Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category
A man and a woman, Richie and Pam, presumably somewhere in their early thirties, that is, just at the point in life where their next successful projects will bring them to a prominent and prosperous stage in life, decide to get married. They seemed full of love and enthusiasm for one another, as well as the impending event. Their friends are full of love and enthusiasm for them, above all, Richie’s best friend and best man, Tom, a lawyer, a rather hard-nosed, cynical lawyer, and a loner. He seems perfectly likable and basically all right, but he has difficulty forming close relationships with women. He hasn’t met one yet who finds him attractive, it seems. But the story is not about him, he is there to tell the story, as a sort of chorus-participant, sometimes in dialogue with the other characters, sometimes engaging the audience directly, sometimes narrating and responding rather like a sports announcer. The story is about love. As Tom begins the play, “I want to tell you about love.” …and mainly about his friend Richie, who is a love fiend, or so it should say in his obituary, as Tom informs us: “Because that’s what drove him. Like the wind drove the old ships. He thought everything else was irrelevant.”
Daddy Long Legs has tiptoed into the 2015-2016 New York theater season. It’s amazing that anyone knows about this show, and yet the word has gotten around: Daddy Long Legs is an enchanting chamber musical.
A jaded film professor and two students form a love and work triangle in Schooled, winner of the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting and part of the Fringe Encore Series at Soho Playhouse. Claire (Lilli Stein) is a smart young woman marked by her hard life background, Jake (Stephen Friedrich) plays her boyfriend born into wealth and privilege, a guy to whom everything has always come easy. The play, written by Lisa Lewis and very well directed by James Kautz, delves into the lengths we go to get ahead as the students compete for the same grant to make a film.
The sixth United Solo Theater Festival has already been underway for over three weeks, but it will continue on up to November 22, offering an even greater wealth and variety of stage work than its predecessors. When its founder and artistic director, Omar Sangare, first considered the name, I was sceptical, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been proved wrong many times over. The name actually describes the nature of the festival to perfection, for every autumn, Dr. Sangare and his team unite the world of solo theater, bringing together over 150 fiercely independent actors, playwrights, directors, and other theater workers at Theatre Row from Canada, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Poland, Romania, all over the United State, and other countries.
HAMILTON: An American Musical — at the Richard Rodgers Theatre following its premiere at the Public Theater
It is daunting to attend Hamilton. The expectations are overwhelming: Raves in all the papers including two in the New York Times – and rap! All the songs and dialogue are in rap, that popular and often angry form of music, where every other word rhymes with truck, and the melodies are few and far between. What is a classical music lover to do? If one loves Hamilton, will it be true love or is one just going along with the crowd? If one doesn’t love it, is one incapable of expanding one’s horizons?
Judith: A Parting from the Body by Howard Barker, is based loosely on the Biblical tale of this woman’s heroism as depicted by artists through the ages including Artemesia Gentileschi, Botticelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Gustav Klimt. In Barker’s rendition, Judith, played by Pamela J. Gray, comes to the tent of Holofernes, wiry Alex Draper, accompanied by The Servant, brought to life by the excellent Patricia Buckley and garbed somewhat like a modern Orthodox Jewish woman in black hat and pearls. In this version, the fatal encounter is a complex duel of seduction and deception that requires the audience to stay alert as the narrative is challenging. We know how the story ends but, at times, aren’t sure it will move along the traditional directions as the actors lie to one another often leaving truth in doubt.
Is a puzzlement – why Barlett Sher and Michael Yeargan, the Tony award winning director and set designer of South Pacific, respectively, would create such a sparse scenic design for The King and I. The stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre is over 3,500 square feet – and much of the time (in the palace and in the forest) all we see on the large portion that thrusts out into the audience is a black floor with a lonely actor or two singing upon it.
Even if the performances of the Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama Group were half as good as they are, we’d have to be grateful to them for even attempting to perfom ancient theater in the original language as something more than an academic exercise. For quite a few years now, the Matthew Alan Kramer Fund has enabled Barnard and Columbia students to offer these productions with some resources for costumes, sets, etc., but the essential ingredient in their success (Tthey usually sell out) is the passionate dedication and hard work of all involved—above all the student actors, who often rise to a level far beyond what we normally expect from even the most serious efforts of colleges and universities. Beyond youthful energy and enthusiasm, an impressive concentration of solid Greek, close, intelligent study of Euripides and his text, and, above all, theatrical talent brought this rarely performed—rarely even read—masterpiece to life.