(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 6/13.)
If I were to say this was a review of a Jule Styne revue at a shoebox-sized cabaret space in Rogers Park, you might well be picturing a little clutch of cute, smiling, cruise ship-like performers, perched on barstools and chirpily warbling the likes of "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Just in Time" and "I've Heard That Song Before" as if this were the last lounge in the last Holiday Inn at the end of world. Well, I don't want to rain on your parade on anything, but if that's the mental picture, you've never been to the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, an artistic enterprise that, at this particular Chicago moment, is red hot.
Joycean enthusiasts from across the world are gathering in Dublin today to mark Bloomsday.
President Michael D Higgins, Joycean scholar Senator David Norris and Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Andrew Montague were among the scores who attended events in the city centre this morning – many of them dressed in Edwardian garb such as straw boater hats, striped jackets and lace dresses.
“It’s a great day for showing off our city and to get the fun out of Bloomsday. There is a huge amount of humour in [Ulysses],” Cllr Montague said. The book follows Leopold Bloom as he goes about his business in Dublin on June 16th, 1904.
(Peter Crawley’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/15.)
“Is Tommy gone too,” Christy asks early in Tom Murphy’s brilliant anatomy of exile. “There’ll soon be no one left.” Like so much else in this careful, clear-sighted play from 2000, the exchange is full of the pleasantries of Irish emigrants returning for the summer holidays (“As usual!”) but mingled with solemn reports of the recently deceased. The unseen Tommy has only emigrated, but to those returning to the thinning smiles and folded arms of 1950s Galway, it can be hard to tell the difference.
Without forcing the point or labouring the play’s keen relevance, director Annabelle Comyn’s perceptive and beautifully-pitched revival for the Abbey delivers competing visions of Ireland – its sentimentalised memory and its riven reality. The plot is thick with a drama of dispossession, longing and sexual tension, but it’s the friction between those visions that gives the production its nervy hum.
(Catherine Rampell’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/14.)
Can a man who kills other men for money retain his humanity? What if his employer is the United States government?
This question, as it pertains to the psychological and sociological fate of American veterans, is one that the country has never been quite comfortable answering, especially now that less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military. Suicides among active-duty soldiers are at a record high, and only about three-quarters of veterans who served after Sept. 11 have jobs. Disturbing stuff, certainly, but what can disconnected civilians do about it? Slap bumper stickers on our minivans?
(Feingold’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 6/13.)
John Patrick Shanley has the gift, always rare among playwrights, of writing scenes that convey both shape and spontaneity. You never feel with him that his characters are being shoved this way or that, for the sake of a previously worked-out agenda. Things happen in a Shanley play because they happen, not because the author nagged or nudged the characters into making them do so. The inevitable downside is that sometimes they don't happen, or happen too easily; the characters are prone to let their talk wander from the point, and to settle their affairs all too conveniently when they remember to come back to it.
(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/8.)
The social responsibility of the scientist was a hot topic when the Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote this play in 1961: this, after all, was a period when the prospect of nuclear annihilation seemed imminently real. But, while I'm delighted to see The Physicists revived, and find it salutary to be reminded of the big issue, there are times when the play seems to contain too much sugar and not enough pill.
The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park season begins with Daniel Sullivan’s production, starring Lily Rabe, Stephen Spinella, and Oliver Platt. With an original bluegrass score by Steve Martin. In previews. (Delacorte, Central Park. Enter at 81st St. at Central Park W. 212-539-8750.)
The Roundabout revives Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, from 1944, about a man whose best friend is an invisible white rabbit. Jim Parsons, Jessica Hecht, Carol Kane, and Charles Kimbrough star. Scott Ellis directs. In previews. Opens June 14. (Studio 54, at 254 W. 54th St. 212-719-1300.)
LOVE GOES TO PRESS
The Mint Theatre Company revives the 1946 comedy by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles, about two female war correspondents stationed on the front lines in Italy during the Second World War. Jerry Ruiz directs. In previews. Opens June 18. (311 W. 43rd St. 866-811-4111.)
A new play by Jim Henry, about a mathematical genius who has been living in seclusion and a social worker investigating a crime involving her parents. In previews. (Acorn, 410 W. 42nd St. 212-239-6200.)
LCT3 premières Greg Pierce’s play, in which a teen-age girl flees to her uncle’s Costa Rican retreat after she’s involved in a horrible accident. Anne Kauffman directs. In previews. Opens June 18. (Claire Tow, 150 W. 65th St. 212-239-6200.)
A new play by David Adjmi (“Stunning”), about a Vietnam vet who moves in with two female roommates in Los Angeles. Jackson Gay directs. In previews. (Rattlestick, 224 Waverly Pl. 212-279-4200.)
Annie Baker (“Circle Mirror Transformation”) adapts Chekhov’s play, with Reed Birney in the title role. Sam Gold directs. In previews. Opens June 17. (SoHo Rep, 46 Walker St. 212-352-3101.)
Martin Jarvis directs Jared Harris and Joanne Whalley in Alan Ayckbourn's darkly prophetic comedy. What's the most important thing for composer Jerome: a great new work, or his family?
It's sometime in the near future. Composer Jerome has been suffering a creative block. His only company is his beloved music, the ultra-modern recording devices that surround him, and a malfunctioning humanoid robot, NAN 300F.
Jerome has been unable to work since his wife, Corinna, left with their daughter Geain 4 years ago. Desperate to see Geain again and hoping she'll release the flood-gates, he engages a young actress, Zoe, to pretend to be his fiancee. He wants to deceive his ex-wife into believing he's a fit person to be allowed to spend time with Geain. But, owing to his obsession with recording every intimate moment, Zoe quits. Can Jerome now re-programme robot Nan to sound and look like "perfect" Zoe? And what is most important to Jerome – writing the perfect piece of music on the subject of "love – or being back with his family? Life or Art? Plus – which is better – a robot or a human being?
This is Ayckbourn's 34th play. It received its 1987 world premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre-in-the-Round, Scarborough. In November 1988 it opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End, where it ran for ten months, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy.
Jerome ….. Jared Harris Lupus ….. Simon Templeman Zoe ….. Sophie Winkleman Geain, aged 9 ….. Rosa Calcraft Corinna ….. Joanne Whalley Mervyn ….. Darren Richardson Geain, aged 13 ….. Moira Quirk Mrs Hope-Fitch ….. Daisy Hydon Technician ….. Matthew Wolf NAN 300F ….. Herself
Specially composed music: Mark Holden and Michael Lopez Producer: Rosalind Ayres Director: Martin Jarvis A Jarvis & Ayres Production for BBC Radio 3.
(Robert Hurwitt’s article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, 6/8.)
Forget Zeus and the Greek sun god Helios. The latest potent tragedy by the remarkable Luis Alfaro may be based on "Medea," but it's the feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl who creates an indelible last image in the Magic Theatre world premiere of "Bruja."
As in "Electricidad" and his dynamic "Oedipus el Rey," Alfaro is wrestling a classic Greek tragedy into a modern Chicano context. But where the gang-warfare world of his "Oedipus," which premiered at the Magic two years ago, was rendered in stark, troubled machismo, the play that opened Wednesday rides deep currents of indigenous magic to conjure the wrath of a woman wronged.