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UNNATURAL ACTS: HARVARD'S SECRET COURT OF 1920 OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night: June 14, 2011

Show NY TIMES TM BACKSTAGE AP HUFFPOST
Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review

Synopsis: Unnatural Acts is inspired by events that occurred at Harvard University in the spring of 1920, when a student's suicide sparked a campus-wide investigation by a secret court of administrators aimed at purging the university of a group of homosexual students. Classic Stage Company is proud to share the untold stories of these promising young men. Both intimate and epic, Unnatural Acts explores themes of fear and societal intolerance that are as relevant today as they were 91 years ago. Unnatural Acts features a talented ensemble including Jess Burkle, Joe Curnutte, Frank De Julio, Roe Hartrampf, Roderick Hill, Max Jenkins, Brad Koed, Jerry Marsini, Devin Norik, Will Rogers, and Nick Westrate.

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Broadway Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:

"If you were a serious, grade-grubbing Harvard student 91 years ago, you probably wouldn’t want to be living next to Perkins 28, the dorm room that is the setting for much of “Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920.” First of all, the guys who hang out there are really noisy — I mean, screamers, who play the Victrola at full volume. "

Click here to read the full "Unnatural Acts: Harvard's Secret Court Of 1920" review.

THEATERMANIA REVIEW:

"Theatergoers get a glimpse into a frightening and shameful chapter in Harvard University's history in Unnatural Acts, now playing at Classic Stage Company. And while the script, co-authored by some members of the ensemble, along with director Tony Speciale, has its uneven moments, the stylish production has a tremendous emotional impact. "

Click here to read the full "Unnatural Acts: Harvard's Secret Court Of 1920" review.

BACKSTAGE REVIEW:

"Harvard University's ugly and hysterical purge of gay male students, conducted in 1920 by means of a secret court and then suppressed for more than 80 years, is a fascinating if horrifying story. Following Stan Richardson's imaginatively theatrical "Veritas," seen in last year's New York International Fringe Festival, comes Classic Stage Company's production of "Unnatural Acts," conceived and directed by Tony Speciale and written communally by members of the Plastic Theatre. Flecked with nonnaturalistic moments of physical theater that culminate in a stunningly effective climax, "Unnatural Acts" tells its tale with discipline and focus, packing the same mighty punch as Richardson's play."

Click here to read the full "Unnatural Acts: Harvard's Secret Court Of 1920" review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW:

"When the chips are down, can you really count on your friends not to betray you for their own survival? In the spring of 1920, five top administrators at Harvard University held a secret kangaroo court to interview, charge and expel a group of students suspected of homosexuality, before they "infected" the entire school."

Click here to read the full "Unnatural Acts: Harvard's Secret Court Of 1920" review.

HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW:

"In 1920, when a one-time student of Harvard committed suicide, it sparked a secret investigation and witch hunt to weed out all "inverts" and "homosexualists" from campus, ultimately damaging or destroying dozens of lives. A series of articles in the Harvard Crimson about the files of "Secret Court, 1920," sparked national attention in 2002 and ultimately this play by Plastic Theatre. Inspired by the articles, original documents such as the transcripts of the trial, letters written at the time, diaries and other information, Unnatural Acts is well-acted, well-directed and often thrilling for the first act, only faltering in the second when it stops presenting to us what happened and starts telling us how wrong it was. If you make a play about slavery or the subjugation of women in this day and age, you don't really need a speech telling us how wrong it is. And if you do make that speech, you best deliver it in a very original manner. "

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