Author Archive

Kenneth Lonergan is the Real Thing; Jon Robin Baitz Isn’t; Edward Bond’s Saved

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

I don’t know whether Kenneth Lonergan is a great dramatist. Let’s talk about that in 50 years, maybe. After seeing three of his plays, though–This Is Our Youth, The Waverly Gallery and now Lobby Hero (I haven’t yet seen the Oscar-nominated You Can Count on Me, which he wrote and directed, but will now do [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Hollow Albee; Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl; A Couple of Plays About Outrage and Disgust

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Drama lives or dies on suspense. That may seem like a hopelessly dated or nostalgic remark in an era whose dramatic heroes include Beckett, Albee, Mamet and innumerable others who sometimes seem to throw out all the old rules. It’s true even of them, though. Suspense isn’t just a sticky relic from the "well-made play." [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Richard Foreman’s Now That Communism Is Dead, My Life Feels Empty!; Benjie Aerenson’s Paradise Island

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Now That Communism Is Dead, My Life Feels Empty! is a title almost too delicious to be followed by a play. Who, after all, would say such a thing? An unregenerate leftist? The tone is too snide. A demoralized McCarthyite? The confessional humor doesn’t fit. Think about it: a work with that title could only [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Kathleen Tolan’s The Wax Looks at Sensitive Fortysomethings

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Kathleen Tolan’s The Wax is a queer bird of a play. It starts out as a sex farce with an intellectual edge, then seems to lose interest in the whole subject of sex, preferring chatty talk about art, then presses on with its sexual antics anyway, perhaps out of nostalgia, or maybe dramaturgical courtesy. It’s [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Seussical: The Musical: Insipid Cat, Right-Wing Propaganda

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why would Rosie O’Donnell be hauled in to replace David Shiner as the Cat in the Hat for 24 performances of Seussical in January if the show weren’t already in serious trouble less than a month after opening? Can O’Donnell, not known for her gymnastic prowess, really handle a [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Old Harold Pinter, New Alan Ayckbourn

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Among the stranger aspects of watching a beloved art form closely over many years is that both mediocrity and excellence sometimes take you completely by surprise. Two decades ago, for instance, I was stunned to discover that Harold Pinter, an author capable of greatness, could also produce a "lite" boulevard version of his own esthetic [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

A Powerful New Prison Drama

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Let me get this straight. I’m supposed to put patriotism over partisan rancor now because otherwise the major party machines might actually start to look bad in a way people remember, endangering next year’s vote and voter manipulation? And I’m supposed to accept old boy George Dubya, the most embarrassing mediocrity to attract a national [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Transvestism, nudity and kinky sex, juggled sexualities, dismemberment, gratuitous violence, mad scientists, rampaging psychotics, depraved and corrupted adolescents: you know you want to see it. Preferably all together. The only question is what package you want it in. Are you the sort who likes to think in an atmosphere of panting, gasping, fantasizing and salivating? [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

Susan Sontag Gets a Bad Production; Cobb Is a Happy Surprise

Written by Jonathan Kalb on . Posted in Posts, Theater

Alice in Bed By Susan Sontag The O’Neill and Williams plays that made van Hove notorious in New York, let’s remember, were by dead canonical authors, classics long in public circulation that were due for radical freshening. Susan Sontag’s Alice in Bed is a first play that has never been seen in New York before. [&hellip
[ read more... ]

Be the first to comment on this post

..