Entertainment » Theatre

The Weird

by Clinton Campbell
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Sep 13, 2017
A scene from "The Weird.'
A scene from "The Weird.'  

Off the Grid Theatre's current world premiere "The Weird" is well... a bit weird... but also a fascinating and entirely engrossing evening.

Structurally, it is a set of four short -- and very different -- plays by some of Boston's best local playwrights held together by sequences of movement.

Thematically, it uses witchcraft to talk about feminism, gender politics, and the way women come together to strengthen and support each other. Yet it is also a meditation on the general anxiety that has gripped the nation over the last few months.

It's a tall order. And it works.

Director Steven Bogart has crafted a fluid yet coherent production that lets each work have its own individual moment while also highlighting their commonalities.

The ensemble of nine women and one man are uniformly strong and seem to relish in the fluidity of both their roles as well as the overall production.

After a short movement piece, the evening begins with Kirsten Greenigde's "Gather." A piece about a family coping with the impending death of their mother, it is probably the most difficult of the four to follow because it is broken up and interspersed throughout the other works.

The remaining plays in order are: "The Ear of Our Lord" (by John Kuntz) is a highly stylized moment from the Salem witch hysteria; Lila Rose Kaplan's "Letter from the Coven" about a private girl's school with ulterior motives; and "Era Era" (by Obehi Janice) is about a women's power podcast.

Each work has an entirely different, style, tone, and rhythm so the unity that Mr. Bogart creates is no small feat.

To help enhance the cohesiveness, are simple yet impeccable design elements -- including Mary Sader's sets and Rachel Padula-Shufelt's costumes. Especially effective is Marcella Barbeau's moody lighting and Lee Schuna's ethereal sound design.

Lovers of new plays should not miss this opportunity to see one of the most unique and ambitious works to hit Boston in recent memory.

"The Weird" continues through September 16 at the Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. For further information, visit the Off The Grid Theatre Company's website.

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