Monthly Archives: December 2008



After the success of the Applause acting series monologue night at the Drama Book Shop last March, we’ve decided to do it all again—this time, downtown in the village with plenty of NEW playwrights and actors. (If you’re part of the Applause acting series books–either of them–have or have not received an invite but would like to be included, GRAB A THESPIAN AND BRING YOUR MONOLOGUE FROM THE BOOKS! E-mail us as soon as you’re decided, so we can set the program: 

All are invited to attend the event with a $7.00 cover that includes a drink (the evening’s playwrights and actors get in free).  Join the festivities, watch incredible acting, hear some amazing work, celebrate the new book, ONE ON ONE: THE BEST MEN’S MONOLOGUES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, and find out why these volumes do so well (ONE ON ONE:  THE BEST WOMEN’S MONOLOGUES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY is now in a second printing).






in Association with




Proudly Present Works from the Applause Theatre & Cinema Books series: ONE ON ONE: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and ONE ON ONE:  The Best Women’s Monologues for the 21st Century Including Those By:

















Special direction by: SUSANNA GELLERT







TIME: Thursday, January 8, 2009

6:00-8:00 PM

29 Cornelia Street (btwn. W.4th/Bleecker Sts., west of 6th Ave.)
NYC 10014

HOSTS: Robin Goldfin, M.F.A. and Bob Shuman, M.F.A.

BRING: Someone who can do your monologue (and please let Bob Shuman know the name of that thespian for the program soon).

BASED ON:  ONE ON ONE:  THE BEST MEN’S MONOLOGUES FOR THE 21st CENTURY from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books  (ISBN: 978-1-55783-701-1) and ONE ON ONE:  THE BEST WOMEN’S MONOLOGUES FOR THE 21st CENTURY from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books (ISBN-10: 155783-700-7; ISBN-13: 978-1-77583-700-4), which both spotlight the best of Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, and Experimental writings.




In May 1977 three artists–Robin Hirsch, a writer and director; Charles McKenna, an actor; and Raphaela Pivetta, a visual artist–stumbled across a tiny storefront on Cornelia Street in the heart of Greenwich Village and thought it the perfect place to open a café. For two months they scraped and sanded, plumbed and plastered, and did the intricate dance one does with the authorities who live beyond the Village, and on the weekend of July 4, 1977, mirabile dictu, they opened the Cornelia Street Café.

It was from the beginning an artists' café. Within a month there were poetry readings and music performances; and then a tiny play written for the café; and fiction writers; and Eskimo poetry; and puppeteers; and a living portrait of James Joyce; and the Four Quartets and the entire Iliad; and mime shows on the street outside the café; and comedians; and fairy tales and storytellers and Punch and Judy shows.

Over the years it has presented an enormous variety of artists, from singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega to poet-senator Eugene McCarthy, from members of Monty Python to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. It has offered a performance home to the Songwriters Exchange, the Writers Room, the Writers Studio, the Greek-American Writers Association, the Italian-American Writers Association, the New Works Project/Theatre, and many others. Since those early days it has also grown. Upstairs there is a beautiful oak bar, salvaged from the Bowery and restored. There are three dining rooms, one with a working fireplace. And in the summer there is one of the Village's loveliest sidewalk cafes.

There is also a performance space downstairs where the tradition of theater, performance, music and poetry is alive and well. As Mayor Edward Koch said in a proclamation celebrating the café's 10th anniversary in 1987, it has become "a culinary as well as a cultural landmark."



ONE ON ONE:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century:

James Comtois*Stephen A. Schrum*Heather McDonald*Gary Winter*David Pumo*Tom Donaghy*Nilo Cruz*A. R. Gurney*Charles Mee*Mac Wellman*David Rabe*Ato Essandoh*Josh McIlvain*Kelly McAllister*Staci Swedeen* John Guare *Brian Dykstra*Kerri Kochanski* Brendon Bates*Brad Schreiber*Adrían Rodríguez*Terrence McNally* John Patrick Shanley*Carrie Louise Nutt*Bob Shuman*Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen*Lisa Loomer*Lynn Nottage*Neil LaBute*Jean-Claude van Itallie*Charles Mee*Robin Reese*Adam Kraar*Carol Lashof*August Wilson*Steven Cosson and The Civilians*Andy Bragen*Rebecca Basham*Albert Innaurato*Meron Langsner*John Fleck*Larry Loebell*Edmund De Santis*Moises Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project*Philip Zwerling*Maria Irene Fornes*Peter Papadopoulos* Susan Yankowitz*Tom O’Brien*Mark Scharf*David Grimm*Frank Gagliano*Chad Beckim*Robin Goldfin*David Rimmer*Thaddeus Rutkowski*Austin Pendleton*Clifford Mason*Jon Robin Baitz*Craig Wright*Jeffrey Hatcher* Stephen Temperley*Martin McDonagh*Michael Kochmer*Karen Malpede*Tim Miller*David Lindsay-Abaire*Lisa Soland*Marc Spitz*Joan Lipkin*Randy Wyatt*Thomas McCormack* Darrell Dennis*Boo Killebrew*Peter S. Petralia*Richard Greenberg*Alexander Lyras and Robert McCaskill*Dan O’Brien*David Auburn*Brian Sloan*David Simpatico* Spalding Gray


David Auburn *  Naomi Iizuka *  Theresa Rebeck * Tom Donaghy * Christine Emmert *  Peter Petralia * Brian Dykstra * Kerri Kochanski * Lenning Davis *  Sheila Callaghan *  Laura Henry *  Stephen Schrum * Gaylord Brewer *  Staci Swedeen * Margie Stokley *  Murray Schisgal *  Maria Irene Fornes * Lynn Nottage * Neil LaBute * Claudia Barnett * Andrea Moon * Randy Wyatt *  William Gibson * Ken Urban *  John Meyer *  Julia Jarcho *  Anna Deavere Smith *  Kim Yaged * Rolin Jones * Stephen Adly Guirgis *  Lydia Lunch *  Paul Knox * Jason Grote * Jordan Harrison * Edmund DeSantis * Crystal Field * Stephen Fife * Dori Appel * Rebecca Basham *  Susan Yankowitz *  Len Jenkin * Katie Bull * Christopher Durang * Winter Miller * David Rimmer * Nilo Cruz * Craig Wright * Rinne Groff * Donna de Matteo * Thomas McCormack * Karen Malpede * Anne Elliott * Lisa Soland * Kathleen Warnock *  Kirsten Greenidge * Leigh Kennicott * Neil Utterbach * David Simpatico *  June Rifkin * Laura Hines * Young Jean Lee * Stephen Temperley * Jessie McCormack * Jacquelyn Reingold * Jo J. Adamson * Adam Rapp * Hillary Rollins * Holly Hughes * Heather McDonald * Joseph Goodrich *  Quiara Alegria Hudes * Michael Lew * August Wilson



Adapted by Katie Hims with commentary by Patrick McGuinnes, BBC radio’s Drama on 3 (Beyond Words) presents 3 rarely produced short plays from Maeterlinck’s earliest and most radical period (1889-1895)—a rare excursion into work that at one time had people "running from the theatre in terror and confusion."


3 by Maurice Maeterlinck and adapted by Katie Hims.


Dr Patrick McGuinness introduces three short plays by a key figure in late 19th-century symbolist theatre.


The Intruder
A family keep vigil together when one of their number is ill, but only the blind grandfather seems to see what is really happening.


The Seven Princesses
The king and queen of an unnamed land wait on the terrace of a castle high above the sea for the return of their grandson.


Two men, sent ahead to warn a family that their daughter has drowned, are stopped in their tracks by the sight of her household at peace through a window.


With John Rowe, Lizzy Watts, Paul Rider, Trystan Gravelle, Sheila Reid and Manjeet Mann.


Directed by Jessica Dromgoole and Marc Beeby.


Michael Billington

Harold Pinter, who has died at the age of 78, was the most influential, provocative and poetic dramatist of his generation. He enjoyed parallel careers as actor, screenwriter and director and was also, especially in recent years, a vigorous political polemicist campaigning against abuses of human rights. But it is for his plays that he will be best remembered and for his ability to create dramatic poetry out of everyday speech. Among the dramatists of the last century, Beckett is his only serious rival in terms of theatrical influence; and it is a measure of Pinter's power that early on in his career he spawned the adjective "Pinteresque" suggesting a cryptically mysterious situation imbued with hidden menace.'A poet's ear for language and a flawless sense of dramatic rhythm'


Michael Billington reflects on the life and work of Harold Pinter and his immense contribution to the world of drama

The death of Harold Pinter comes as a great shock. We all knew, of course, that he had endured a succession of illnesses ever since 2000. But there was a physical toughness and tenacity of will about Harold that made us all believe he would survive for a few more years yet. Sadly, it was not to be.

My own memories of Harold, and it's hard to think of him in more formal terms, are entirely happy. We'd had a relatively distant professional relationship for many years. I'd reviewed his plays, sometimes favourably, sometimes not. (I made a spectacular ass of myself over the original production of Betrayal.) Then in 1992 I was approached by Faber and Faber to write a book about him. What was intended as a short book about his plays and politics turned, thanks to his openness, into a full-scale biography. I talked to Harold himself at great length, to his friends and colleagues. And what I discovered was that his plays, so often dubbed enigmatic and mysterious, were nearly all spun out of memories of his own experience. If they connected with audiences the world over, it was because he understood the insecurity of human life and the sense that it was often based on psychological and territorial battles.

Pinter's contribution to drama was immense. He had a poet's ear for language, an almost flawless sense of dramatic rhythm and the ability to distil the conflicts of daily life. I believe his plays, from The Room in 1957 to Celebration in 2000, will endure wind and weather. Indeed many of them already, such as The Birthday Party, The Homeconming and No Man's Land, have the status of modern classics. Pinter was also, of course, a highly political animal, as evidenced by his later plays, his crusading articles and speeches and his famous Nobel Lecture which brilliantly skewered the lies surrounding US foreign policy.

But, just a few hours after learning of his death, what I chiefly remember is the generosity of the man himself. Harold had a great talent for friendship, as the next few days will surely testify. He also had a remarkable sense of loyalty. Eight weeks ago I directed a group of LAMDA students in a triple-bill of Party Time, Celebration and the Nobel Lecture. At the time, Harold was extremely ill. But he had promised to come and see the productions and, on the fina


A fair cricketer, a good actor and a playwright of rare power and originality

The celebrated film and theatre director Sir Richard Eyre remembers the Nobel laureate who transformed the British stage

Harold Pinter entered our cultural bloodstream years ago. People who have never seen a play of his describe unsettling domestic events or silences laden with threat as "Pinteresque". He has become adjectival, part of who and what we are.

What I am is a child of the late 1950s who grew up in west Dorset knowing as much about theatre as I did about insect life in Samoa. There were no theatres within reasonable distance – at least ones that presented plays – so by the age of 18 I had seen only two professional productions: Hamlet at the Bristol Old Vic and Much Ado About Nothing at Stratford. Then I saw The Caretaker and I felt something like Berlioz encountering Shakespeare -"coming on me unawares, [he] struck me like a thunderbolt", to which he added "and at this time of my life I neither spoke nor understood a word of English".


Theatrical world applauds life and art of our greatest modern playwright

• Dramatist likened to Shakespeare and Chekhov
• Plays were 'timeless', says Michael Gambon

Leading figures from the worlds of theatre and the arts offered their own tributes to Harold Pinter yesterday, describing him as "the last great playwright", an inspirational hero and a dear friend who had inspired successive generations of dramatists and producers.

"Yesterday when you talked about Britain's greatest living playwright, everyone knew who you meant," the playwright David Hare told the Guardian. "Today they don't. That's all I can say."


The Nobel Prize speech: 'The truth is elusive, but the search is compulsive'

Pinter wrote this speech about his life, his work and his politics on winning the Nobel Prize three years ago.

In 1958 I wrote the following: "There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false."

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost . . .–the-truth-is-elusive-but-the-search-is-compulsive-1211415.html



Leading article: A dramatic departure

Friday, 26 December 2008

Harold Pinter, for so long lauded as Britain's greatest living playwright, has died, his place in the pantheon of British playwrights assured. And it is hard not to imagine this master of the telling moment thoroughly relishing the many ironies attending his departure.

The death of this most anti-Establishment member of the Establishment was announced just as the whole country, so it seemed, was settling down to the most conventional of our festive meals. What is more, Pinter's broadcast obituaries preceded the day's great set-piece, the Queen's Christmas message, by a mere couple of hours. As someone in the business of staging and upstaging, he could hardly have done better for theatricality.

As for what was going on around those tables – the family conversations that descend imperceptibly into full-blown rows, and the tortuous phone-calls that follow – these are the conversations immortalised in so many Pinter plays. Loudly cheerful, or merely pretending to be so; halting, often awkward, pregnant with meaning – intended and unintended – they are the efforts of British society trying to communicate with itself; of Britons of a certain age and class, speaking, but all too often failing, to make themselves understood.



Harold Pinter: Nobel Prize-winning playwright and poet who dominated British theatre for four decades

How to describe such a life as Harold Pinter's, or to ask about his achievement without hearing that ringing baritone demanding (as he once did when asked how he was that day), "What kind of a question is that?"

Pinter was an actor and director, a poet and prose writer, the author of 20 screenplays, a cricketer and an impassioned political witness to his times; above all, for over 40 years he dominated the theatre.

When The Birthday Party opened in London in 1958, it ran for a weekfollowing catastrophic notices. On the Thursday afternoon the youngplaywright crept towards the dress circle to observe the matinée. He was alone: when an usher came to see him off since the circle was closed, his admission that he was the authorsoftened her attitude: "Oh, you poor chap . . . in you go." If instead he had sat downstairs in the stalls, he might have noticed Harold Hobson of The Sunday Times cooking up a review that would decisively launch his career the morning after the production closed. It was the beginning of half a century in which, in his own words, he gave his audience not what they wanted, but what he insisted on giving them . . .



Exit stage left: Harold Pinter dies

Harold Pinter, playwright, actor and political activist, dies aged 78

By Arifa Akbar, Arts correspondent
Friday, 26 December 2008Directors and actors joined Pinter's friends and wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, yesterday to pay tribute to the Nobel Laureate whose style and literary significance has been compared to James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Albert Camus. He died on Christmas Eve.

Not only a remarkable playwright with one of the most illustrious careers in contemporary theatre, Pinter's career also encompassed acting, poetry and political activism as a vociferous critic of American and British foreign policy . . .



Jonathan Heawood: For Pinter, the outsider came first

In his art he sought to describe injustice. In his life, justice was what he tried to create

Saturday, 27 December 2008

As even the most respectful tributes have been forced to acknowledge, Harold Pinter was not an easy man. The rage that animated his work for 50 years could also manifest itself in his personal life. He did not suffer fools gladly, and was likely to answer an innocent "Good morning" with the demand to know what was so bloody good about it.

Yet this anger was underscored by a fervent belief in justice. From his early psychological dramas to the late political plays, the imaginary world he created is unspeakably unjust. His characters say and do horrendous things to each other and get away with it. "I've never been able to write a happy play," he said; and a happy ending tagged on to any of his works would be as ridiculous as Nahum Tate's rewrite of King Lear, in which Lear survives and Cordelia marries Edgar . . .

There is no possibility of such redemption in any of Pinter's plays. Yet it is this impotence which makes his work so distinct, and is why the Pinteresque condition so closely resembles the Kafkaesque . . .



Harold Pinter by Michael Gambon and Tony Benn

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Further to the obituary of Harold Pinter (26 December), he wasn't just a good director – he was the best, writes Michael Gambon. Harold was very plain speaking, not really going in for lavish phrases.

And it was always clear that he was at heart a very fun guy. People say that he was sour but that was never my experience; rather one got a sense of his playfulness. Often he'd have a drink and a fag, back in the day when he used to smoke, that is. Not whisky, as some people said – beer, usually, or maybe a glass of white wine. He'd sit quite still on his chair, watching rehearsals proceed.

The thing to understand about Harold is that he just loved actors. He was an actor himself, of course. So he'd give you a lot of room to play around in your role, rather than being domineering or prescriptive as some directors might. He liked flexibility, and gave it to others.

To me he was much more of a literary than a political figure. I didn't really get to see the other side of him, which other people might focus on. He became quieter in his later years, as he was very ill at times. And he could be a bit grim sometimes – not rude, really, just a little short with people, irritable. As a director, Harold was always a very direct speaker; he wouldn't really go in for small talk or chit-chat.

He leaves the most enormous gaping hole behind him. It's like someone you know leaving you behind as they head elsewhere. I think of Harold as the iron rod of English theatre: without him we're much weaker . . .



Actors in Pinter play lead tributes to legend

'No Man's Land' cast honour writer who railed against oppression

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Actors in the current production of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land yesterday led tributes to the legendary playwright, actor and activist.

Michael Gambon, David Walliams, Nick Dunning and David Bradley led a minute's silence at the Duke of York theatre in St Martin's Lane, London, where the first performance of a work by Pinter since his death was watched by 650 people. The Nobel Prize winner died on Wednesday aged 78 after a long battle with cancer.

"I'm very honoured to have known him personally and professionally over the past 10 years. It's a huge loss," Bradley said yesterday morning. "People from Germany, Israel and China would come backstage saying Harold Pinter was so important to them. He wrote about oppression and people taking terrible advantage and oppressing each other on a personal level. Although he did not write the plays in an overtly political way they stood the test of time because they have universal themes. They meant so much to people in different ways."



Harold Pinter: True star of the screen

Rare among playwrights, Harold Pinter proved as adept at writing for the cinema as for the theatre, says Geoffrey MacNab

Saturday, 27 December 2008

They may be in demand to adapt novels (as Tom Stoppard and Christopher Hampton have done with considerable success) or to oversee screen versions of their best-known stage works. However, whatever their fame or achievements in their own field, they tend to be regarded as hired hands when they venture into film-making. Even when they do deserve credit, they often fail to get it. Few, for example, remember that Clifford Odets, the writer of Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing! and a key figure in 1930s New York theatre, also wrote the screenplay for the 1957 masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success . . .



For further information on Harold Pinter and his work visit:



Harold Pinter died December 24.  The following are his obituaries from The London Times and The New York Times:  

Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter dies

(The Times)

Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005

Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent

Harold Pinter, universally acclaimed as one of the greatest British playwrights of his generation, has died.

The Nobel Prize winner lost his battle with cancer yesterday, his agent confirmed. He was 78.

Pinter, who also enjoyed success as a screenwriter for film and television, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, being hailed by the awarding committee as "the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century".

However he was too frail to travel to the ceremony, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2002 . . .



Harold Pinter, Nobel-Winning Playwright, Is Dead at 78 


Published: December 25, 2008

Harold Pinter, the British playwright whose gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence made him the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation, died on Wednesday. He was 78 and lived in London.

The cause was cancer, his wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, said Thursday.

Mr. Pinter learned he had cancer of the esophagus in 2002. In 2005, when he received the Nobel Prize in Literature, he was unable to attend the awards ceremony at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm but delivered an acceptance speech from a wheelchair in a recorded video.

In more than 30 plays — written between 1957 and 2000 and including masterworks like “The Birthday Party,” “The Caretaker,” “The Homecoming” and “Betrayal” — Mr. Pinter captured the anxiety and ambiguity of life in the second half of the 20th century with terse, hypnotic dialogue filled with gaping pauses and the prospect of imminent violence . . .

Book: Erland Josephson on Ingmar Bergman ·

Winner of the August, the most prestigious Swedish literary award, The Ingmar Bergman Archives by Paul Duncan and Bengt Wanselius (Taschen, 2008) includes the following introduction by Erland Josephson. Writer, playwright, actor, and director, Josephson worked with Ingmar Bergman for seventy years. He took over the management of the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm in 1966, heading the theater for nine years. He also has collaborated with a number of internationally renowned film directors including Andrei Tarkovsky, Theo Angelopoulos, and Liliana Cavani, among others.  On stage, he participated in Peter Brook's The Cherry Orchard, first at BAM in Brooklyn before joining the world tour of the play.



“The boy's name was Ingmar. The promising young man's name was Ingmar Bergman. Later it became just Bergman. Bergman's name is Bergman. No one is Bergman as much as Bergman. Bergman wants to hide. Bergman wants to be noticed. Bergman gives interviews, and says he stopped giving interviews a long time ago. Now and then he resides in his own fame; there are, after all, a certain amount of perks in this. Bergman does not care about his potential immortality; the cemeteries are full of indispensable people. Eternity bites the tail of eternity. Time passes. Bergman is never bored. His playful genius makes the world go around . . . “ (read more)



More about The Ingmar Bergman Archives:

On September 20, 2008 Taschen Verlag together with Swedish publishing house Max Ström released The Ingmar Bergman Archives, probably the most extensive book project on Bergman artistry so far, and one of the most profound on one single filmmaker ever. Earlier, Stanley Kubrick has been honoured an edition of the same measure, 41,1 x 30 cm, but Bergman's book includes almost 600 pages and gives a unique glimpse into The Ingmar Bergman Foundation Archives.


Find out more about the book on AMAZON:


Visit: Ingmar Bergman Face to Face, the online Ingmar Bergman archive:


Visit Taschen America, publisher of The Ingmar Bergman Archives:


Arambe Productions on its disagreement with the Abbey Theatre:

The Playboy of the
Western World

in a new version by
Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle Commissioned by
Arambe Productions

“Arambe’s new version of The Playboy of the Western World is an Arts Council funded modern reinterpretation of J M Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World.

To coincide with the centenary of the first production of this Irish classic in the Abbey in 1907, Arambe commissioned its founder and artistic director, Bisi Adigun and Irish award winning author Roddy Doyle (1993 Booker Prize Winner), to work collaboratively for ten months in 2006 to adapt The Playboy. In October 2007, The Abbey produced the premiere of the new version to critical and commercial success.

It is with deep regret that Arambe Productions who commissioned the new version of the new Playboy, and Bisi Adigun who came up with the idea and co-wrote the play, disassociate themselves with the proposed December production of the new version of the Playboy.

This is because the Abbey Theatre
have refused to honour the contractual agreement they entered into with Arambe.”

Go to the Arambe Web site:

Story from The Sunday Times:

December 21, 2008

Abbey in legal drama over Playboy run

African company challenges Abbey’s production of Synge remake

(Irish Film Institute/PA Wire.)

Roddy Doyle.

Mark Tighe

IT IS more than a hundred years since a riot greeted its first performance, and now a row over the rights to the Abbey Theatre's remake of Playboy of the Western World is set to be played out in the High Court.

Arambe Productions, an African company, is suing the national theatre and novelist Roddy Doyle, co-writer of the new version of the play, claiming breach of contract. The theatre company lodged the case last week. On its website Arambe distances itself from the latest run of Playboy, which began last Tuesday . . .  

 (Read more:)


Description from the Abbey Theatre Web site:

The Playboy of the Western World

In a new version by Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle

It’s back!

By popular demand, Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle’s hilarious version of Synge’s great classic, The Playboy of the Western World, returns for your delight this Christmas.

This hugely successful production of the Abbey’s most
(in)famous play was loved by audiences and critics alike during its first run in 2007.

In this bang up-to-date version, the action has been moved from the West of Ireland to a pub in west Dublin. The Playboy, Christy Mahon, is now Christopher Malomo, a well-educated refugee from Nigeria, on the run after he ‘killed’ his father with a pestle for pounding yams.

With this rousing new version, Synge’s extraordinary play re-discovers its ability to tell the truth of a contemporary Irish experience and continues its legacy, as vibrant as ever.

'laugh out loud funny' Irish Times

'a winner all the way' Sunday Independent

Commissioned by Arambe Productions with the assistance of the Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíonn.

Please note this play contains strong language

Ruth Bradley, Kate Brennan, Liam Carney, Phelim Drew, Hilda Fay, Liz Fitzgibbon, Charlene Gleeson, Joe Hanley, Chuk Iwuji, Rory Nolan, George Seremba

Director:  Jimmy Fay

Set design:  Anthony Lamble

Lighting design:  Sinéad Wallace

Costume design:  Catherine Fay

Sound design:  Vincent Doherty and Ivan Birthistle


THE KITCHEN: YOUNG JEAN LEE’S ‘THE SHIPMENT’–January 8-10 (Thursday–Saturday), and 14-17, 21-24 (Wednesday–Saturday), 8pm, January 10 (Saturday), 3pm ·

The Kitchen presents the NYC Premiere of

Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company



Written and directed by Young Jean Lee


January 8-10 (Thursday–Saturday), and 14-17, 21-24
(Wednesday–Saturday), 8pm, January 10 (Saturday), 3pm


Tickets: $15



(The Kitchen: 512 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011. 212-255-5793) 





 Known for her provocatively satiric performance works, writer/director Young Jean Lee presents the New York premiere of THE SHIPMENT. For this piece, Lee gave herself the most uncomfortable challenge she could imagine: to make—as a Korean-American—a Black American identity politics work. In collaboration with an all-black cast, Lee takes the audience on an awkward and volatile roller-coaster ride through the absurdities and atrocities that arise when trying to discuss the black experience in America. Ludicrous, honest, and devoid of truisms, THE SHIPMENT dares to ask embarrassing questions and
to seek solutions to impossible problems.



THE SHIPMENT was co-commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University and The Kitchen, and was developed with support from the Rockefeller MAP Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Tobin Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. The work received additional residency support from Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Collapsable Hole, IRT Theater, MacDowell Colony, New Dramatists, Orchard Project, and Yaddo. THE SHIPMENT is produced by Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company.

is also made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program.




Young Jean Lee, Artistic Director | Caleb Hammons, Producing Director


Leah Winkler, Associate Director | Lee Sunday Evans, Associate Director


(Work by Young Jean Lee is included in the Applause books One on One:  The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and the upcoming Duo!:  The Best Monologues for Two for the 21st Century.)


Each week the expert staff of the renowned Drama Book Shop in Manhattan, just seconds away from Broadway, recommends one play that's new, interesting, or just flat-out fantastic. Picking the best of published work, they help keep us up to date and aware of the little known, broadening our horizons and encouraging dialogue. Order a play from The Drama Book Shop, read it, and e-mail them with your thoughts–they'd love to hear from you:

Jack & Jill
by Jane Martin

To love or not to love? That is the question one must ask after reading Jane Martin's romantic comedy (more in the vein of Annie Hall then Sleepless in Seattle.) The play focuses on the ups and downs of one oddly perfect couple.

Martin does not openly raise the question of whether or not Jack and Jill are right for each other. (In fact, you could argue either side of that debate.) The playwright simply presents two shattered and fragile individuals in an attempt to reveal how ridiculous love is when clung to as a means of self-appraisal.

Love makes total sense when you're in it. But as we all know, any friend or family member who is an outsider to any given relationship is automatically qualified to be Dr. Phil. With Jane Martin as a non-judgmental tour guide, Jack and Jill makes for an enjoyable and humorous exercise recognizable to anyone who’s gone through the ups and downs of a serious relationship.

Cast: 1M, 1F

Monologues/Scenes: Great monologues that could be played for comedic value or with a serious, dramatic tone. (After all, if a relationship is a joke we don't know that in the moment.) Scenes are great and fast-paced.

Recommended by: Matt A.

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Chekhov’s tormented defense of realism, The Seagull, comes to an American theatre that doesn’t much like the style. Despite our own realistic masterpieces by O’Neill and Williams, today, new plays in the vein are easily dismissed as TV writing.  Even Chekhov himself would have some explaining to do at an after-show talk back:  his plays are dark, long, lack a central character, and don’t have much plot.  The snoring gentleman behind me, on the night I attended the Royal Court's new version by Peter Hampton of Chekhov's classic, certainly wasn’t interested: the tragic fate of all realists without sharp elbows. 

Whether real, expressionist, or Pinteresque, the conventional wisdom of any literary age is difficult to run against.  Such is the aesthetic dilemma Konstantin (MacKenzie Crook), a young playwright and short story writer, finds himself in:  “What we need is a new kind of theatre.  We need new forms. ”  Quickly decamping to stalk a “charming and clever” realist named Trigorin (Peter Sarsgaard),  Konstantin’s only artistic ally—and leading lady—Nina (Carey Mulligan) knows a negative review when she hears it.  The critic in question,  Arkadina (Kristin Scott Thomas), only sees the performance of  Konstantin’s visionary monologue as an indictment of herself—which in equal parts it is and isn’t (she's Konstantin's actress mother).  What someone probably should have said to Konstantin is that visionary art never works very well at any time in any art form, except in album cover art from the 1970s.

MacKenzie Crook plays Konstantin very directly (Peter Sarsgaard does the same for Trigorin).  They seem to expose lurking existential truths rising up about art and relationships. Richard Thomas and Judd Hirsch played the same two characters for Circle Rep in 1983–two actors we knew from TV.   They gave us an introduction to Chekhov Americans could relate to–one that wasn't all unpronounceable names in advanced drama courses.  Sarsgaard's Trigorin, however, is riveting in its exoticism–and he has the toughest role to allow contemporary identification.  His Trigorin is pampered, urbane; art has put him on a pedestal, yet today a tightening publishing market and an army of Mommybloggers might suggest he needs a bigger platform–and his betrayal of two women (who forgive him) could have trouble flying as well. 

Crook's Konstantin remains deeply haunting–with head in the nineteenth century and one foot in the twenty-first.  The archetype still applies: for all his need for art, it has never given him any degree of elegance or sophistication; for all his desperation to become a writer, his yellowing face belies the "petit bourgeois from Kiev" he distains. 

Of course, Chekhov always thought he was writing comedy.  In 1983, Robin Bartlett found a good laugh when asked why she always wore black:  "I'm in mourning for my life." Zoe Kazan's interpretation finds unique phrasing to reinvigorate the same line.  Giggle at her lying motionless at the beginning of Act III, drunk, finalizing her decision to throw her life away.  She's a proto-goth, exposing the same concerns of today's movement:  the languish, the romanticism, and masochism.  In the Circle Rep production, Barbara Cason, as Konstantin's mother, made you believe she was broke: "I don't have any money!" Kristin Scott Thomas knows she doesn't have to give her son a dime. She's a nuanced Betty White (to continue on with the TV motif), a big fish in a small provincial pond, which holds her childhood memories.

TV writing isn't realism:  the pessimism of Ibsen and Chekhov doesn't flood beneath it.  Beginning playwrights are cautioned not to model either, especially Chekhov, which is odd because actors are still trained using Stanislavsky technique (which informed and was informed by Chekhov’s work).  Maybe we should allow American writers to embrace real realism again even if some of Chekhov’s plays have turned out to be masterpieces. It is an unholy ground where young artists try to kill themselves before succeeding, young women throw their lives away and never recover them, mothers aren't very interested in their children, and fathers are missing altogether. Konstantin is a young failure revolting against the entrenched art of his successful elders.  Knowing the pain this caused him—the search for style, the rejection of his own–I can't believe Chekhov found his way to realism easily; I wonder if we can find our own way back.     

–Bob Shuman (c) 2008. All rights reserved.