The cast of The Classics Theatre Project’s ‘The Seagull.’ (Photos by Kate Voskova)

Stage Notes is a weekly aggregate post about theater, classical music and stage news, events, reviews and other pertinent information.

Opening this week:

Moore Dance: Flamenco Black, Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center, pictured.

Ballet Papillon: Revival, Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center

Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Prohibition: The Music of Moulin Rouge, Boardwalk Empire and More!, Friday-Sunday

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: Schumann and Brahms, Friday-Sunday at Bass Hall.

Garland Civic Theatre: Crimes of the Heart, Friday-Sept. 24.

Lewisville Playhouse: Moon Over Buffalo, Friday-Sept. 24.

Lyric Stage: The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Friday-Oct. 8 at the Lyric Studio Space.

Shakespeare Dallas: King Lear, Wednesday-Oct. 15 at Samuell-Grand Amphitheater.

Onstage now:

Art Centre Theatre: Medea, through Sunday.

Richardson Centre Theatre: Misery, through Sept. 17.

The Classics Theatre Project: The Seagull, through Sept. 24 at the Stone Cottage.

Artisan Center Theatre: Some Enchanted Evening, through Sept. 30.

Stage West: Grand Horizons, through Oct. 1, pictured.

Artisan Center Theatre: Oliver!, through Oct. 7.

AirOtic Soirée: A Circus-Style Burlesque Show, through Oct. 28 at Viva’s Lounge.

Cara Mia announces a season of Bodies Made of Stories 

On Thursday, Cara Mía Theatre announced its 2023-2024 season under the theme Bodies Made of Stories, which will feature five productions celebrating diverse voices. The season begins this month with a festival of plays and two more productions in 2024. The season includes a world premiere and collaborative projects.

“What is the battleground for planetary and individual health? I believe it is the stories we tell ourselves,” David Lozano, Executive Artistic Director of Cara Mía Theatre said in today’s press release. “Are we living out stories of division and oppression, or are we celebrating our diversity and unity? Our 2023-24 season, Bodies Made of Stories, aims to uplift the vast diversity of our Latinx experiences in our communities.”

The Latinidades: A Festival of New Works will feature the season’s first three productions running from September through October.

The season includes (from Cara Mia):

Sept. 29-Oct. 1: We Have Iré by Paul S. Flores. This co-production with Flores is a bilingual, musical play about the triumphant journeys of artists from Cuba’s countryside to the United States and back. Brought together by their common pursuit of achieving their dreams, their stories come to life through Afro-Caribbean music, contemporary dance, spoken word, storytelling, and jazz. Directed by Rosalba Rolon.

Oct. 5-8: Your Healing is Killing Me by Virginia Grise. This national touring production is presented in association with todo dar productions. In this playwright’s manifesto, escape hatches to freedom exist everywhere we are willing to see them–from the treatments and consejos of curanderas, abortion doctors, Marxist artists, and bougie dermatologists. Directed by Kendra Ware.

Oct. 12-15: Barrio Daze written and performed by Adrian Villegas. This solo comedy show from Austin tells the story of a fateful Election Day in the barrio through the lives of nine very different characters. The communities under attack strike back against a rabidly conservative politician in the heated Senatorial race. At the frontline is the hood’s very own Chicano school teacher’s inspiring grass-roots campaign.

Feb. 17-March 5: Yanga by Jaime Chabaud. This co-production with Soul Rep Theatre is inspired by the real-life story of Gaspar Yanga, an enslaved African Prince who led a rebellion and successfully negotiated an independent territory with the Spanish crown less than 100 years after the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Mexico. Newly translated to English for the first time, Yanga sheds light on the history of the Afro-Mexican experience. Directed by Aynika McMillan, this show is part of the Café/Negro Series.

April 6-21: Diosa. This world premiere production was created in collaboration with The Manifesto Poetico. This new play was inspired by Coatlicue, the mother of all Aztec Gods. Featuring live music and physical theatre, Diosa explores a world that reflects our ancient feminine archetype, a return to co-existence with Mother Nature, and a future inspired by our collective dream. 

All performances at the Latino Cultural Center. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Review: TCPT’s The Seagull soars with drama through its own obstacles

For theatergoers, humor doesn’t immediately come to mind regarding Anton Chekhov plays. But in Anya Reiss’ 2012 adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, the play was rife with wit and laughs amid the heavy drama of its story. With that refreshed version set in the modern day, The Classics Theatre Project opened its production last weekend at the Stone Cottage in Addison.

With a minimalist set of one backdrop and a lot of seating, Terry Martin directed the show with a fine touch. The entire cast was perpetually onstage in the intimate venue even when offstage where they retreated to the wall to sit in wait for cues. The efficiency of it added a texture to the show as the actors stayed neutral in character the whole time even while doing nothing.

The minimalism also presented its challenges at last Saturday’s performance. With a cast of 10, characters were confusing at first. The relationships among them were difficult to ascertain until about the middle of the first act. Casual costuming reflected the modern day, but no change of costumes added to the confusion of the time-forward second act. These were immediate distractions, but the cast work was undeniably salient.

The Seagull happens on an isolated island estate serving New England vibes. A family of artists and surrounding guests battle through secret loves, blooming artistry and failed ambitions.

Noah Riddle followed up his strong performance in TCPT’s Long Day’s Journey with another impressive feat as Constantine. He channeled the character’s driven youth as a budding playwright with deep affection. Insular but passionate, Riddle gave an understated performance with rich layers. As Constantine’s love interest Nina, Devon Rose unpacked her character as an oblivious young actor who grew into disappointment. The transformation was subtle but she reflected that journey particularly in her character’s sadness.

As Constantine’s mother Irina, Laurel Whitsett was the show’s “Karen.” Both boastful about her own career and demeaning to others, Whitsett’s performance was daring as she condescended to her rivals with a heartfelt smile and then in turn expressed love and concern where she saw fit. Whitsett delivered a fully-realized character with astounding nuance.

Joey Folsom, pictured, played the more established author Boris challenged by Constantine and who was also Irina’s lover. The character shifted his affection toward Nina. The two actor’s chemistry was white-hot passionate and Folsom painted Boris with a brooding brush.

Writing this, I’m realizing the cast mostly performed in an understated key. That added to the tension that existed between characters but also the dramatic finale. Opposite this was Jordyn Pierson’s defiant and brattish Masha. Pierson was all angst as the young woman who loved one man, but ended up with another and a baby.

With this adaptation and the cast, Martin let the story unfold like a slow wave without ever being lackadaisical. Instead, The Seagull‘s vibrance was that it bubbled with a dangerous air balanced by Reiss’ injected humor and strong cast that included Anthony Magee, Stephen Miller, John Cameron Potts, Sara Weeks and Steven Young.

The Seagull runs through Sept. 24.

–Rich Lopez