthur Dorman, talkinbroadway.com
An interview with Barbara Jwanouskos about “Six Monsters; A Seven Monster Play” on the San Francisco Theater Pub blog.
An interview with Michelle Embree about “Toby Johnson Was My Best Friend In Junior High” on her blog.