"Mala" & "Shakespeare in Love": Perils of Cast Typing

No, that's not a typo, but a reference to the fact that a certain theater critic has been out of commission for the past month due to injuries incurred while snow shoveling, leading to a painfully pinched nerve that affected one's typing of a cast list, whether as small a cast as that of Huntington Theater's Mala (a solo effort) or a piece affording employment for what seems like most of the remaining local acting community as in the case of SpeakEasy Stage's Shakespeare in Love. For the record, both were splendid in starkly different ways.  Both were presented on the stages of the Calderwood Pavilion.

George Olesky & Jennifer Ellis in "Shakespeare in Love"
(photo: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots)

Shakespeare in Love is based on the film of the same name, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and superbly directed here by Scott Edmiston. It features local gems George Olesky and the ever-luminous Jennifer Ellis as well as a host of Boston's finest. The entire cast as well as the technical crew deserve mention, though it's just not possible at this point in time.

The cast of Mala, more easily typed, consists of one electrifying performer, Melinda Lopez, presenting her own partly autobiographical work, as directed by David Dower. Hers was a heartfelt tale that she delivered a couple of seasons ago, and remains as fresh as ever. Here the technical effects were also perfectly suited for the show, making for a fully engrossing theatrical experience.
Shakespeare in Love remains at SpeakEasy for a final week, and it's an exhilarating romp that manages to be literate, lusty and lovable. So get thee to the Calderwood. On the other hand, Mala has left us, but fear not if you missed it. PBS had the wisdom to record it for future broadcast.

Melinda Lopez in "Mala"
(photo: Paul Marotta)

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