Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't keep NXR's Shh quiet. Great new theater in Boston.

I checked out Shh!, New Exhibition Room's latest production, free at Playwright's Platform. Go see it, and not just because it's free, which is amazing. Normally you'd be shelling out somewhere around 25 bucks for theater of this caliber.

Shh! examines censorship. It's all, as they say in this Web 2.0 world, original content. NXR auditioned an ensemble and together they collaborated to write and make this show. Original content, to my way of thinking, is the way to go in this world. I mean, do we really need another production of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? How about breaking some new ground, people?

Shh! is not the end-all word on censorship. I don't think they meant it to be that. Shh! is a series of skits that are very fast-paced, high-energy, and very entertaining with the idea of censorship sometimes obviously and sometimes-not-so obviously holding them together. Sometimes the role of censorship in our society is right out there, as when Shh! lays out the history of censorship in America. And sometimes it's a bit more subtle, as with a series surrounding a nudist, that seem to address the idea of self-censorship. Almost always, though, Shh! goes for the humor, which makes for a very entertaining night. Shock isn't the intent here at all.

Since it is theater and it was written by the cast and producers, Shh!, as you'd expect, has quite the liberal viewpoint toward censorship. Except for one skit where a conservative suburbanite gives a quiet, impassioned, serious argument towards censorship, never does Shh! explore whether censorship has its place in our lives, which might have been an interesting take, given the obvious talent that appears in the show. One wonders what the ensemble, given its obvious intelligence and creativity, would have come up with when challenged with that question.

Bottom line? Go see it, and not just because it's free. At the very least, Shh! is highly entertaining. Prepared to be entertained (there's that word again), and maybe shocked or challenged depending on your own sensibilities.

NXR represents some of the new, younger voices in theater that seem to be growing in the Boston area. Just like years ago when young comics like Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Denis Leary, and Lenny Clark were honing their skills at area clubs and later defined the Boston comic, groups like NXR seem to be doing the same with their performances. If anything, for free, you just might see a bit of Boston theater history in the making.

Shh! is free, but you still need a ticket to get in. Get them here.

1 comment:

lady said...


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