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Raise a glass to Olga, the eldest of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters.”. Channeled by Beth Wilmurt, a stalwart at Aurora Theatre Company known for the haunting vulnerability she brings to parts from “The Eccentricities of a Nightingale” to “The New Electric Ballroom,” Olga is a diva trapped in a school marm’s life. Wilmurt first fell for Olga long ago when playing the Chekhovian heroine in “Yes Yes to Moscow.” Now she brings her to life for a tearful farewell. This is Olga as a boozy chanteuse in cowboy boots with an eye for the soldiers and a heart full of wistful song. Developed as part of the Aurora’s new works program Originate + Generate, “Olga” is part concert, part cabaret and quite intoxicating. It’s an hourlong flirtation with one of the most enigmatic characters in the canon as she laughs and cries with the boys in the band.
While “Olga” remains a work-in-progress and the thematic connections to Chekhov need far more grounding in the music, it’s hard to resist the truthfulness of the piece, which was conceived as well as performed by Wilmurt, Olga tends to the audience as if we were all chummy guests in her parlor, pouring the vino and playing the piano, Her sisters have all fled their provincial town, leaving her alone to play schoolmistress to other people’s children and stew in her own bloch split sole ballet shoes regrets..
Sitting at the piano, staring off into a film of snow falling on trees, perhaps a cherry orchard, Olga welcomes us into her inner circle. A spinster at 28, Olga bemoans that the trio of her sisters has broken up and now she must fly solo, but here the band always has her back, particularly Gabe Maxson, who holds his own on the harmonica. This is a sort of American fantasia on Russian themes as seen through the prism of the pop songbook. Wilmurt first caresses the piano keys and then dances around the mike, vamping her way from Stevie Wonder’s “Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday” to Los Lobos “I Got Loaded.”.
All of the songs feel surprisingly fresh here, stripped of their familiar arrangements and harmonies, Wilmurt is a stealthy songstress, never calling attention to her voice or her showmanship, but rather slowly inhabiting each melody as if she were simply talking to us about her life, One of the most beautiful moments occurs during Johnny Cash’s “A Legend in My Time.” Shedding tears as the soldiers take their leave, Olga retreats into her solitude, The sharpness of her pain cuts to the bone, Wilmurt is also devastating in a version of “Illusions.” If you didn’t recognize it as a Marlene Dietrich favorite, you might think it was bloch split sole ballet shoes a new song, written by Wilmurt, That’s how much unassuming emotional candor she brings to each lyric..
An intimate gathering held in the tiny Harry’s UpStage, the 60-minute piece is small and vivid, the perfect holiday elixir for drama junkies addicted to the pleasurable pangs of existential yearning. The intensity of the staging is its magic, although in the opening moments, the film may detract from the performers. There are also too many moments of stillness where the quiet doesn’t seem entirely filled. As the evening unfurls and the music seduces the ear, the show gains a sense of its own voice.
We’ve been trained to expect the unexpected from Guillermo del Toro, The Mexican auteur has infused his unique vision and intelligence into movies about bizarre comic book antiheroes (“Hellboy” I & II), giant battle robots (“Pacific Rim”) and gothic horror (“Crimson Peak”), while investing the most of his singular design genius and psychological insight into smaller, more personal and historically informed pieces such as “Cronos,” bloch split sole ballet shoes “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”..
Now del Toro has taken all of his creative passion to the wall with “The Shape of Water.” A fable like no other, it’s a Cold War-era tale of a mute janitor named Elisa Esposito (English actress Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with a recently discovered half-fish, half-man thing (del Toro’s go-to creature player Doug Jones in the scaly suit) being held at the secret government facility she cleans. With the help of her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), work partner Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and Soviet mole Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), Elisa plots the manimal’s escape from the unforgiving control of government agent Strickland (Michael Shannon).
And then discovers that she wouldn’t want to live without the creature, Dizzyingly romantic and dazzlingly gorgeous, the movie, which picked up 3 awards (including for del Toro’s direction and Hawkins’ performance) at bloch split sole ballet shoes the L.A, Film Critics Association awards, addresses eternal American issues while staging sequence after sequence that only del Toro could have imagined, We talked to the filmmaker about what looks like the ultimate expression of his lifelong monster love, Q: “The Shape of Water” seems like a culmination of all the themes, loves and obsessions from a quarter century of your work..