2014 was a rich year for the Boston theatre scene. Our reviewers saw plays fuelled by androids and absurdists, featuring ships being wrecked and planes taking off, energetic companies bringing to life works by classic playwrights, modern playwrights, and brand-spanking-new playwrights. And now, we are proud to announce the winners of the 2014 My Theatre (Boston) Awards:
Best New Work
Astro Boy and The God of Comics, by Natsu Onoda Power (Company One)
Company One leaps at projects less-daring companies would shy away from. Not surprising that they made a big splash last summer with Astro Boy. This multimedia piece (using projections, animations, and live-cartooning performed by a fantastic ensemble), is Power’s thrilling and moving homage to the legendary artist Osamu Tezuka, and his classic character, Astro Boy.
Alex Pollock in The Flick (Company One)
The Flick reminded us all about what life in a small-town, rundown movie theater is like, and the potential for personal drama that bubbles up in any low-wage job. Pollock was particularly explosive in C1’s production, bringing a whopping dose of cantankerousness, pathos, and hilarity to the role.
Eunice Wong in Smart People (Huntington Theatre Company)
Eunice Wong played the tightly-wound, ultra-successful, compassionate, and complex Ginny Yang in the Huntington production of Smart People. Wong conveyed Ginny’s prickliness with the same care and power needed for her to effectively portray Ginny’s vulnerabilities, and the result was an outstanding performance.
Necessary Monsters, by John Kuntz (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
I called Kuntz’s new play “monstrous and daring,” and I stand by that characterization. Coming at the tail end of 2014, this production was stunningly staged and directed, but my highest praise goes to the eight talented actors (including the playwright) who made the creepy, multilayered world of the play a reality, or rather an unreality.
David R. Gammons, for Comedy of Errors (Actor Shakespeare Project)
I love how Gammons consistently manages to electrify classic works without indulging in Julie Taymor-like flash and panache. I didn’t think I could love a production of Shakespeare’s earliest (and perhaps silliest) comedy, but I loved ASP’s production of The Comedy of Errors. As I wrote in my review: “Catching contemporary sources of wit while also being skillfully guided through early modern English by these crazy carnies may actually be the closest I have ever come to identifying with those Jacobean viewers over four hundred years ago. An amazing feat.”
Smart People, by Lydia R. Diamond (Huntington Theatre Company)
I can’t gush enough about this play, and this production. The subject is timely, the dialogue roaringly funny, the actors were compelling, the designs and transitions seamless. I sometimes feel I spend more time critiquing Huntington shows than salivating over them, but this production took the cake for me in 2014. A job very, very well done.