Boston Globe

Boston Globe - November 27, 2003


'Anger' breaks out of the box with powerful words, ideas

By Sandy MacDonald, Globe Correspondent, 11/27/2003

It may be getting progressively harder to shock audiences these days, but ''Anger Box,'' a 10-monologue sequence by Jeff Goode, contains some rough stuff. What else could you call a dominatrix in black lingerie who brags about her relationship with Satan? Or a nymphette on a mission to get impregnated by the pope?

If you're too incensed to read on, consider yourself forewarned and forgo this show: It's not for the faint of heart, let alone the religiously rigid. For questioners and downright cynics, however, it's a lively and at times eye-opening romp.

What's impressive is the array of talent on display: All 10 performers command attention, even if the material they're dealt is uneven. Although the script as a whole is fragmented by virtue of its format, the actors -- doubtless aided by director Danielle Fauteux Jacques -- manage to lend each segment a crisp dramatic arc.

It would be difficult not to play favorites among these misfits and outright lunatics. Flavia Steiner Viggiani is wonderfully tightly wound as a pot-stirring housewife with some curious notions about the mysteries of God's will (and what constitutes a proper dinner). Chiara Durazzini segues brilliantly from a beatific Fra Lippi-style Madonna to the crass modern incarnation. Elizabeth Stuart is smartly down-to-earth as Charon, here imagined as a ''wait-being'' whose job is to help newcomers assimilate in the afterlife (''We like to start people off with a stiff drink and some comfort food''), and Vladimir Aseneta disproportionately touching as a laissez-faire pizza-delivery guy. Danielle L. DiDio is suitably louche in her role as the satanic consort, and Becca A. Lewis, all coltish connivance, absolutely dazzles as the would-be ''Mrs. Pontiff.'' TheaterZone is newly ensconced in the Chelsea Theatre Works, a performing-arts center fashioned from a 1906 post office (which in turn supplanted a lavish Academy of Music that once hosted Sarah Bernhardt). Ornamental 25-foot ceilings notwithstanding, it's the simplest of black-box stages, at least for this show, and a striking reminder of the power of the word when it's delivered with sufficient presence.

Anger Box

Play in two acts by Jeff Goode.

Directed by: Danielle Fauteux Jacques.

Set, Adriana ''Gigi'' Mederos. Presented by TheatreZone.

At: Chelsea Theatre Works, through Dec. 13; 617-887-2336