Bill Irwin Interprets Beckett’s Most Challenging Texts

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Samuel Beckett’s later prose is a remarkable substance. It sometimes reminds me of one of those unstable heavy elements that, under "normal" atmospheric conditions, can exist for only a brief time before breaking down into more "normal" constituents. To read it closely is to feel simultaneously tickled by ordinary impishness and bewildered by quicksilver slips [&hellip
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Report from London

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

London Theater London – American reports from the London theater tend to fall victim to one of two excesses: fawning praise or towering contempt. The former is just an extension of the shadow p.r. that passes everywhere as criticism nowadays, exacerbated by unacknowledged colonialist awe. The latter is simply the flip side of the awe–the [&hellip
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The Man Who Came to Dinner Revisits Broadway’s Golden Age; The Soapy and Dull Avow; The Sad, Fascinating Man in The Flying Lawn Chair

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

The Man Who Came to Dinner By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman Because it requires a cast of 29 (huge for a nonmusical nowadays), it reportedly qualifies as risky for the Roundabout Theater’s artistic director, Todd Haimes, but its wisecracking essence is safely proto-sitcom. Its other source of appeal today is equally obvious: it [&hellip
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Rebecca Gilman’s Obvious Spinning into Butter; Innocent as Charged, by the Neglected Alexander Ostrovsky

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Spinning Into Butter By Rebecca Gilman Rebecca Gilman’s Spinning into Butter is a case in point–a play about white people’s attitudes toward racism that would probably seem perfectly pungent if tied to a recognizable news event. The plot centers on the earnest but clueless responses of some white college administrators in Vermont to what they [&hellip
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Brothers and Sisters, Perestroika’s Defining Production, Still Packs A Punch; Two Very Bad Plays

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Brothers and Sisters By Lev Dodin, Sergey Bekhterev and Arkadiy Katsman Lincoln Center Festival (closed) I was glad to see it on this year’s festival schedule but also anxious that it had arrived much too late. A few things have happened since 1985, such as the dissolution of the country the play depicts and an [&hellip
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Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, in Central Park

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

The Winter’s Tale By William Shakespeare The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s most magnificent plays. Unlike the great histories and tragedies, though, it’s almost impossible to get the scope of its magnificence across in production. Often called a romance for lack of any other neat term, the work is famously bisected into a terribly [&hellip
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The Astonishing Sarah Jones’ Surface Transit

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Surface Transit By Sarah Jones Childs gets away with this little oversight largely because of her show’s infectious ebullience and earnestness. As we know all too well, identity has become a battleground today, both in society and in theater. The safe stability Viveca seeks (and purportedly finds) is widely considered a naive fiction; chameleonesque, actorly [&hellip
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The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Proves the Musical’s Far From Dead

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin By Kirsten Childs Reports of the demise of artistic forms are always grossly exaggerated, manufactured by snarky critics who just want to be first at the fictional finish line. The epic novel, figurative painting, kitchen-sink drama, the avant-garde: all have been declared dead so often, you’d have [&hellip
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Rinde Eckert’s And God Created Great Whales; Shange’s for colored girls…, 25 Years Later

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Nathan, Eckert’s character in this 75-minute piece directed by David Schweizer, is a composer suffering from a disease that is destroying his memory, and he is intent on finishing his magnum opus–an opera based on Moby Dick–before his mind disappears. He orients himself each day with the help of a tape recorder tied around his [&hellip
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