Solo show, currently on tour; review by Chris Rohmann, Valley Advocate, Jan 23, 2017:
For book reviews and interviews, go to http://maskedman.org/news/
“…you will like this play, maybe love it, and it will touch you emotionally in a way that will surprise you. Give as much credit to the music and lyrics as to the script and direction for the success of this play.
As an aside, you may also discover that excellent theatre and storytelling can be created with little more than solid acting, dynamic and risky directing and a beautiful musical score at its core… things came together here that can only be described as theatre magic.
With blocking that daringly offers a better perspective of the story and its characters by director John Hadden, much is achieved on this incredibly bare stage. There is no ranch, just a taped outline to represent the indoor areas of the ranch and the outside porch and yard where much of the action takes place. Yet Hadden uses sound effects such as that of a creaky screen door to perfection to let you know when the characters step out into the porch. Done incorrectly this could fail miserably and remind us that we are basically in a black box stage. But the actors move through the space seamlessly and in perfect sync and bring every moment and motion to life. Kudos go to Hadden and his lighting and sound team, and also to the collaborative success of pulling off these risky tricks in such a choregraphed manner. It all works so perfectly together!”
John Hadden, has delivered a perfectly delectable version for the Hubbard Hall crowd. He has reset the time of the piece to the 1920s and, with the aid of costume designer Sherry Recinella has given a wildly sly edge to the sexy play about a man whose devotion to a new friend has swept away all other loyalties. The result of their work, the work of a perfectly competent troupe of actors and a crew of artistic designers and artisans, makes the trip to Cambridge very worthwhile…
Doug Ryan in the title role is a man who can say one thing, mean another and look entirely as though he is somewhere else saying something else. The fun in watching him react to the others is matched by the confusion and delusion that surrounds all of them every time Ryan opens his mouth. I have enjoyed this actor before, but this is the role through which his work from now on will be judged. His imaginative use of personal space, his decisive leer and incisive sneer subvert the poetry of the play and make it a contemporary work instead…
All of the creative forces on this play have worked well together with director John Hadden who has obviously had a wonderful time working on this show. He has a handle on this period stuff and it pays off in a big way.
So, join the bright and intelligent folks in Cambridge, N.Y., for an evening of pure delight and get up to speed with them. Obviously, they know what they want and they get it at Hubbard Hall.
“Taylor-Williams said she and John Hadden, adaptor of and an actor in “The Long Run,” have been looking at this story for two years. The Wharton Salon’s performances of Wharton’s stories follow on a long tradition of Shakespeare & Company adaptations of Wharton, from the days when the Lenox theatre company actors lived and performed at The Mount.”
“[John Hadden’s] adaptation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” for two actors. The two actors speak lines from various persons in the play, occasionally out of sequence, in the characters of the unhappy King and his daughter Cordelia. Although it is possible for informed audiences to discern the story of King Lear as written by Shakespeare, that is not the primary point of this adaptation. Removed from the context of the mythic story of the foolish king who divided up his kingdom, it becomes a perfectly modern story of a daughter trying to care for a dying father whom she is losing to old age and dementia.…
This company presents some of the most exciting theatre you are likely to see. Ever. Anywhere. Ava Roy and John Hadden are both excellent as daughter and father. They deliver the Shakespearean text with grace, conviction and clarity. They do not shy away from harsh details, as when the old man soils himself or cannot recognize his own child. But gentle love and lyrical poetry are also in evidence, and the overall experience is a joyful celebration of a touching relationship.”
“As the fog, wind, and waves pound the walls of the brick fortress beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, there’s a struggle of power to ascend the throne playing out as key players are being assassinated in a game of metaphorical royal chess.Their screams of anguish, doubt, and pain echo through the halls and everyone present after dusk becomes captive prisoners and witnesses who are heavily and intricately involved with the unfolding drama… the results are simply breathtaking and fantastic because for three hours, you forget that you are directly under the the biggest tourist attraction of San Francisco because you revel and immersed in the world of medieval Scotland…a fluid and cathartic transcendence through complete sensory and intellectual immersion…”
“Some theatre experiences are remembered for a lifetime: “Macbeth At Fort Point” is likely to be one of those…In We Players’ thrilling enactment, the stars of the show are Fort Point, the San Francisco fog, and the mighty roar of the Pacific. They give unforgettable performances, supported by a fine professional cast of actors with good Shakespearean chops and superbly realized visuals and music that blend perfectly with the site…
This production will be exciting for any audience, but those already familiar with Macbeth will be especially pleased. When the large iron doors were opened and we crowded into the cold, foggy interior of the fort with its gothic masonry arches and damp floors, I thought, “Oh my God, I’m walking into Dunsinane” and my shivers of horror were real.
It seems that every nook and cranny of the old fort is utilized by director and star, John Hadden. Sometimes, the audience surrounds the actors in the large open courtyard with the battlements towering above. At other moments, scenes are played almost simultaneously on balconies on opposite sides of the courtyard or at either end literally hundreds of feet apart. The sense of reality and sheer size could not be matched in any theatre and it is dazzling.
“…shining things in John Hadden’s and Ava Roy’s production of King Lear at Hubbard Hall.”
“If last year’s Macbeth was a tangled forest of ensemble acting, this year’s “heavy” offering of Shakespeare’s King Lear by the very same company at Hubbard Hall is spare and singular. I loved both, and I’m gratified to see that this is no one-trick-pony company. The interpretation begets the performance, as different as night and day, even with many of the same actors involved in both. This is a Lear that tickles more than most… bare-staged, the words, words, words, do it all…somehow spotlights the play’s unshakable human goodness too… But some brutalities are unforgettable…”
“CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. – The Theater Company at Hubbard Hall is nothing if not ambitious. King Lear is a daunting play that can challenge the best of intentions, so it was with some trepidation that I attended Saturday night’s performance in Cambridge, N.Y.
I needn’t have worried. This is a theater company that always seems to rise to the occasion…
John Hadden’s performance arc as the title character is a wonder. He resists the urge to make Lear larger than life, instead inhabiting Lear with a more realistic and nuanced demeanor, more suited to the ensemble cast and the intimacy of theater in the round. As Lear’s fortunes change, Hadden’s transition from early bemusement to rage and madness is authentic and chilling. The moment that Lear recognizes the truth of Cordelia is an emotionally charged frisson that grabs the audience by the lapels…”
“John Hadden has approached the role as both actor and director and he has brought on a co-director, Ava Roy (a very smart approach to take) and she has undertaken one of the most difficult female roles in Shakespeare’s canon, Lear’s daughter Cordelia. I think these two are among the finest risk-takers in show business today… I have seen six production of King Lear in my lifetime and this time is the best time for this worst time of a man’s life.
John Hadden…doesn’t rant as some actors have done in the past; he takes us on the addled, rattled road of Lear’s final battles with a grace that is not often found in kings. He shows us that gentle intentions linger after their consummation. He plays Lear with a lighter purpose, really, and he allows us to feel not just the injustice and tragedy in the man’s life, but also the horror and the despair and the intense joy of a man who understands his own mistakes and the importance of true friendship. Hadden creates a whole man and not a symbol in this performance and the two and a half hours of this play (cut to a playable length) are dense and intense and strong and remarkable through his portrayal of a man who trusted and has lost his gamble in his gambol.”
An electric guitar sends tangible vibrations through the audience. Primitive drums throb with murderous intent. The performers don outfits reminiscent of the Armageddon.
This is no rock concert. This is Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” as envisioned by Director John Hadden and the Theater Company of Hubbard Hall.
At the production’s open rehearsal on March 7, the air trembled with expectation. “Macbeth,” though interspersed with murder and necromancy, is no mere political/supernatural thriller. The play delves deeply into the human psyche, bringing out subconscious layers in its characters – some disturbing, others delightful…
Gino Costabile plays Macbeth with a perfectly embattled conscience that gleams through in his monologues… Lady Macbeth (played with a terrifying veiled menace by Betsy Holt) unravels as the play develops… Few characters are as morbidly spellbinding as the three weird sisters…
Regular attendees of Hubbard Hall productions may be surprised to walk to their seats across an expansive stage. Once again, Hubbard Hall has proven its creativity in stage design… Actor Reilly Hadden becomes an unredressed Banquo from beyond the grave — frozen in the bloody light, like a hell-hound in the headlights.
“Macbeth” is approximately 400 years old. Yet, with the electrifying music, post-apocalyptic costuming, immersive set and stage experience, it has an air of the modern. See “Macbeth” and immerse yourself in the horror, as the Theater Company of Hubbard Hall explores the inmost depths of the human conscience.
“Companies I’ve seen do Shakespeare faithfully, are… Hubbard Hall (which makes Cambridge, New York the most graceful and cultivated village in America)…” Michael Platt, Crisis Magazine, March 1st, 2012
“The phrase “beauty of absurdity” may best describe the current evening of one-act plays by the Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall – but you should understand that some of life’s absurdities tug at the heart as much as tickle the funny bone.
Presented are short plays by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and – of course – Anton Chekhov; there are also new works by John Hadden, new artistic director of Hubbard Hall’s theater company, and respected contemporary writer Mary-Ann Greanier.
The second one-act, “The Qunicy and Antoinette Kraczlik Variety Show,” written and acted by Hadden (with a brief appearance by Decker) is described as being the ambassador to Uzbekhistan, and his wife, taking their hand at cabaret. It is a one-man monologue – with a slightly Monty Python-esque feel – about being civil, and entertaining, at the ends of the world if not at the end of the world (as we know it). It may all be absurd, but as Hadden’s Quincy assures his audience, and us, “it is a whole new world out there” and at the theater at the end of the world you only get 10 minutes. And you certainly don’t mind spending 10 slightly strange minutes with Quincy.
…a heart attack of laughs… Not the most comfortable moments of the evening, but clearly the finest.”
“Director John Hadden makes outstanding use of the sparsely appointed stage and fine lighting techniques to set the appropriate mood for the action. Set in the early part of the century, the play addresses issues of economic and social class, as well as the political temper of the times… They’ve achieved syncopation.”
“Mr. Brantley went on to say that ”the director, John Hadden, has also provided the verbal and aural equivalents of funny costumes and pratfalls: silly accents, divertingly varied rhythms of speech and vocally highlighted phrases that force us to listen.” The result, Mr. Brantley wrote, was that ”you can understand every word” because language ”is the unyielding cornerstone for theatrical interpretation here.””
Shades of Wharton, Chekhov, Michael Eck, Albany Times Union, June 1st, 2000
Spotlight shined brightly on summer productions, Iris Fanger, Boston Herald, August 24th, 1997
By BEN BRANTLEY, August 5, 1994
LENOX, Mass.— “THE COMEDY OF ERRORS” has always been the cheap date of the Shakespearean canon: a play directors could take where they wanted and use as they would…
Now this giddy trollop of a play is getting a little respect. The astonishment of the outdoor production of “Comedy” from Shakespeare and Company, the repertory troupe based at the Mount, the former Berkshires estate of Edith Wharton, is that the spoken lines get more laughs than the sight gags.
Though the gaudy burlesque trappings are out in force, the director John Hadden has also provided the verbal and aural equivalents of funny costumes and pratfalls: silly accents, divertingly varied rhythms of speech and vocally highlighted phrases that force us to listen. As a consequence, the play shimmers with a deeper humor and startling glimpses of melancholy that anticipate such later, richly textured works as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Twelfth Night.” And you can understand every word…”
Arthur Friedman, Boston Herald, 1986:
“A fine and fanciful Twelfth Night [Counterpoint Theater] whose directorial brainstorms shed new light on a familiar play.”
Comedic Twists Free Taming of the Shrew [Shakespeare & Co], Kevin Kelly, Boston Globe, 1992:
“Hadden gives the play the whacked-out freedom of vaudeville…[and] keeps the comedy rollicking until the end, when silence—a long pervasive stillness—shows it for what it is: cruel torment equaling terrible denigration. The last few moments of Shrew are a masterstroke.”
Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice, 1992:
“There’s a great deal of buffoonery and wordplay where you don’t expect it and less where you do. [Taming of the Shrew, S&Co] No space now to praise the actors; they deserve it. So does director John Hadden, who fools the audience into thinking we’ve a real drunk in our midst and almost succeeds in giving the play a feminist edge… Golden days… “
Bennington Banner, 1989:
“Chekhov’s Wild Humor is Alive at College… Hilarious… Hadden’s direction makes a ballet of chaos…boils with activity…a graceful exercise indeed. [He] has his actors playing at a fever pitch, as if every word is a matter of life and death…. The energy is tremendous, and the actors’ ability to bring wild and bald sarcasm to the stage, in the manner in which I believe Chekhov intended, is a pleasure to see…a wonderful night out at the theater.”
Boston Phoenix, 1988:
“Kiss of Life—Spider Woman Deserves a Hug… With such polish…this Kiss [of the Spider Woman, Boston Theater Workshop] leaves much more than lipstick on the stage…. The story’s emotional and ideological claustrophobia come across much more subtly and more powerfully than on screen; we are virtually thrown into the cell with the two inmates…. Hadden stages the drama as a balletic boxing match…tender, almost lyrical.”
Berkie Awards 2016: Best Supporting Performance (Male) Large Theatre – John Hadden – The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare & Co) & Andre Ware – American Son (Barrington Stage)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor – Large Theatre:
Christopher Abbott in The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival)
Joshua Castille in Tribes (Barrington Stage Company)
Jonathan Epstein in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
John Hadden in The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare & Company)
“Mr. Epstein is the finest Shylock to come my way since the matchless Mike Nussbaum played the part at Chicago Shakespeare in 2005. (No, I’m not forgetting Al Pacino.) He is seconded to noteworthy effect by a very fine cast of colleagues, most memorably by John Hadden, who gives us a grave and dignified Antonio…”
“John Hadden returns to this Company in the role of Antonio, the title character who appears only occasionally and whose romantic sensibilities set off the plot. He is a romance novel dream of a hero without a traditional heroine to torture, a Rochester whose Jane Eyre is a young man who never really gets what this friendship is all about. Hadden is right on top of everything and his playing sets a tone for the show which cannot be ignored just because Shakespeare doesn’t allot him as much stage time as he does the younger people.”
“Antonio, who is given a calm and generous dignity by an excellent performance by John Hadden…”
“I especially enjoyed the beauty-and-brains of Hickey’s Portia, the vulnerability of Hadden’s Antonio…”
“The servant who gets the best scenes and biggest laughs, however, is Launce — often considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest creations — played by John Hadden, back in the company after a 19-year hiatus working elsewhere. This is his second role for the season and his interpretation of the role sets a new classic standard for the man. Accompanied most of the time by his faithful cur, Crab, who lies down on any coat laid out for him by Launce, Hadden’s role is one devoted to the spoken word in definitive contrast with the written word. Double entendre, faux interpretation, and minor puns abound in Launce and Hadden doesn’t let a single one get by him. He and Asprey play several scenes together and they are all show-stopping winners.”
Supporting-actor awards went to Nehassaiu DeGannes in the literary comedy Or, and to John Hadden in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
In My Library: Tina Packer
Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA and Me by John Hadden
“I never understood why John, a cofounder of this company, was so bloody contrary an actor, until I read this book. His parents were spies! This is his memoir about growing up in Israel as his father set up the CIA there for the US government. Conversations between father and son create a powerful landscape of art, politics and psychology.”
“Hadden, a career Shakespearian to the bone, brought the best of the Bard’s characters to his rendition of Austin. Like Ruth, Hadden’s Austin teased us throughout the play’s duration while finding smooth, subtle ways to pull out the rug. Did I say Hadden was smooth? He roundly convinced as a born and bred Boston blue blood, yet a man who clearly found, perhaps even knew all along, that something in his life might have been off-center.”
“Hadden and Wright are well cast as Austin and Ruth, offering a playful trepidation as their characters rediscover each other. Hadden offers up a character who is the consummate Bostonian gentleman…”
“many of the players excel, including John Hadden as snarky Feste…”
“Though many have seen the film based on the play, sitting mere feet from formidable actors transports us to the palace drawing rooms and destitute flats of 18th Century Vienna in a way that film cannot. And what a journey it is… In one of theater’s most challenging roles, John Hadden (artistic director of the Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall) turns actor. As Salieri, he embodies the essence of longing, deceit and jealousy. His emotive power and stamina are true to Salieri’s ambition.”
“Music and Poetry—Conversations,”, April 5th, 2012, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
‘Elephant Man’ behind mask revealed, Theresa Cavagnaro, Bennington Banner, November 13th, 2007
Portland Stage actors gripped by spirit in `Christmas Carol’, Bob Keyes, Portland Press Herald, December 8th, 2005
“Though surprisingly young and handsome for a Feste, John Hadden’s jester incorporates the play of folly and wisdom that is a signature theme of ”Twelfth Night.” Capable of jolting cruelty, he is a figure of interchangeable sweetness and melancholy…”
The Bard As You Like Him’ Twelfth Night, Kevin Kelly, Boston Globe, July 16th, 1981