CASSIOPEIA: 71% – BITTERSWEET

Doug Tompos, PaSean Wilson and Angela Bullock in “Cassiopeia” at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Credit: Ed Krieger.

SWEET
If you’re in a mood to give yourself over to rich imagery richly (sometimes too richly) conveyed, you’ll encounter something rare and beautiful.
Bob Verini – Variety

SWEET
Part dream drama, part choreo-poem, the 75-minute three-character work, directed by Emilie Beck, charms both the brain and the senses.
Evan Henerson – Backstage

SWEET
Still, the imagination and grace of its presentation make this show a shame to miss. This is the sort of risk-taking script selection and staging that needs encouragement if theater is to stand alone as its own 21st Century form. You can see nothing like this anywhere but on a stage, and for that reason alone Cassiopeia would deserve an audience; its performances and imagery mandate attendance.
Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema

SWEET
It’s a passionate work that seems likely to satisfy theatergoers with an appetite for unconventional and challenging fare.
Les Spindle – EdgeLosAngeles

BITTERSWEET
Perhaps it has to do with this directorial misstep, or perhaps it is the text of the piece itself, but I ultimately found it somewhat unsatisfying. Perhaps it’s just that the play isn’t really a play at all. By the time it was over, I felt that I had more of an emotional connection with the words that were spoken than with the characters who had spoken them. The language is definitely worth the trip, but I wish there was something more to it.
Sharon Perlmutter – Talkin’ Broadway

BITTERSWEET
The Lord created heaven and earth, but he also made rising and falling action. There’s plenty of cosmos and not much catharsis in “Cassiopeia,” David Wiener’s exhaustingly rhapsodic meditation on celestial and human bodies, now at the Theatre at Boston Court.
Charlotte Stoudt – LA Times

BITTERSWEET
I found it to be a test and, finally, a test of patience. A beautiful production design and a swirl of scintillating ideas can go only so far without actual scenes. Perhaps the writing isn’t quite musical or poetical enough. A little soap opera, in the midst of this oratorio, could have gone a long way in a play that’s aiming to be about everything beneath and beyond the sun and the moon.
Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

BITTER
Playwright Wiener originally wrote this piece more than a decade ago for famed avant-garde actor/director Joseph Chaikin, who passed away before the show could be produced. The question then is if the play works on its own merits and not just as a specific project for a particular performer. Unfortunately, even with the many strengths of this current production, the answer to that question is no.
Terry Morgan – LAist

SWEET
In short, “Cassiopeia” is not an easy play, but it is compelling. One cannot help but feel that one should see it at least twice, if only to absorb the two strands of the duet enough to be able to be enveloped by their counterpoint. And yet, what is life itself if not a constant, sometimes somewhat unintelligible forward movement toward something just beyond reach?
Frances Baum Nicholon – The Stage Struck Review

SWEET
David Wiener’s new play is an intelligent, lyrical, and thought-provoking piece that will completely transport you into its world for the duration of its 76-minute running time, and will have you musing on its subtleties long after you’ve left the theatre.
Marianne Fritz – LifeInLA

BITTER
Unfortunately, the production sets us up for a different expectation so when we reach the end of the 75 minutes it feels a bit hollow.
Anthony Byrnes – KCRW

SWEET
This show may not conform to everyone’s notion of theater, and others may find it obscure or difficult. A work of art that takes as its essential premise the duality of dichotomies such as reason versus emotion inevitably will lead to conclusions that mirror that assumption of opposed perceptions, and while that may lend a certain predictable quality to the piece’s ultimate development, this production makes each moment onstage both clear and alive.
Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

SWEET
This is not a play with a lot of action. We are, after all, listening to the life stories of two people who live largely in their heads. Director Emilie Beck keeps her cast moving smoothly and cleanly toward a crescendo of emotions. Angela Bullock as Odetta and Doug Tompos as Quiet embody their characters, eliciting strong empathy for these damaged souls.
Julie Riggott – Culture Spot LA

SWEET
Yes, the production is (seemingly, relatively) simple; the script, phrenic and on the dense side. But that’s what makes “Cassiopeia” so great, so necessary, so important. It’s the Yang to the Yin of “Hairspray” and MTV’s “Buckwild.”
G.S. Morales – LA Theatre Critic

CASSIOPEIA
The Theatre @ Boston Court
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
Jan. 26–Feb. 24, 2013
Tickets: $29-$34; (626) 683-6883
Running time: 75 minutes

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