Sunday, February 26, 2006

NY Times: Spring Theater Issue: 02/26/2006

In their “Nine to Watch” (people, that is) piece in the Arts & Leisure section today, Steven McElroy tells us to watch José Rivera. I don’t know where Mr. McElroy has been, but lots of people have been watching José Rivera for years. He’s won two OBIE awards, one for Marisol in 1993 and one for References To Salvador Dali Make Me Hot in 2001. Last year José Rivera’s screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for an Academy Award. Earlier this season, LAByrinth Theater Company presented a workshop production of a new play by Rivera called Massacre (Sing To Your Children) which was excellent, by the way. Later this season, the LAB will co-produce (with The Public Theater) another new play by Rivera called School of the Americas in which Jon Ortiz will star as Che Guevara. I think José Rivera is one of our best contemporary playwrights and I’m glad for any attention the press gives to him. But, come on Steven McElroy…who else should we be watching…I hear this Tony Kushner guy may have a good play up his sleeve…

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Someone In The Ghost Box Told Me It Was You: 02/23/2006

OK, I love wacky titles. A good title will always grab my attention. It’s only February, but I think we have at least a finalist, if not an outright winner for best title of the year: Someone In The Ghost Box Told Me It Was You. I’ve seen two previous shows by the company Temporary Distortion and I admit that I am a total sucker for their instillation-like performances. They are sort of Beckett meets the Wooster Group. The texts are purposefully vague – this one is sort of a film within a film having something to do with a murdered girl and it’s partially in French. There are microphones, techno sounds, surveillance video and clips of a foreign language film. If it sounds a little pretentious, maybe it is. But I enjoy the ride. If I have one complaint it that the intentionally monotonous pace and line delivery does get a bit draining after about fifty minutes, but since the performance s is only a little over an hour – hang in there!

For info:

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Entertaining Mr. Sloane: 02/19/2006

It’s hard to tell who’s having a more devilishly good time – Alec Baldwin or his character, Ed, in Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Scott Ellis and his uniformly outstanding cast in this Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival delight in every double entendre in this 1964 black comedy. Chris Carmack makes a very sexy Mr. Sloane, playing with the emotions of both his landlady, Kath (Jan Maxwell) and her brother, Ed (Baldwin). Only their elderly father (Richard Easton) sees through Mr. Sloane – but we know what becomes of him. I found this productions far better than the 1996 revival at CSC. And as this production is in early previews, I’m sure it will only get better.

For info:

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Film Is Evil, Radio is Good: 02/18/2006

I caught the second of two Richard Foreman plays, Film Is Evil, Radio is Good, that are being presented by Gemini Collision Works at The Brick Theater in Williamsburg. I had actually seen Ian Hill’s earlier production of Film Is Evil, Radio is Good at Nada in 1998, with some of the same cast and Hill’s marvelous film segment from the earlier production. A new and welcome addition to this production is the wonderful Alyssa Simon as a very glamorous radio star. I’m glad that Hill has brought back his production and it is especially timely as Foreman himself is presenting his own new work ZOMBOID! – subtitled “Film/Performance Project #1”. And while I remember the original production as slightly more focused and energetic, Film Is Evil, Radio is Good is still worth a visit.

For info:

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Upcoming Show: The Wooster Group’s Emperor Jones

The Wooster Group will re-present their production of Eugene O'Neill's, The Emperor Jones at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. The show is directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, and is performed by Wooster Group members Kate Valk, Ari Fliakos, and Scott Shepherd. In the past, Willem Dafoe has been a part of this production – but he is not in this run of the show. The Emperor Jones runs March 1 - April 2, 2006.

For Info: The Wooster Group

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Heddatron: 02/15/2006

Les Freres Corbusier’s Heddatron is hilarious. Like a demented version of Stoppard’s Arcadia, Heddatron bounces back and fourth between Ibsen’s struggles with his life and his writing of Hedda Gabler and a modern day family dealing with the kidnapping of a wife and mother…by robots. While his pushy wife, slutty maid and his rival thespian, Strindberg, confront Ibsen he manages to produce Hedda Gabler and break the mold of his own well-made plays. Or that is, at least according to Nugget – the daughter of Jane and Rick, who is presenting an assignment on Ibsen to her class (an us), while trying to maintain her composure as her father and uncle search for her mother who is being forced to perform Hedda Gabler, by robots. As if this isn’t funny enough, we actually get to see a cliff notes version of Ibsen’s play, performed by Jane and a cast of automatons. Heddatron only runs through February 25th at here – get your tickets quickly!

For info:

Upcoming Show: Fragment @ CSC

Fragment is coming to Classic Stage Company from March 22—April 9, 2006. It is drawn from the lost plays of Sophocles & Euripides. The text is assembled by Kelly Copper and the production is directed by Pavol Liska. Last season Liska direct both Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Kasimir and Karoline by Odon von Horvath at CSC. I'm not sure what happened to Charles Mee's attachment to this project as originally announced in the fall, but Pavol Liska is a brilliant director who was born and raised in Slovakia and anything he directs is not to be missed!

For info:

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Funnyhouse of a Negro: 02/12/2006

Today were the final two performances of The Classical Theatre of Harlem's production of Funnyhouse of a Negro. Adrienne Kennedy's 1964 play received an OBIE award for distinguished play and is being directed by Billie Allen, the actress who originated the leading role in the original production. Unfortunately, her interpretation lacks imagination making the difficult play, which is essentially a monologue, seem mired in exposition. In the role of Sarah, Suzette Azariah Gunn doesn't vary much from borderline hysteria for much of the evening. Thankfully the set, lighting and especially the sound design is first rate making the production interesting but never matching the creativity of the text.

For info:

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Symphony of Rats: 02/11/2006

Richard Foreman's Symphony of Rats is is being presented by Gemini Collision Works at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg. It's always interesting to see another director's take on a Richard Foreman text. No stranger to directing Foreman, Ian W. Hill does a great job in making the text accessable, thoughtful and fun to watch; he creates some wonderful stage pictures that I won't soon forget. Symphony of Rats is playing in rep with another Foreman text, Film is Evil, Radio is Good through February.

For info: