Monthly Archives: November 2012


(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 10/23.)

The last several Brett Neveu plays — and this Chicago-spawned, Los Angeles-based scribe is nothing if not prolific — have been set in some nebulous, minimalist, metaphorical universe. They didn't land anywhere in particular, at least not beyond the writer's imagination and the viewer's mind.

But "The Opponent," the latest Neveu play, is specific, all right. It's set in a gym in Lafayette, La. If there were any doubts about that, there is a huge boxing ring stuffed into the tiny Old Town confines of A Red Orchid Theatre.,0,2491158.column


(Laura Thompson’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 11/1.)

At first I thought the Royal Exchange had unusually good taste, playing Bessie Smith and John Lee Hooker in the foyer before this play began. It turned out, however, it was scene-setting. The blues runs deep in Orpheus Descending, written in 1940 and closed by censorship, then revised in 1957 when Tennessee Williams was a star.

This drama – which in fact retains something of a younger artist’s excitability – is steeped in the bloody past of the American South. Lynchings are local sport. The “n” word is bandied as freely as in gangsta rap. The howls of “chain-gang dogs” are distantly heard, as is their atavistic satisfaction when an escaped prisoner is caught.