Monthly Archives: September 2010

LILLIAN HELLMAN + IVO VAN HOVE: ‘THE LITTLE FOXES’ IN NYC (REVIEW) ·

(Michael Feingold’s review ran in the Village Voice, 9/22.)

The Belgian director Ivo van Hove loves great playwriting. This may tempt those who disliked his previous New York productions to mutter, "Each man kills the thing he loves," but van Hove's passion for the scripts he chooses to animate is clearly both genuine and intense, however misguided you consider his results.

via www.villagevoice.com

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‘A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’—NEW U.K. PRODUCTION ·

(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/20.)

We may try to kid ourselves otherwise, but for every one of us, all roads eventually lead to the cemetery. So it's worth taking a detour via Bolton, a place which may not qualify as the Elysian Fields, but where something rather remarkable is happening. Now in his second season as artistic director, David Thacker continues to take audiences on a rewarding journey through Shakespeare and 20th-century classics, matching great writing with astute productions. It's a reminder that audiences willingly rise to the challenge of meaty programming when they feel confidence in their local theatre, and that directors do their best work when they have a real passion for a play.

via www.guardian.co.uk

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‘NEW YORKER’ THEATRE LISTINGS, 9/27 PLAYDECK ·

 

Openings and Previews

 

Event: Alphabetical Order

Venue: Clurman Theatre

Keen Company kicks off its tenth-anniversary season with a comedy by Michael . . .

 

Event: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Venue: Jacobs Theatre

The Public transfers to Broadway this musical satire co-produced by Les Freres . . .

 

Event: Brief Encounter

Venue: Studio 54

Roundabout Theatre Company brings Kneehigh Theatre’s production of Noël Coward’s play, adapted . . .

 

Event: la bête

Venue: Music Box Theatre

Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce, and Joanna Lumley star in David Hirson’s . . .

 

Event: Capsule 33

Venue: Barrow Street Theatre

Barrow Street Theatre presents a comedy created by Thaddeus Phillips (who also . . .

Get Tickets

 

Event: The Divine Sister

Venue: SoHo Playhouse

Charles Busch wrote and stars in this sendup of nuns in film . . .

 

Event: Gatz

Venue: Public Theater

Elevator Repair Service presents its six-hour marathon production of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s . . .

 

Event: In Transit

Venue: 59E59 Theatres

Primary Stages presents the world première of a new musical, inspired by . . .

 

Event: Jet Lag

Venue: Alexander Kasser Theatre

Marianne Weems directs a Builders Association production of a play by Jessica . . .

 

Event: The Language Archive

Venue: Laura Pels Theatre

Mark Brokaw directs Julia Cho’s new play, a comedy about a linguistics . . .

 

Event: A Life in the Theatre

Venue: Schoenfeld Theatre

David Mamet’s play from 1977 focusses on two actors, one older and . . .

 

Event: Lombardi

Venue: Circle in the Square

Thomas Kail directs a new play by Eric Simonson, about the life . . .

 

Event: Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Venue: American Airlines Theatre

Cherry Jones and Sally Hawkins star in the George Bernard Shaw drama . . .

 

Event: Office Hours

Venue: Flea Theater

Jim Simpson directs the world première of a new drama by A . . .

 

Event: Orange, Hat & Grace

Venue: SoHo Rep

SoHo Rep’s artistic director, Sarah Benson, directs this play by Gregory S . . .

 

Event: Orlando

Venue: Classic Stage Company

Classic Stage Company opens its forty-fourth season with this play by Sarah . . .

 

Event: Ritter, Dene, Voss

Venue: La Mama

One Little Goat Theatre Company, from Toronto, presents the New York première . . .

 

Event: The Sneeze

Venue: City Center Stage II

Michael Frayn adapted plays and stories by Chekhov in a series of . . .

 

Event: Through the Night

Venue: Union Square Theatre

Daniel Beaty wrote and stars in this solo show, about the lives . . .

 

Event: Tigers Be Still

Venue: Roundabout Underground

Roundabout Underground premières a play by Kimberly Rosenstock, about a woman with . . .

 

Event: Time Stands Still

Venue: Cort Theatre

Daniel Sullivan directs Donald Margulies’s play, about war journalists. Laura Linney, Christina . . .

via www.newyorker.com

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JOHANN WOLFGANG GOETHE: ‘FAUST’ ON BBC RADIO—LISTEN NOW UNTIL 9/26 (LINK BELOW) ·

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe, translated by John R. Williams, with Samuel West as Faust, Toby Jones as Mephistopheles, Anna Maxwell Martin as Gretchen and Derek Jacobi as The Lord. Adapted and directed by David Timson, with music composed by Roger Marsh.

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00trzmf

Or paste the following into your browser and press Listen Now on the BBC site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnwj

Goethe's Faust, one of the pillars of Western literature, is presented in a dramatisation by David Timson. In Part 1, following an agreement between Mephistopheles and The Lord, the scholar Faust is tempted into a contract with the Devil. His life is changed and he plunges into the enjoyment of sensuality until his emotions are stirred by a meeting with Gretchen, leading to a tragic outcome. Part 2, written much later in Goethe's life, presents a series of episodic scenes in which the poet places his eponymous hero in a variety of surprising circumstances reflecting the predicament of humanity. Funny, reflective and moving, this dramatisation shows why Goethe's Faust had such a massive influence on Western culture.

Faust ….. Samuel West
Mephistopheles ….. Toby Jones
Gretchen ….. Anna Maxwell Martin
The Lord ….. Derek Jacobi
Wagner (Faust's assistant) ….. Stephen Critchlow
Martha ….. Joannah Tincey
Valentin (Gretchen's brother) ….. Peter Kenny
Helen ….. Emily Raymond
The Emperor ….. Gunnar Cauthery
The Earth Spirit and Thales ….. Sean Barrett
Lord Chancellor and Anaxagoras ….. Hugh Dickson
Homunculus ….. Anne-Marie Piazza
Nereus ….. Gerard Horan
Chiron and Proteus ….. Gunnar Cauthery
Manto and Panthalis ….. Auriol Smith
Lynceus ….. Peter Kenny
Care ….. Emily Raymond
Euphorion ….. Daniel Mair

Music by Roger Marsh
Musicians: The 24, directed by the composer with Peyee Chen (soprano) Georgina Wells (harp) and Mark Hutchinson (oboe)
Sound Design and Additional Music by Norman Goodman.
Adapted and Directed by David Timson.
Producer: Nicolas Soames.
An Ukemi Production for Radio 3.

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LIV ULLMANN, IN NORWAY, COMES BACK TO STAGE ACTING (INTERVIEW) ·

(J.S. Marcus’s article ran in the Wall Street Journal 9/17.)

Liv Ullmann is known for her groundbreaking roles in Swedish movies, but she got her start on the Norwegian stage. Born in Tokyo in 1938 to Norwegian parents, she grew up in postwar Trondheim, and by her 20s had become one of Norway's best-known actresses. In the 1960s she began her celebrated collaboration with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). She acted in 10 of his films, starting in 1966 with "Persona," co-starring her friend, Swedish actress Bibi Andersson; and ending in 2003 with "Saraband," in which she appeared alongside Bergman regular, Erland Josephson.

via online.wsj.com

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TIM ROBBINS AND THE ACTORS’ GANG: THEATRE BEHIND BARS ·

(Chris Lee’s article appeared in the L.A. Times, 9/18.)

— Inside a dingy community room at the California Rehabilitation Center, the prisoners were segregated into two distinct populations.

Members from one group awaited their cue behind a "curtain" — an old bed sheet strung from the ceiling. The other group sat in folding chairs waiting to take the "stage." All wore garish greasepaint to variously resemble mimes or clowns, Kabuki performers or horror movie antiheroes. And all had been kitted out with funny hats, prop glasses and fake mustaches to whimsical effect.

via www.latimes.com

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HANIF KUREISHI WINS PEN PINTER PRIZE ·

 

(Alison Flood’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/17.)

"Courageous and irreverent" novelist and playwright Hanif Kureishi has won this year's PEN Pinter prize, which goes to a writer who – in the words of Harold Pinter's Nobel speech – casts an "unflinching, unswerving" gaze upon the world.

Pinter's widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, and a panel of judges including Lisa Appignanesi and Mariella Frostrup chose Kureishi as winner of the award established last year by English PEN in memory of the Novel-winning dramatist, its former vice-president. The prize aims to honour a writer of "outstanding literary merit" who exemplifies Pinter's own "fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies".

via www.guardian.co.uk

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JEFF COHEN: ‘THE MAN WHO ATE MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER’ (REVIEW) ·

 

(Rachel Saltz’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/16.)

Who better to tell the story of Michael Rockefeller’s disappearance than the people among whom he disappeared? That’s the simple but smart narrative idea behind Jeff Cohen’s play “The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller,” a Dog Run Rep production that has a light, sure touch even when it treads on weighty cultural ground.

via theater.nytimes.com

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NOEL COWARD: ‘DESIGN FOR LIVING’ IN LONDON (REVIEW) ·

  

(Michael Billington’s article appeared September 16 in the Guardian.)

Last time Noel Coward's 1932 comedy was given a major revival, at the Donmar in 1994, it was presented as a raunchy, unashamed hymn to bisexuality and the delights of a menage a trois. But Anthony Page's infinitely subtler, and funnier, revival reminds us that Coward's cosmopolitan hedonism was always matched by an inbuilt puritanism, and that the play offers a genuine contest between the bohemian talentocracy and moral orthodoxy.

via www.guardian.co.uk

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EDWARD ALBEE: ‘ME, MYSELF & I’ (REVIEW) ·

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Take an imaginary psychiatrist with you–or the memory of a real one–when you go to see Edward Albee's new anti-comedy, Me, Myself & I, now playing at Playwrights Horizons. The story of an evil twin and the mother who can’t tell him apart is written in crisp, square stanzas, with elegant use of repetition—interruptions are for monologues and mild audience interactions.  Working in his absurdist vein, the playwright offers an adult Punch and Judy show out of Ionesco.  Those hungering for Albee’s volcanic Strindbergian mode may find Me, Myself & I flat and cerebral.  Albee’s history, however, contradicts us assuming the play's ultimate lack of importance. Some of  his pieces, A Delicate Balance comes to mind, fare better about ten years after their first productions, when we’ve had a chance to digest, theorize, pontificate, and put the puzzles together.

As it happens, my viewing of Me, Myself & I was with a friend with whom I actually did share a memory of a psychiatrist–more than once after the play we said we wished we could listen to the doctor, the father of a schoolmate, analyze the show or merely tell us that it was all quite obvious.  Appropriate to a discussion of Albee—who was achieving success in the 1960s concurrent with the popularity of Freudian therapy, where cold mothers, Darwinian survival, and sexual dreams, fantasies, and death instincts were part of the cultural conversation—we began considering and then I began projecting. Albee may not, or may, have always thought he was a twin, for example.  He was also adopted during a time when one didn’t try to find the birth parents.  What this does, of course, is offer enormous possibility for a definition of self: “You can be whoever we need to be” we hear (just wait until we read the first plays by the offspring of Octomom!).

For the rest of us, who know about their own family’s pasts more specifically, Me, Myself & I may resonate best in its demonstration of the integration of the self (I don’t believe Albee would agree with this, but I found myself thinking so much about Three Tall Women after seeing the new show that this view seemed worth noting). Playwrights may (and this was true in my case) find that through explaining themselves as characters they must show their families as worse or better, but usually worse, than they actually were—this is because we cannot possibly show the full range of a family dynamic and interaction in an hour or two.  Therefore, we must choose, and, if we look at Me, Myself & I, we see both the bad son and a good one.  It’s not that what playwrights are saying may not be true about abuse or maltreatment; it’s that the text will be skewed in one direction or the other, especially as one decides on protagonist and antagonist, events, and, ultimately, the work’s meaning.  “Everything is true and none of it is,” may be the motto of playwrights—and even they must forgive the lies of truth as best they can.

The past enfant terrible of the American theatre, Edward Albee, who tells us he doesn’t want his family and brother to exist in this play may also have decided to show his good aspect in his softer “me character”  here–maybe the child who admits to having loved an unforgivable mother.     

You’ll like the cast, directed by Emily Mann:  An especially raspy Elizabeth Ashley, forever earthy, forever a pro—and always an excellent actress–commands the show, not as a monster, but as someone confused and lost.  Brian Murray nearly steals the proceedings with impeccable timing and perfect inflection.  Not that I could tell them apart, but the twins (Zachary Booth and Preston Sadler) were fine in their indistinguishability; a girlfriend in a green dress (Natalia Payne) and a man with emeralds (Stephen Payne) both worked well to fill out the ensemble.   

To add to the absurdity of this alternate universe, which includes a clear love of wordplay (the dual meanings of llama and black panthers, for example), Albee throws in a new imaginary character toward the end, the idea of a triplet:  He is found when a twin looks into the mirror.  A mirror has such potent symbolic meaning when we discuss drama that I felt the text was saying something akin to:  Through the reflection of theatre–and the mirror–the characters and the audience, even after trauma, may become one.

For Albee aficionadas, students, absurdists, and hard-core theatre buffs for now—oh, and twins!  But let’s compare notes on Me, Myself & I again in about ten years.

© 2010 by Bob Shuman     

The New York Premiere of a new play

Featuring
Elizabeth Ashley • Zachary Booth • Brian Murray
Natalia Payne • Stephen Payne • Preston Sadleir

Scenic Design Thomas Lynch Costume Design Jennifer Von Mayrhauser
Lighting Design Kenneth Posner Sound Design Darron L West
Production Stage Manager Alison Cote

Directed by Emily Mann

Edward Albee's ME, MYSELF & I

Performance times: Tues-Fri at 8:00pm, Sat at 2:30 & 8:00pm, and Sun at 2:30 & 7:30pm.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS
416 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

Phone: (212) 564-1235
Fax: (212) 594-0296

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