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The Grand Designs of Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato
"...theatrical designers are soon to leave town. Scenic designer Ia Ensterä and lighting designer Jason Amato have each contributed..."

July 17, 2015 Photo Gallery

The Grand Designs of Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato (Photo Gallery)

July 17, 2015 Arts Column

In Praise of Designers
A show of gratitude as two of our finest, Ia Ensterä and Jason Amato, depart Austin
"...our travel agents to the faraway lands we visit via plays and operas and dances. They get us there..."

July 17, 2015 Arts Column by Robert Faires

The 2014-15 Austin Critics Table Awards
Top honors to Salvage Vanguard's Thr3e Zisters, LOLA Austin's Femme Bohème, and Texas State's Kiss Me, Kate
"...Half & Half Productions' Chicago; Hyde Park Theatre's The Christians; Theatre en Bloc's Cock; Physical Plant Theater's Everything Is..."

June 5, 2015 Arts Feature by Robert Faires

Uncle Vanya
The design impresses, but the actors struggle against a noisy air conditioner
"...He doesn't want for anything materially or emotionally. He has a loving, extended family around..."

July 1, 2011 Arts Review by Barry Pineo

The Wiz
The whole ROYGBIV takes center stage in Austin Community College's brightly colored and dazzlingly designed Oz musical
"...The brilliant color palette of Oz comes courtesy of design trio..."

Feb. 27, 2015 Arts Review by Adam Roberts

Ground Floor Theatre's Fun Home
Lisa Scheps’ production is invested with a level of care that makes this musical memoir movingly familiar
" water down the painful truths of its source material, making it perfect fodder for a company as ambitious..."

Dec. 14, 2018 Arts Review by Trey Gutierrez

Dead Man's Cell Phone
En Route Productions makes Sarah Ruhl's lighthearted meditation on love and death both hilarious and touching
" Ruhl's script. They also scale back their performances appropriately for the small gallery where the show is staged..."

Jan. 13, 2017 Arts Review by Elizabeth Cobbe

We Play Chekhov: Two Short Stories on Stage
Breaking String's two-course meal of Chekhov tales proves both meaty and effervescent
"...short stories, and it's from that side of Chekhov's brilliant career that Russkie fetishist Breaking String Theatre draws this..."

Aug. 22, 2014 Arts Review by Stacy Alexander Smith

Penfold Theatre's Crime and Punishment
In this stage adaptation of Dostoevsky's novel, a fascinating glimpse into the more twisted corners of the human mind
"...storytelling on the part of producers. The great 19th-century Russian novels – you know, the ones that also serve..."

April 5, 2019 Arts Review by Elizabeth Cobbe

En Route Productions' *some humans were harmed in the making of this show
CB Goodman's play is memorable for its exuberant satire, but an abrupt hairpin turn toward the serious makes the show even more memorable
"...own unfortunate life – thrift store owner, alcoholic, hellish marriage, etc. – and her discovery of the path to..."

Oct. 5, 2018 Arts Review by Robert Faires

Mary Moody Northen Theatre's Violet
In this moving production, a young woman learns the nature of true beauty and true love
"...Broadway showstopper by composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist/book writer Brian Crawley based on Doris Betts' short story "The Ugliest..."

April 20, 2018 Arts Review by T. Lynn Mikeska

Salvage Vanguard Theater's Thr3e Zisters
This zombified take on Chekhov gets reanimated right when we need women who will bite back at the patriarchy
"...groundbreaking Anton and sneeringly dismissing attempts by Americans, and especially method actors, to do justice to the playwright's work..."

Feb. 17, 2017 Arts Review by Robert Faires

Teatro Vivo’s EL
Raul Garza's new play explores the power of the storyteller
"...The play centers on Emilia (Gricelda Silva), a young aspiring writer who struggles with..."

Sept. 23, 2016 Arts Review by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce

The Realistic Joneses at Hyde Park Theatre
With Will Eno's comic drama, HPT brings a funny kind of fear to the 'burbs
"...for HPT Artistic Director Ken Webster's show what designer Ia Ensterä did for his months ago: the rear view..."

March 18, 2016 Arts Review by Robert Faires

Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2015
Wild theatrical energy and masterful performances were the hallmarks of outstanding theatre in 2015
"...a wild theatrical energy by the rolling wall of Ia Ensterä's set and Yury Urnov's direction, and the performances,..."

Jan. 1, 2016 Arts Feature by Robert Faires

The Tree Play
For this story of a rain forest over a lifetime, Robi Polgar created a living, breathing poem
"...and invested performances to create a tangible theatrical ecosystem. Ia Ensterä's sparse but brilliant representation of foliage and canopy..."

Aug. 14, 2015 Arts Review by Shanon Weaver

King of Hearts
Tongue and Groove's stage adaptation of the anti-war cult film looks lovely but breezes by too quickly
"...That has nothing to do with the show's look. Ia Ensterä's Gallic village appears to have been pulled from..."

June 5, 2015 Arts Review by Robert Faires

Everything Is Exemplary
The 2014-15 Austin Critics Table Awards
"...that fills this community. This year, the in formal association of arts writers from the Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman..."

June 3, 2015 Arts Post by Robert Faires

Thr3e Zisters
InThr3e Zisters, Salvage Vanguard disinters Chekhov's famous siblings in a beautiful, fascinating, cutting way
"...story about the resurrection of the three sisters from Russian writer Anton Chekhov's play of the same name. Urnov..."

Feb. 6, 2015 Arts Review by Elizabeth Cobbe

Fool for Love
The relationship of the doomed duo in Fool for Love gets explosive in Capital T's production
"...Eddie is your quintessential Shepard character: a macho, belt-buckle-bedecked cowboy who's driven across..."

Nov. 14, 2014 Arts Review by Elissa Russell

The Tempest
Faraway-feeling Rain Lily Farm proves a perfect setting for the enchanted isle in Shakespeare's late romance
"...Renowned set designer Ia Ensterä has built the magic from the ground up..."

Oct. 24, 2014 Arts Review by Elissa Russell

Am I White?
One man's twisted sense of racial identity unravels in Adrienne Dawes' brisk and tense new drama
"...which Connor has long confined himself: a concept of racial identity built on privilege and prejudice, fed by fear..."

Oct. 17, 2014 Arts Review by Robert Faires

Capital T's Detroit is a destination worth a visit, but you wouldn't want to live there
"...the vehicle in which you're traveling is a rattletrap liable to throw a wheel at the next turn...."

Sept. 5, 2014 Arts Review by Robert Faires

The Drawer Boy
To see this show is to admire fine craftspeople who set out to tell a simple story in a simple way
"...Drawer Boy (which cite " and other sources"), this Canadian drama "was the fourth most-produced play in the United..."

April 18, 2014 Arts Review by Adam Roberts

The Language Archive
Different Stages' production explores the difficulty of articulating not just love but also marriage
" confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little,..."

Jan. 17, 2014 Arts Review by Stacy Alexander Evans

This Wonderful Life
Martin Burke's solo performance of 'It's a Wonderful Life' is a tour de force, but also an act of faith
"...persuade the depositors in his family's building and loan association not to panic and withdraw their funds, he tells..."

Dec. 20, 2013 Arts Review by Robert Faires

'Om Shanti – Once Upon a Time in Bollywood'
The cinematic musicals of India dance their way onto the stage in Austin
"...Indian live performance in Austin has, up to now, come..."

Aug. 23, 2013 Arts Feature by Robert Faires

Hyde Park Theatre transports us to Costa Rica's jungle for an awkward but affecting meeting of uncle and niece
"...visual designers match Fisher's aural naturalism. Scenic design queen Ia Ensterä breaks out another fabulous set with help from..."

March 29, 2013 Arts Review by Jillian Owens

Top 10 Designer Contributions of 2012
Celebrating the year's most exquisite – and often surprising – stage designs
"...2) IA ENSTERÄ'S SET FOR 'THE TWELFTH LABOR' (Tutto Theatre Company)..."

Jan. 4, 2013 Arts Feature by Elizabeth Cobbe

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